Singer-songwriter Mike McKenna Jr. has emerged on the Canadian music scene with a raspy, soulful, intimate voice, his distinct indie folk/Americana tones, and songs laden with captivating storytelling. Originally from Cape Breton Island, he continues to bring us the nostalgia of his home through carefully chosen narrative, poetry, protest, and true stories about life and death in Nova Scotia’s coastal, working-class communities. Known for his powerful lyricism and intricate musicianship, Mike’s newest record At The Edge of the World (2020) continues to be met with incredible support both in Canada and internationally.
In just over a year since it's release, Mike's sophomore album has received a long list of awards and nominations; WINNER of the Rising Star Recording of the Year by the 2021 East Coast Music Awards (along with nominations for for Contemporary Roots Recording of the Year and Fan's Choice Video of the Year), nominee for Contemporary Album of the Year by the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards, nominee for Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year by the Music Nova Scotia Awards, and nominee for 2020 Album of the Year by Blues and Roots Radio. It was also listed on the Bluegrass Situation's 'Class of 2020 Playlist, Absolute Best of this Year's Roots Music Releases'.
Several songs from the record have received high-profile features and recognition, including Spotify Editorial playlists Renegade Folk and Contemporary Folk, Mahogany Sessions' Acoustic Coffeehouse and Chilled Folk Vol. 3, The Bluegrass Situation's 'Mixtape', Americana UK, Exclaim!, Canadian Beats, Roots Music Canada, The East and many more. Two songs from ATEOTW finished as semi-finalists in the world's largest songwriting contest, ISC (International Songwriting Competition); the opening song and title track At the Edge of the World in 2019 and the 7th song of the album, High Ground in 2020!
Produced by Berklee graduate, Victoria’s Quinn Bachand (Rosier, Kittel & Co, Brishen), At the Edge of the World delivers a wider, fuller sound than Mike's previous records, lead by his incredibly raw, confident vocals and surrounded by a beautiful mix of electric and pedal-steel guitar, electric bass, vocal harmonies, strings, piano and drums. During post-production it would then pass through the talented hands of Canada's top analog specialists; mixing engineer Jon Anderson (Andy Shauf, Rosier, Foxwarren) and Grammy-nominated mastering engineer, Juno/Polaris winner Philip Shaw Bova (Father John Misty, Feist, Bahamas).
“This is clearly a significant record for McKenna and the community in which it is rooted. For the rest of us it is a peephole into a world we know little of and a thoughtful comfort from beginning to end.”
- Americana UK
“From past events, McKenna has distilled a mythology; tiny components that became something more than the sum of its parts.”
- The East
“Highly touted as someone to watch in the intersecting worlds of indie folk and Americana.”
- Penguin Eggs
Mike has performed at renowned festivals and venues while touring North America such as RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, Montreal Folk Fest sur le Canal, Vancouver Island Music Fest, Philadelphia Folksong Society, Rockwood Music Hall, National Arts Centre, Club Passim, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Fest among others and has shared the stage with the likes of Hawksley Workman, William Prince, Michael Daves, Ashley MacIsaac, Old Man Luedecke, Good Lovelies and many more.