One day, not so very long ago, a voice that would quake the souls of all those who heard it came into this world. Sparked by a character in a spaghetti western film, her parents gave her the name “Shiloh.” Fittingly, “Shiloh” also means “peace”and the city in which she was born (Wetaskiwin) takes its name from the Cree word wītaskīwin-ispatinaw (ᐑᑕᐢᑮᐏᐣ ᐃᐢᐸᑎᓇᐤ) – “the hills where peace was made.” The youngest of six children, she grew up tough on a ranch in South Central Alberta before the family moved to the Robson Valley in British Columbia. Much of the imagery of her upbringing and of her now departed cowboy father are woven into the fabrics of her songs.
When Shiloh moved to Vancouver after graduating High school, she met and started working with veteran producer John Ellis to record For My Smoke in 2005 – a collection of songs laced with dry, honest humour and echoing the experience of many fledgling artists in the big, strange city. Over the next few years, Shiloh’s creatively fruitful friendship with drummer and producer Kirk Douglas culminated in the 2010 release of Western Violence & Brief Sensuality: a sweeping, emotional record hinting at Emmylou Harris and American murder ballads.
A love proving false against the rich backdrop of Halifax, Nova Scotia yielded a self-produced acoustic EP Bloomfield & Isleville. The aching majesty of “For the Western” heralded Shiloh’s return to Vancouver, and she debuted this latest EP over the course of a classic Canadian VIA Rail tour. Seated one evening with a retired engineer in the train’s limited dining car she heard the ghosts of buffalo. Iles de Madeleine and other stops along the line also bore the scars of the progress of man John Prine sang about in “Paradise.” A brief stint in Fort McMurray the following year provided an abrasive confrontation with greed and destruction. These images have slurried into a new crop of works including “Black Highway.” To be released early 2020.
In this next chapter Shiloh will follow the the stars further to the north, seeking a glimpse of the wisdom and beauty hard-earned in those harsh climates and to bear witness to more of the consequences of our society’s exploitative approach to industry. With her, she hopes to bring back deeper understanding of all types of harmony.
The Long Story
One day, not so very long ago, a voice that would quake the souls of all those who heard it came into this world. Sparked by a character in a spaghetti western flick, her parents gave her the name “Shiloh.” Fittingly, “Shiloh” also means “peace”and the city in which she was born (Wetaskiwin) takes its name from the Cree word wītaskīwin-ispatinaw (ᐑᑕᐢᑮᐏᐣ ᐃᐢᐸᑎᓇᐤ) – “the hills where peace was made.” The youngest of six children, she grew up tough on a ranch in the Westerose region of Alberta. In time the family raised their gaze to the mountains and turned their ears towards the call of the West, setting a new homestead near the small town of McBride, British Columbia.
Once she was through high school, Shiloh moved to Vancouver and remained to call it home for over a decade. The dry, honest humour in her words echo the experience of many fledgling artists in the big, strange city and in 2005, Shiloh partnered with veteran producer John Ellis to record For My Smoke. This was a collection of songs written in that first five years of struggling to get a foothold in the slippery banks of Pacific coast. Ellis’ prior experience with Be Good Tanyas, Dustin Bentall and Jeremy Fisher had him well-informed to cultivate the new alt-country sounds bursting from the petite, platinum-haired spitfire. An unexpected fan of the horror genre, Shiloh Lindsey released a thrilling music video for the hard-hitting single “Hell In the First,” showcasing that she was definitely not just another whisky-sippin’ country darling.
Five years later, her fruitful friendship with drummer and producer Kirk Douglas led to the 2010 release of Western Violence & Brief Sensuality. Lindsey’s attention to detail and patience with her process yielded cinematic soundscapes in true fashion of the album title: a tongue-in-cheek nod to the film ratings warning of same name. This emotional record swept like a pendulum from the heart-wrenching influences of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams to the brutal story telling of the American murder ballad, and everywhere in between.
The next two years saw the heroine in this particular story taking a chance on a love proved false, as she tried her hand at Maritime living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Like clockwork, another five years had passed to find her recording again, this time a self-produced acoustic EP named after the poignant cross-streets of Bloomfield & Isleville, including the hauntingly majestic “For the Western.” The West indeed called one more time, and with nothing left to hold her back, Shiloh returned to Vancouver and debuted this latest EP over the course of a classic Canadian VIA Rail tour. The journey turned out to be a healing one as she revisited Halifax and put her own memories to it, revelling in the soul of Maritime life that would be forever in her heart.
This was also a time for renewal and discovery, experiencing new cities and audiences in Winnipeg, Montreal and points beyond. The train proved a rich landscape for meeting people of many histories and learning about the world both far away and just on the other side of the broad plexiglass windows. Seated one evening with a retired engineer in the limited dining car, she heard the truth of the ghosts of buffalo on those very passing plains. Over a sip at a brewery in Iles de Madeleine, there were more sorrowful tales of extinction and the progress of man John Prine sang about in “Paradise.” The ceaseless struggle to balance funds and artistry found Ms. Lindsey working briefly as a welding inspector the following year in Fort McMurray, abrasively confronted by the brutal realities of exploitative industry. The cultural desolation characterized by racism, excess, and destruction slurried into “Black Highway” – one of a new crop of works harkening back to the concerns of Shiloh’s recording of “Fight Together, Die Alone” on the 2009 single “Tired of Drinking.”
In this next chapter, Shiloh will follow the stars further to the north and bear witness to more of the consequences of our society’s unbridled approach to industry. With her, she hopes to bring back deeper understanding; to carry and share some of the wisdom hard-earned in those harsh climates including the polyphonic vocalizations and the affecting evocations of the Sami culture and their “joik.”
As light cannot exist without darkness, peace cannot abide without turmoil. Shiloh’s toils remain one of the integral strands from which she weaves the fabric of songs, many of which are inspired by the imagery of her upbringing and of her cowboy father, now departed. A woman fiercely true to her craft, Shiloh Lindsey starts with a few strums on the guitar, hums a melody, jots down some poetry and before you know it a whole universe of sights, sounds, and sensations has evolved into music before your very eyes. May it move us to do right.
Shiloh Lindsey is a storyteller. Her meticulous song crafting builds rich at every layer, like a master chemist of harmonies and human connections, churning the sheer vulnerability and preciousness of life into charged, haunting alt-country. Love may come and go, morning drifts in then daylight disappears, but rest assured, one little fire is burning ever bright.