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Keiffer McLean

Despite his relatively young age, Keiffer Mclean has made a prodigious progression as a solo folk artist. Hailing from Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan, Keiffer began writing songs in his mid-teens and has since developed into a songwriting virtuoso who has made appearances at several high-profile festivals in 2013, including the Cathedral Village Arts Festival, the Regina Folk Festival, Gateway Festival, Ness Creek Music Festival and JUNOfest. And his debut release, a seven-song self-titled EP, garnered him a nomination in the 'Young Performer of the Year' category at the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Keiffer has also shared the stage with numerous Canadian artists in the last year such as Jeremy Fisher, Boreal Sons, Close Talker, Belle Plaine, The Lazy MKs, Don Brownrigg, Trent Severn, Rah Rah, George Leach, Northcote, Grounders, Wooden Sky, and Peter Katz. Now, at the age of 20, Keiffer is poised to make 2014 his breakout year with the release of his first full-length album, Drama in the Attic. Expanding his folk influences to include an increasingly wider array of eclectic musicianship, Keiffer has peeled back his deceptively simple-yet-sophisticated acoustic melodies and lamenting vocal lines to reveal several layers of quietly breezy contemporary instrumental textures and flourishes – expect to hear a clarinet, trumpets and a tuba filling in the spaces along with Keiffer’s guitar lines. Coming from a musical family, Keiffer is adept at a variety of instruments, having played the accordion and slide whistle to several songs on Drama in the Attic. But in addition to his own contributions, Keiffer is joined by several accomplished musicians, including his uncle Al Muirhead, a Calgary-based jazz musician who has played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Paul Anka and Tommy Banks. “He is amazing,” says Keiffer about his uncle. “He’s in his late 70s and he played the trumpet on the album. And the brass section was made up from several jazz musicians that are his close friends as well.” Recorded at Touchwood Studios in Regina, several other backing musicians, including Chris Prpich of The Lonesome Weekends and The Lazy MKs, Robert Mclean, Danny Jones, and Jakob Geifenhagen, also make an appearance on Drama in the Attic. The album has already garnered strong responses thanks to the advance release of the single “Headful of Diamonds”. Describing the wordplay as “playing with perception and philosophy,” Keiffer’s lyrics often fall somewhere between whimsical and astute – the song paints a refined picture that leaves enough openings for listeners to add their own interpretation. “I was attempting to write songs in a different manner, trying to find new methods,” says Keiffer. “For example, the song ‘Jive Turkey’ was originally about a friend of mine. I was busking at the time. I had a bunch of songs but they were really too long for people who were passing by to catch anything memorable. I needed a song to catch their attention so I started singing the poem.” Having written many of the songs over the span of the past couple of years, Drama in the Attic is a strikingly lush and original listen that sees Keiffer confidently striding into a realm where his sound has matured gracefully into alternative contemporary along with his folk-leanings. “I started writing songs when I was 16 and now that I am 20 I am already looking at music with a whole other viewpoint,” he says. “It’s your old self but it’s your new self.”

Regina, Saskatchewan

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