“and then….” album

First, I would love to thank you for taking time to visit, show interest in our 5th album and I very much appreciate your support by listening and reading these blogs. We wont be making a physical CD this time around as CDs are very hard to sell these days with everything being streamable. (My new vehicle didn’t even come with a CD player, and I have had younger students actually ask me what a CD was!!!) That being said, if there are any fans out there who are passionate about the physical CD, I can burn a copy IF I can find a CD burner once the entire album is out.

When did we decide to do an album? Well, to be honest, this came out of the blue. We had a couple shows this summer, with one being for the City of Thunder Bay up on a Parkade, and another streamed for National Indigenous Day for Dryden Indian Friendship Center. We decided to do some of the new songs I had written for both shows, and my drummer, Josh, said “Why don’t we just do another album?” I thought about it for a few seconds, realizing that I had lots of new songs, and said sure! Why not! So, last month, we decided to go for it. Now, I have an extremely busy job, so really only have a few weeks for my part of putting it together. Josh and Jordan said they would do the rest! Alright! So, we are coming out with a 5th album titled….

and then…

So, why the title “and then…“. Well, I was really struggling with what to call this album. So, I was looking at all the songs, and thinking about where each one came from. It was simple, this one thing happened, and then I wrote that song…. and then another thing happened, so I wrote that song, and then that happened, and I wrote the other song…. thus…. “and then…“. Life just keeps happening, and then songs are born in reflection of that moment in time for me. I will give you a little bit of insight on some songs here with a link to a live performance for the songs I have  acoustic, live off the floor performances of.  Obviously the recorded versions will have more depth, harmonies, more established instrumentation, and an official, polished feel for you all. As the songs are released, I will create a post that gives the bigger story behind each song. Please feel free to send me an email to shyanne.leah@gmail.com if you want to be emailed directly for links to the new songs/blogs.

We will be doing a slow release of the album with the help of the amazing, iconic CBC. The Thunder Bay based program, Superior Morning with Amy Hadley, will be sharing a new song every 2 weeks, allowing fans in Northern Ontario (or anyone who has the link for their show… click here for the link…) to hear the songs first before we distribute to social media and streaming platforms. We are humbled that CBC will be doing this for us. It is so so so hard to get music out these days, so we very much appreciate you all tuning in every couple of weeks to lend an ear for 3-4 minutes and for the time CBC is so graciously extending to us.

Jordan Elcheson

In the past, I had usually used some high end studios, but I just don’t have the budget to be flying around the country or to Nashville, so we are doing something different. My guitar player, Jordan Elcheson, is also starting his own in house studio and has been studying intensively for the last decade on production and engineering through Berkley and such. He is a gifted guitar player, but I have learned through his work on “One Voice“, a previous single release of mine, that he is also a gifted engineer and co-producer. (I have a little blog on “One Voice” here.) For “One Voice”, Jordan had to mix 115 voices from around the globe, using recordings that were given to him in whatever format they recorded it. You would never know that almost everyone on the track is a stranger to each other and have never, ever met, and this was pre-covid! Jordan and I have been working together for over a decade, and have written a couple songs together, including “Can’t Change the World” which ended up on Blackstone Television series, and we performed it at the music awards and the G20 – Interfaith World Summit along with many other amazing performance opportunities. We have been blessed in our work together and I feel privileged to be working along side him still after all these years. His girlfriend, Liesl Timko joined in on one song for piano and is just an amazing young lady and a brilliant piano player, who also can sing as well.

Having a good band and making good music requires good chemistry in the band. I’ve worked with LOTS of different musicians, and some amazing ones at that! However, sometimes regardless how great someone is, the chemistry is just not there. I’ve been able to work with quite a few that I have had amazing chemistry with. Well, Jordan and I have worked very well together in the past… but we needed the full crew, and they all needed to have good chemistry together… this brings us to Josh and Michael.

Josh Hogan Photo Credit: J. Ruggles

Josh Hogan has been working with me as a drummer for almost a decade now. An amazing drummer, who adds so much to the group with his talent. He was the one who truly believed in the song “Warrior’s Lullaby” saying that it was that song that really helped him understand the Residential School history from a completely different perspective and really started to “feel” what it all means. (He is also a great massage therapist!! and has helped my bad back so much!) Josh brings an open heart to the music, and works hard to keep the integrity of the songs; it isn’t about how cool the drums sound for him, but about honouring the music and the message behind the music. I’m so lucky to be able to work with him.

Michael Lyngstad Photo Credit: J. Ruggles

Michael Lyngstad is new to me this summer. I had never met him, but Jordan had him on a couple of my songs before I met him. When I did meet him, I was thrilled he was coming aboard for the project. Michael is a gentle soul, has the gift of bringing a lovely supporting bass line to the music, and working hard on his PhD in Education. He has a gentle approach in life, and just accepts things as they come. He finds joy in the most common, boring things, and is able to just go with the flow on pretty much anything. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body; just a kind, gentle pretty awesome bass player.


I can’t take credit for all the song writing… most yes… but not all. “Northern Man” and “Through the Eyes of a Child” are co-writes with my dear friend Marianna Foster who has been a co-write on every previous album for at least one song. My first album titled “Black Thunderbird”, she co-wrote the song “Silver Gypsy“.  The 2nd album, we wrote “Zodiac” together, and my 3rd album we wrote “Fairy Tales” which we actually performed with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. That was a very amazing opportunity. She has been my friend for decades and knows me better then so many others. She has been there with me through some of my darkest times in life, and although we don’t see each other often these days due to Covid, she is still one of my closest friends in life. “Northern Man” was an idea we had many years ago about the amazing men of Northern Ontario. When her cousin passed away suddenly who was also a friend of mine, we knew we needed to write it. So we met online on a Wednesday night, and wrote the song. I of course was also thinking of my amazing husband, Ben, as I wrote the song as well as my friend who had passed. It certainly has a very different feel.

On the same story of my friend who passed, came the song, “i miss you“. My friend’s mom and I ended up becoming very good friends, and when he passed, I just couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as a mom who lost her child. That deep, endless feeling of loss, and how that loss is felt every second of the day in everything from the wind to the hall-way to the blink of an eye….

Rex with his new baby nephew Kai

My 5 year old son, Rex, is a legit co-writer on “Crying Bones“. I was strumming on my guitar playing “Warriors Lullaby” and he said, “Mom that song makes my bones cry, I have crying bones!”. I thought.. wow… there’s another song! I started riffing on my guitar and he just came up with the chorus then and there. The song poured out and the next day we added it to our set list for our National Indigenous Day show. The song would NOT exist without him.

Peter Fergus-Moore

Peter Fergus-Moore approached me with a song he wrote, “All the Diff’rence”. It is a duet that tells an amazing story relating to family, relationship and the great Lake Superior. I said I would co-produce it and if he wanted we could add it to the album. It will certainly be a unique addition to the album, and I’m so happy to be joining him on this.

Family photo Photo Credit: D. Gilbert

The song “Listen to the Waves” is a light-hearted song that I wrote on our honeymoon almost 7 years ago, but never recorded. I just love the song, and its simple melody and story about enjoying what you have and the simple things in life. I also learned how to surf on our honeymoon, so that helped inspire the song. My husband Ben is an avid surfer on Lake Superior. He is also just an easy going person who enjoys the simple things in life. It’s not about money and fame, it’s about loving life.

These Days” is another one I wrote a few years ago one day during my sons nap time! I was inspired by Gordon Downie and his way of writing. In no way do I think this song is at par with his writing, but was trying to write a new way….

I also want to mention Jim Zolis for his mastering skills. Jim has done so much work for mastering music for me over the years. Mastering is so important for music, ensuring that the music sounds as best as it can on any device. A bad analogy here, but to explain – it’s like having that final coat of paint or nail polish that is needed to make the walls or your nails look perfect. People don’t really notice it when it’s done, but sure notice it if it IS NOT done. Jim also recorded the song “Time” for me on a beautiful piano down in Toronto. I’m super happy that he is on this project with us!

Ok, I wont get into the rest of the songs, but there are a few more all with their own story and message. I do hope you are able to tune in starting August 11th in the wee hours of the morning to hear “Warriors Lullaby” on CBC Superior Morning.

Vanessa Willow Giiniw-Ikwe
Sonya Belisle

After deciding to move forward with a slow release album, I also decided to do a slow release artwork as well. I did a call out and asked some specific people who I have always loved the artwork of. Two of the individuals said yes, and a youth as well. Sonya Belisle and Vanessa Willow Giiniw-Ikwe are going to be creating the artwork based on their interpretation of the songs. These two amazing ladies are brilliant on so many levels. Talented, amazing people, strong community members, and talented. But what I like the most about them is their genuine spirits and deep hearts that feel the world around them the way I do. They are truly a gift to anyone they meet. They will hand the artwork back and forth to each other based on the songs and work off of each others art, honouring each others’ artwork while also understanding that the art will shift and change. This will take trust in each other and faith in the process. We really have no idea how the artwork is going to turn out. I didn’t want to give any ideas on what I envisioned as I truly want to honour what they are going to do. With each song release, we will put the song with the artwork to date on YouTube so that you, the artists, and myself can see how the album artwork comes out. Haley Wrigley is the youth artist who will also add her flare and interpretation to the artwork. I really have no idea what to expect, but super pumped to see what happens! Incidentally, all the artists and myself are members of Red Rock Indian Band / Lake Helen First Nation.

Well, I hope you can join us on August 11th in the am for the big reveal and kick-off for our “and then…” album, starting with the song release of “Warrior’s Lullaby” on CBC Superior Morning. I thank you all in advance! Miigwech!

Again, if you wish to be on the mailing list for album release news, updates and future release dates, please email me at shyanne.leah@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the mail out list!

Miigwech, Peace and Love to you all,