Canadian Beacon: Free Under Fire, Roslyn Witter & More New Sounds

Welcome to a new regular feature spotlighting music from around the country.


One of the joys of doing this site is that I basically get to do whatever I want. One of the other joys is that I get a constant stream of new music from Canadian artists of all stripes and styles. I decided to put the two things together into this recurring feature, spotlighting new songs and videos from around the country. Let’s get started:


Free Under Fire | Airplane Over Texas

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Free Under Fire is a Canadian rock band known for their signature groundbreaking yet nostalgic sound of rock and sonic live performances. Emanating from Toronto, they released their debut album Beauty in Extremes in 2022. The summer single Airplane Over Texas was inspired by a tongue-in-cheek reference to ZZ Top and the intent to have the listener liberate themselves emotionally in times of distress. They capture that with their signature sound in a bar floor-moving, Trans Am-burnout romp that leaves you feeling free.”

Roslyn Witter | Heartbreak Lane

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Although I’m happily married, breakup songs are my favourite to write,” says Hamilton singer-songwriter Roslyn Witter. Following her exploration of a friend’s breakup from an abusive partner in her previous single Letting Her Go, Witter is returning with a first person reflection on ‘that a**hole ex’ that everyone’s experienced. “If you’re not here, I must be in the right place,” Witter asserts over breezy country pop-rock and mandolin inflections. Heartbreak Lane is a vulnerable yet confident song that finds Witter picking up the pieces as she  rips that Band-Aid off her skin, looking the pain of love lost straight in the eye.”

New Friends | High And Dry

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hot off the heels of the release of Sad Sugar, a bombastic, Britpop-influenced single, New Friends have recorded their spin on Radiohead’s soaring 1995 release High and Dry, featured on The Bends. They say: “Radiohead has inspired us in so many ways inside and outside the studio. When looking through their catalogue, one of the songs that spoke to us immediately was High and Dry because it encapsulated a lot of the melodic inspiration and subject matter we have as a group when we make original music. It has always been one of our favourite songs and we’re excited to share such a special song to some new listeners who may have never heard it before.” Solidifying a propulsive drum groove allowed the band to build their cover, whose earnest melodies and gentle acoustic guitar playing is juxtaposed with a classically New Friends, full band, uptempo take on the chorus. This cathartic, coming of age rendition is a more energetic spin on the original, while still capturing the poignancy of the song’s lyrics. New Friends worked with producer Marty Martino to create a modern version of High and Dry intended for their own generation.”

Daniel Walton | Through The Glass

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “An endless need for self-expression has helped songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Walton focus on his creative vision as an independent artist to write and produce his debut EP titled Island: A beautiful, heartfelt collection of songs about love, loss and change. The 28-year-old from Hamilton has been involved in a handful of collaborative original bands spanning many genres (Wooly Mantis, Downstream) but Island is the first of many projects that are from the mind of Walton as a solo act. Being able to have full creative freedom has allowed Walton to find his voice in the songwriter space. Reminiscent of the Laurel Canyon era of folk and singer-songwriter with a genre-blending modernism, Walton’s latest single Through The Glass is a drift inspiring transportive listen. About his songwriting intent: “My goal with songwriting is to take the listener on some kind of journey, whether it may be from lyrics, music or both. To take the listener out of the present moment and into a place that feels familiar, yet new and exciting. A place that is comfortable, where the listener does not feel alone and can drift away in peace.”

Liam Benayon | Next Chapter

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Initially falling in love with music behind the scenes as a producer and songwriter, Liam Benayon finds his voice as a glittery, yet brash pop artist. The pairing of his synth driven dance productions, electronic vocal performances, and background in pure pop lyricism, offer an eclectic sonic experience. Liam’s new single Next Chapter is a cheeky jaunt inspired by a boy obsessively sending him the books he was currently reading. The track originally was shelved, but inspired by feedback from others he decided to fill it out with a blend of pop sub-genre inspo and release it. Making his label debut with Wax Records, Liam is ready for his Next Chapter with this sugary pop breakup anthem. Liam attempts to get over a guy who “seriously thought he was the smartest person in any room… I’m just tryna make fun pop music that tells you something you might have heard before but in a way you’ve never heard.”

Dan Pallotta | Couldn’t Make It Rhyme

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Folk singer-songwriter Dan Pallotta has a new release to share from his upcoming record Winnebago Dreams. Couldn’t Make It Rhyme took Pallotta 40 years to write and reflects on very personal themes. Narrative finger picked acoustic guitar is underscored by gentle accordion playing from Bryan Mitchell as Pallotta speaks of chasing an unavailable partner during his time spent in Los Angeles where he first pursued a career in music decades ago. The song further cements Pallotta’s collaboration with album contributors Soozie Tyrell of The E Street Band fame on fiddle and bassist Tony Garnier, music director for Bob Dylan. Says Dan: “Martin Luther King borrowed from a Unitarian minister when he said that, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.’ In the same way, the arc of recovery is long, but it bends toward fulfillment. Conversely, the arc of addiction can be short or long, but it bends toward tragedy. Couldn’t Make It Rhyme is about both arcs. It took me 40 years to write, and it could never have taken any less, because it took the story 40 years to play out. And much as we want our stories to play out more quickly — for the highway to wisdom to be short and fast — you cannot short cut it. It’s a song about someone with whom I was involved when I was very young. I used to be attracted to people who weren’t interested in me and would reject people who were. It wasn’t healthy and it took me a long time to learn another way of being in a relationship. It’s about what happened to me and what happened to him in my perspective on it all four decades later.”

Borza | Mundo De Ilusión (ft. Yoandris Torres Fondin)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Throughout the years, Borza has collaborated on many records with emerging artists from the Quebec music scene, as well as with international established artists such as Emmylou Harris, the McGarrigle sisters and Lauryn Hill. He is a musical chameleon — his first release in 2016 was the alternative folk EP Playing With Time, his debut LP in 2019 was the indie rock/folk/reggae influenced Cocoon, and now he is offering something new — an urban/R&B/roots song. Mundo De Ilusión is a track that has a mixture of cultures and styles — something grounded in roots, with electro beats, and a sprinkle of Latin flair. The song features lyrics in Spanish, French, and English. Borza wanted to write a reminder to enjoy life — don’t wait for that perfect moment to start living the life you want, get closer to it every day, one day at a time! The song was finished during a trip to Cuba, where he met the Spanish singer Yoandris Torres Fondin. As they were waiting for the studio to be ready, the two of them relaxed on the beach, playing around with song ideas. They recorded vocals for the track right there, and it ended up being the take used in the final version.”

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