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Jed And The Valentine Are Wide Awake And Loving It

The Edmonton indie-folk duo are living in the moment on their gorgeous debut LP.

Jed And The Valentine are ready to seize the day in their enchanting and enthusiastic debut album Awake! — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

These nine songs are the musical collaboration between Edmonton indie-folk singer-songwriters Jonah Morris and Maria Khaner. But if you expect a garden-variety collection of acoustic-guitar love songs and laments, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Their infectious, sun-dappled tracks feature a wealth of sonic and stylistic influences — everything from plucky bluegrass banjo, mandolin and fiddle to playful trumpet lines, gorgeous harmonies and classic pop songcraft. Truly a life-affirming work, this is an album that lives up to its title in more ways than one, eagerly embracing the tumultuous joys of existence while lovingly encouraging everyone within earshot to follow suit. If the air doesn’t smell a little sweeter and your step doesn’t feel a little lighter after listening to this, you may want to seek professional help.

All in all, not too shabby for a duo who are only marking their first two years of working together, and the creative energy they continue to feed off of. As Maria says, “We chose the songs for this record with the intention of highlighting the idea of feeling present in one’s body and really experiencing the world instead of just letting it happen to you. Once we settled on that theme, the songs seemed to fall into place exactly how they needed to.”

Photo by Prairie Rose.

That process began on a cold night in January 2023 when they wrote Awake!’s title track after a mundane moment brought a spark of inspiration. “I felt a sudden jolt of life,” Jonah says. “It’s moments like these — and moments when I’m on stage making music — that I truly feel connected to myself and everything around me. Awake really touches on those feelings.”

Another highlight on the album is Rocky Mountain, Carry Me, an ode to the pair’s frequent camping trips in their wild surroundings. “We’re so lucky to live where we do and to be able to take advantage of all the things that the Rockies have to offer,” Maria says. “We couldn’t put out an album without giving a nod to our home.”

When it came time to record Awake!, they kept things close to home as well, relying on Jonah’s education in music production to set up a recording space in their bedroom. They put down all the main tracks there, with shimmering acoustic guitars and banjo accentuating a heart-swelling rhythm section, with the only overdubs coming from fiddler Brianna Lizotte, and trumpeter Liam Shearer, who appears on Mineral and Luckier.

Photo by Prairie Rose.

It all became a bit of a whirlwind once they got into it, as Maria describes. “Up until this point, it felt like we were still trying to find our sea legs with our sound and production as Jed And The Valentine. We’ve always known what kind of music we wanted to put out, but as we were recording these songs we really leaned into using our sound to tell our stories alongside our lyrics. We’ve really learned how to balance power and sensitivity to paint the picture of our musical connection.”

Both agree that Awake! marks the start of a new chapter for the duo, one that will build on 2023 performances at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Canmore Folk Music Festival that helped boost their TikTok following to nearly a quarter million.

Listen to Awake! below and hang out with Jed And The Valentine on their website, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.


Photo by Prairie Rose.