You are purposefully lost in nature again – you like to go for hikes, but GPS and data always drain your phone battery before they can be of any use. You’re among tall pines and when you look to your left you can see crystalline water shimmering beyond the bluff. Now, you hear music from some distance away. With rapid steps you draw near to the sound and almost stumble upon Bruce Peninsula, a collection of musicians playing drums, viola, violin, cello, harp, and double bass; they are all singing “Don’t Wake the Giant”.

Purely fictional of course, but it doesn’t have to be. Listen to “Don’t Wake the Giant” now:

“Don’t Wake the Giant” was originally released as the feature soundtrack for the film “Sleeping Giant”, a film by Andrew Cividino set in an isolated Ontario cottage community nearby Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (it geologically looks like a giant sleeping on its back). Bruce Peninsula released the track as a single on July 15 through their own record label, Bruce Trail Records.

Audio only:

If you visit the Bruce and Grey county in rural Ontario you may recognise that nature and beauty are among some of the immediate connections to be made between the Toronto band and their namesake the Bruce Peninsula. While the peninsula is a natural wonder of evergreens, cliffs, lakes and creatures that extends up between Georgian Bay and the main basin of Lake Huron in Southern Ontario, Bruce Peninsula is a Canadian indie-rock band jam packed with talent in all musical areas. The core members are; Matt Cully on vocals/guitar, Misha Bower on vocals, Neil Haverty on vocals/guitar/, Andrew Barker on bass guitar and Steve McKay on drums. As demonstrated by the backing in”Don’t Wake the Giant”, the band often works with large choirs and strings players. Some collaborations in the past include Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), Ivy Mairi and Daniella Gesundheit (Snowblink), Katie Stelmanis (Austra), Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), Isla Craig and Amy Learmonth (the Youngest) and Taylor Kirk (Timber Timbre).

Bruce Peninsula photo by Michael Gregory

Bruce Peninsula photo by Michael Gregory

Ever since their beginning in 2006, the Toronto band has been hard at work creating joy for everyone. This joy pulsates in frolicking guitar lines in tracks like “In Your Light” or foot-stomping rhythms in tracks like “Salesman”. Bruce Peninsula’s music has a physical and tangible quality to capture that energetic moment when your foot makes first contact with the forest trail floor.

The unique aspect of Bruce Peninsula is the multifaceted structure of the group. While each member is a contributor to the larger Bruce Peninsula sounds, they also all have individual strengths. Bruce Peninsula is not a group with one all encompassing sound, and there’s nothing strange about that. Perhaps the best way to understand the blend of instrumentation, voices, histories and influences is to have a look at all the incredible individual projects related to Bruce Peninsula. To name a few this past year; Ivy Mairi released the single “All Around Me” in May, her sister Martha has released some fabulous acapella recordings, and Andrew Barker released a solo album project called “Low Moon”.

With the name Bruce Peninsula this band is not hiding the fact that they are beautiful. They have been publicly dormant for several years while working in the film composing community (most recently with 2015 success story Sleeping Giant) and with myriad satellite acts and solo projects (including The Weather Station, Eons, Snowblink and more). They are now in the studio working on their third full-length record and have recently emerged for a number of exciting live shows in Ontario.

Bruce Peninsula Upcoming Shows!
August 17 – Peterborough – The Spill
August 19 – London – Forest City Gallery Facebook
August 20 – Elora – Riverfest (12:05 PM) Tickets
August 21 – Toronto – Camp Wavelength (6PM) Tickets

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Adam Helmers

Music was everywhere when I grew up at my family house in downtown Kitchener. My dad is a musician, my mom loves to sing and I have many musical siblings. I moved to London Ontario where I work and am in my last year of English and French at Western University. My musical interests vary and I like to explore with Spotify and Youtube. I don't own a pair of #musicislife sweatpants but I should.