Singer-songwriter Mike McKenna Jr. has become a rising star on the Canadian music scene; with a raspy, soulful voice, his warm indie folk and Americana tones, and songs laden with captivating storytelling. Born in Glace Bay and raised along the Mira River, Mike's songwriting aesthetic points heavily to his roots growing up in small-town industrial Cape Breton. Over the course of 3 studio albums he's brought 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.
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 Victoria’s Quinn Bachand (Rosier, Kittel & Co, Brishen), At the Edge of the World delivers a bigger 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.
His awards, nominations and features since the release of his latest record include:
East Coast Music Awards: 2021 Rising Star Recording of the Year WINNER - At the Edge of the World
East Coast Music Awards: 2021 Contemporary Roots Recording of the Year Nominee - At the Edge of the World
East Coast Music Awards: 2021 Fan’s Choice Video of the Year Nominee - At the Edge of the World
Music Nova Scotia Awards: 2021 Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year Nominee - At the Edge of the World
Canadian Folk Music Awards: 2021 Contemporary Album of the Year Nominee - At the Edge of the World
International Songwriting Competition (ISC): 2020 Semi-finalist - High Ground
Blues & Roots Radio: Album of the Year Nominee 2020 - At the Edge of the World
The Bluegrass Situation: 2020 ‘Absolute Best of this Year’s Roots Music Releases’ - At the Edge of the World
The Bluegrass Situation: Guest Columnist - Mike McKenna Jr.'s ‘Canadian Dream’ (2020)
Ditty TV: The Ditty Dozen - 12 of the Most Exciting Artists in Americana and Roots Music (2020)
Spotify Editorial Playlist Features: Contemporary Currents and Renegade Folk (2020)
Mahogany Playlist Features: Chilled Folk Vol. 3 and Acoustic Coffeehouse (2020)
International Songwriting Competition (ISC): 2019 Semi-finalist - At the Edge of the World