Thievery, Breasts, It’s Very Scandalous! (sort of)


Do racy headings really make people read content? We’re not sure. But it’s a fun experiment.

So, first off: Thievery.

Top Secret info gleaned from an insider tip at AV headquarters has led us to believe AV has gone under cover again, this time as the blonde and coy “Ms. April Valiant”, the lead singer for the new Edmonton pop/jazz group The Valiant Thieves. This group allegedly steals pop songs from the ever-so-serious decade of the 1980s and takes them on a valiant ride into classic jazz. The group, composed of renowned jazz musicians Mike Lent, Chris Andrew, Sandro Dominelli, and of course, Ms. April Valiant, have recorded a CD which will be released this Sunday, September 28, 2008, 8:00 pm at the Haven Social Club (15120 A Stony Plain Road). Listeners to CKUA or Magic 99 radio in Edmonton will undoubtedly have heard some tracks from this album already.

The nite will also feature an art exhibit by Sandra Kunz, Raven Illustration, who is also responsible for the cover art of the Valiant Thieves CD cover. Sandra will be selling prints, cards, and some of the originals in her latest collection, and international song writing award winner Ben Sures will open the nite.

So, it’s going to be a fabulous evening! Tix are $20 in advance and $22 at the door, and are available at Tix on the Square, and by clicking on the link below and then clicking on “upcoming events”.

Heads up though: Tix on the Square is CLOSED on Sundays, so this means if you want to insure a ticket in advance YOU MUST PURCHASE IT BEFORE SATURDAY AT 4 PM.

Seating is limited so be sure to get your tickets now!


Breasts! Another great subject heading!

Everybody has them. Well, nearly everyone. AV plus 4 other Canadian singer songwriters do, but sadly, as you know, many people lose their breasts and even their lives to breast cancer. Headed by Ana Muira, founder of “Babes for Breasts” AV, Leela Gilday, Amanda Rheaume, Tara Holloway and Ana Miura will embark next week on the western Canadian leg of a national tour to raise money for breast cancer research– they will be performing 7 shows in 6 days and all the proceeds will go to this cause.

Be sure to check out these accomplished songwriters at a venue near you. More info about “Babes for Breasts” can be found by clicking on the link below.

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH – The Media Club, 695 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC (604) 608-2871
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1ST – The Garage Showroom, 201-330 Duncan Street, Duncan, BC (250) 748-7246
THURSDAY OCTOBER 2ND – The Royal, 330 Baker Street Nelson, BC V1L 4H5 (250) 352-1269
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3RD – That Empty Space, Show time: 3:30 pm-5:30pm, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 (403) 220-5110
FRIDAY OCTOBER 3RD – Wild Bill’s Saloon, 201 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB (403) 762-0333
SATURDAY OCTOBER 4TH – Ironwood Stage and Grill, 1429 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB (403) 269-5581
SUNDAY OCTOBER 5TH – The Haven Social Club, 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB


It’s always great to receive a rave review, but even greater when it comes not from a paid journalist, but a fellow musician who feels so compelled by AV’s new disk, “When We Were Spies” that he took the time out of his own career to voluntarily write a review of it. Many thanks to Marv Machura for this! A link to Marv’s own work can be found below.

(As an aside, Marv will also be hosting a tribute to Canadian songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot at the Haven Social Club in Edmonton on November 22, 2008, of which AV will be a part, make sure to come out!).

Ahem. Now back to shameless bragging– here’s Marv’s review:

“Ann Vriend’s disc, When We Were Spies, is an exciting collection of 10 new songs and one cover of a Neil Young classic “Rocking in the Free World.”

“The production by Doug Romanow is lush, yet subtle, and it puts Vriend’s literate songwriting and expressive vocal style in epic-like dioramas. For each cut on the disc, Romanow and Vriend seem to have created a mini movie score. In our current world of mostly bare-bone production values (stuff like Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s Burning Sands disc of last year for example), this disc comes as a treat to the listener’s ears. For me, this kind of work harkens back to the seventies when bigger and more interesting production were the norm: the Carpenters, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, etc.

“One thing that you will notice, even on your first listen, is the joy that springs from the music. The performances bloom with a vibrant life force. We can tell she’s having fun—and giving us a gift of music that is at once personal, inviting, and universal. And although this should be evident in all music, unfortunately it isn’t. Contrived, fame-seeking music spawned from our hyper-competitive glut of idol contestants can NEVER have this kind of soul.

“Ann Vriend describes her music as “Baroque Pop”; a term that identifies her with other artists that love balanced phrasing, beauty, and clarity. However, to me this classification is somewhat misleading because this disc is more akin to the Romantic period than the Baroque period— Vriend is more like Chopin than Bach. But, whatever: classifications are an unavoidable evil to original and interesting artists like Vriend. Besides, there currently is no recognizable term such as “Romantic Pop” (not even on Wikipedia!). And if it did exist, the connotations of the term may be co-opted by that cringe-worthy kind of corn-syrup music coming out of Nashville and other places that are still holding onto their factory approach to writing, recording, and distributing music. It’s likely best if we never make the mistake of comparing Ann Vriend with that kind of bland homogenized sound. So, Baroque Pop it is!

“One person who comes to my mind when thinking about Vriend’s lyrics is Leonard Cohen. She has the same kind of poetic sensibilities in creating imagery that carries the story, not with vivid, harsh, realistic colors and brush strokes, but rather with interesting, more-nebulous shades of color and abstract forms. Like Cohen, we can still follow the story line and be there, but we are brought into these worlds through a fourth dimension. It is a world filled with grinning jack-o-lanterns, forgotten missions, disguises, radio waves, etc. all held together by a Cohen-like search for authenticity in relationships and life.

“”When We Were Spies” is an appropriate title. Vriend is like a spy ducking in and out of the shadows. We may want to pin her down, but we cannot. She’ll forever be just ahead of our grasp, moving romantically beyond the brick and mortar of mundane music. But the best thing about this spy is that we know she’s on our side— one of the good guys. As she convincingly sings on her cover of Neil Young’s classic: “keep on rocking in the free world.”

“This remarkable disc will stand the test of time and is one of my favorite recordings to come out of anywhere in the last while. On one of her songs, Vriends asks, “Will you suspend your disbelief?” Music lovers everywhere should say yes and enter into the spaces created by this world-class spy, singer, and songwriter.

– Marv Machura –


The Leonard Cohen Society of Edmonton has asked us at AV Headquarters to remind you that Jennifer Warnes is performing at the Winspear Centre for Music TOMORROW (Sept. 29). Details available at:
Jennifer is famous for her 1987 album of Leonard Cohen songs, entitled “Famous Blue Raincoat”, among many other successful albums and hits.


Secret Agent AV will make an appearance at the 2008 Western Canadian Music Awards festival, held this year in AV’s home town of Edmonton, AB.

AV’s Top Secret slot in the festival is:

Date: October 18, 2008 Venue: Jekyll and Hyde, upstairs Address: 10610 100 Ave, Edmonton, AB, CAN Description: acoustic 4 piece band, $10 or free with WCMA wristband, 11 pm sharp, 1 45 min set.

A rare opportunity to see AV play with this configuration!

And, more bragging: Jeff Sylvester (Pilot Design) has been nominated at the WCMA’s for best album cover of the year for AV’s “When We Were Spies” as well as Corb Lund’s latest release, “Horse! Soldier! Horse! Soldier!” Congratulations, Jeff!

More info about the WCMA’s can be found here:


As you all know, AV is no slouch in the touring dept.; she’ll be hitting Ontario, Alberta, and Australia before the year’s end. More dates are firming up as time moves along, but here’s what we’ve got so far.

(And remember, if you are interested in hosting or helping out with a show in your area, please let us know!)

SOUTHERN ONTARIO TOUR: (more dates coming soon):

Date: October 22, 2008 Venue: Toronto Waldorf School Address: 9100 Bathurst St, Thornhill, ON Description: double bill with T Nile, doors at 7:30 pm, show at 8 pm, 2 sets, tix $12, transportation to venue from downtown TO can be arranged by emailing, for more show details contact Jim Mallory, (647) 235-7863

Date: October 24, 2008 Venue: London Music Club, Big Hall, Address: 470 Colborne St, London, ON Description: double bill with T Nile, 8 pm

Date: October 25, 2008 Venue: The Black Sheep Inn Address: Wakefield, PQ Description: AFTERNOON show, double bill with T Nile

Date: October 30, 2008 Venue: Memorial Hall, City Hall Address: Kingston, ON
Description: double bill with T Nile


Date: November 7, 2008 Venue: Dicken’s Pub, Address: 1000 9th Ave SW, Calgary, AB Description: triple bill with T Nile and Makeshift Innocence, art exhibit by Melynda Kalin,

Date: November 13, 2008 Venue: Haven Social Club, Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB Description: duo and double bill with T Nile, Australia send off show!

Date: November 22, 2008 Venue: Haven Social Club, Address: 15120 A Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB Description: Ann performing as one of a host of musicians part of Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Night, details TBA


Date: November 27, 2008 Venue: Byron Cultural Centre Address: Byron Bay, QLD, AU Description: solo

Date: November 28, 2008 Venue: Sound Lounge Address: Currumbin, Gold Coast, QLD, AU Description: solo

Date: December 4, 2008 Venue: Icon Cinema Address: Toowoomba, QLD, AU
Description: solo

Date: January 15 – 18, 2009 Venue: Illawarra Folk Music Festival Address: Illawarra, NSW, AU Description: solo

Date: January 22, 2009 Venue: New Capers Club Address: Melbourne, VIC, AU
Description: solo, TBC

Date: January 24, 2009 Venue: Rye Services Club Address: Rye, Mornington Peninsula, VIC, AU Description: solo, TBC

Date: January 25, 2009 Venue: Waterfront Café Address: Geelong, VIC, AU
Description: solo

Date: January 29, 2009 Venue: Grace Emily Hotel Address: Adelaide, SA, AU
Description: solo

Date: February 6, 2009 Venue: Bulli School of Arts Address: Bulli/Wollongong, NSW,AU Description: solo


Date: March 21, 2009 Venue: Harrison Concert Series Address: Harrison, BC, CAN
Description: double bill with T Nile


Well we are all out of creativity with that subject heading. Sigh. This is just to let you know that we’re actually not perfect. 😉

We also would like to let you know you can purchase AV albums and merchandise at the following link. Buy and/or download online with the click of a mouse. Easy peasy!


And, in case you’re new to the mailing list and haven’t checked out AV’s superbly cute animated video, don’t hesitate, click on the link below!

That’s all for now. Thanks for your support!

–AV Headquarters (Ann, Patrick, Beth, Christine, and Doug)

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