I really love compilations. I also really love and respect the music coming out of this very Ambitious City.

The Ambitious CD : Series 1 is an amalgamation of the many acoustic, eclectic and eccentric musical personalities currently making their mark in the Steel City. This is our third compilation of local talent and is also a re-affirmation of what I've always believed...that Hamilton's musicians are some of the most ambitious and industrious in this country!

The Ambitious CD Track Listing:

It's strangely appropriate that Wax Mannequin announced himself as a sort of Pied Piper on his self-titled album. Since then, the Caledonia-bred solo performer (alias Chris Adeney) has seen crowds swell from an appreciative trickle to an everything-but-the-swaying-lighters deluge. Part enigma, part evangelist, his transformation from quirky prog-folk flake to art-punk phenom has surprised even himself. Wax Mannequin's skill as a songsmith and a performer are immediate, his vocal range and control startling. Anthemic, whimsical and faintly ominous, the songs balance absurdity and profundity, and can silence audiences like little else. Alternate version of “Paper Snake” available on Wax Mannequin’s most recent release, “and Gun”.

No, he's not exactly a household name, unless your household is in Burlington, Ontario where sullen adolescents know him as Mr. Art Teacher, or in the west end of Hamilton where he resides. For more than a decade, Tim has released a steady stream of low-tech recordings under names like Green Ants Dream and The Garblerays, usually done on an analogue, four-track machine, all of which feature Tim's ubiquitous musical vision. Generally, his demeanor is sunnier than most alt.-rock mopers, but structurally more challenging than most festival strummers. His intuitive sense of phrasing and unconventional arrangements always keeps things interesting, and his dry greak of a voice is offset by his natural unforced sense of melody. Tim's most recent work, “Good”, is perhaps the most user-friendly of all his releases.

David takes simple pop music ala Big Star and incorporates a subtle rootsyness to the songs. He bought a guitar only 5 years ago and it was as quick as that that he figured out that he was meant to be writing music. A pure lover of music and words dying to speak a new voice. A voice needing an instrument. A guitar embraced and songs were born and born and born. A rural upbringing in the backwaters of southern ontario, dusty summers, whiteout winters, an everpresent record collection - all seep through the material from moods to colours to landscapes. David's current work represents a new chapter as his music takes a few twists, turns and electric shocks on the road away and back toward the sweet uneven country.

Melissa McClelland’s music has been described as everything from simple and beautiful to dark and moving, but one thing that no one can dispute is that her highly accessible sound remains individual. Melissa sounds like no one but herself, yet she appeals to a wide range of listeners. People are instantly drawn to her melodic vocals and rich songwriting, finding truth and meaning within her lyrics. Based in the Southern Ontario area, the 23 year old has spent the last 6 years playing live with a backing band and as a solo act. The Aug 2001 release of her debut full-length CD has created a buzz in the local independent music scene, establishing her name within the industry. The 11 song, self-titled album marks the beginning of what should be a long and exciting career for Melissa.

Despite a childhood love of music fuelled by gas-station oldies tapes and Mozart on the family record-player, it took the teenage realization that "girls dig guitars" for Matthew Barber to pick one up. Since that time, songs have been steadily squeezed out of a perpetually expanding and contracting ego. Variously tinged by the likes of the Beatles & the Band, Neil Young & Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Jason Falkner, Pavement and the Kinks, they each manage to cultivate a unique identity as they hurt, heal, bounce and reel their way into your soul. Matthew’s debut album, “Means and Ends”, features rock anthems, country-tinged waltzes and lush, piano-driven numbers. A debut record not to be missed.

At the CD release party for Hot Tub’s “The Amalgamation Compilation” (March 2001), Paul Dayco met Leanne Allard. This was several months after his old band, hereafter broke up (featured on Hot Tub’s first comp - “Drowned in the Harbour”). hereafter’s singer Cassie Ross was featured on the Amalgamation CD in a band called 68 bpm. Hearing Cassie’s soaring vocals again spurned interest in Paul to start another band, this time with a new singer. For a little while, Leanne was it. As it turned out, Leanne and Cassie worked in the same restaurant, and when 68 bpm fizzled, Cassie rejoined Paul and Leanne to start writing and recording songs. While one singer was good, two was better. Thus Zander became a reality, fusing pop hooks and sensibilities with strong, beautiful voices.

The Ewok Folk Sessions are a fairly new act from the Dundas area. The main core of EFS consists of Marc and Dan Kiely, two brothers who started to write songs individually and together and decided to do something with it. That something was a 3 song demo recorded with Dan Medakovic at beautiful Mount Fairview Studio just down the street from their house. That was about 6 months ago and since then the band has found time to write new songs and play the occasional show. The Ewok Folk Sessions do some really sweet and fuzzy acoustic based ditties - that are just perfect for that campfire setting near a lake with the lights and the noise of the city far in the dstance.

For the past six years, Chris Bell has been writing and performing with the band Chore. Between recording and international touring, they have grown to a unique level of performance, which has brought larger audiences and an increased enthusiasm from their industry peers. In the wake of the Chore happenings, the 23 year-old front man/guitarist has written and recorded a solo album entitled, "Time Between Failures". The album consists of some early acoustic versions of pieces now recognized as Chore songs, as well as other Bell originals. The album is a culmination of earthy pop songs with a dark tinge of winter depression and city congestion, maintaining a quirky sarcasm.

Where do you start? Les Cooper is probably one of Hamilton’s best kept secrets. He has spent the last several years touring as a guitar player/sideman for many Canadian recording acts including Sara Craig, Holly Mcnarland, Chantal Kreviaziuk and most recently Andy Stochansky. His much anticipated album, recorded at his home in Hamilton will be released this fall.

Michelle Titian has been signing since she was 16 and has been writing her own music for 2 1/2 years. She has grown up with music - her father Reg Titian played in a local bluegrass band called ‘Niagara Blue’ that regularly practiced at her house while she was growing up. Michelle’s brother Trevor is also a musician, contributing guitar to this recording - her first offically released song. Growing up with the bluegrass sound - it’s no surprise that she has found herself playing music some would refer to as ‘alt-country’. She is able to combine a remarkable voice to match her rootsy twang and a whole lotta big city charm that would make her a desirable dance partner at any "downtown hoedown"....

Tiny Bill Cody is an artist / musician / performer who nursed himself on the rustic, industrial teat of the local landscape. He plays a raucous sprawling wood guitar, sings with the occasional delicacy of a ballerina, and is given to sporadic flights of poetical ranting and dramatic invocation.
"A kind, yodeling ogre.... a seven foot urbane urban folk troubadour" -Ric Taylor, View Magazine

Neil Haverty is still young in age, something he tends to keep to himself. Considered a veteran of the local music scene, his years of writing, producing, releasing and organizing would make you think he is much older than he is. He has worked feverishly with his own label (Chip Lesson Records), fanzine (Elbow), band (Kashmir Funk) and even released a small compilation of Hamilton bands in 1999 called “Mimes Ruin Everything”. Now that he’s a little older, a little wiser and living in Toronto, Neil can be found playing bass in Music For Mapmakers (Grenadine Records), writing for various online magazines (Chartattack.com and Antiantenna Record’s Antzine) and trying to eat healthier. He’s shared the stage with such acts as the Two-Minute Miracles, Julie Doiron, Snailhouse and Swearing at Motorists. he’s only 19.

Born and raised in La Jolla, California, Rob Lamothe now makes his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The experience of coming up through the Los Angeles music scene of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and then leaving it all behind to come to Canada in 1994 has placed an indelible stamp on Rob’s music and life. A quote from Canadian writer Craig MacInnis, calling Rob’s style “…a kind of ‘folk music’ seldom heard anymore-literary and mysterious and not afraid to follow it’s own erratic path…” gives one a good idea of what Rob does musically. The quote also describes, in some ways, his life.

Lisa Winn began to develop her vocal ability in high school, beginning with lead roles in musical theatre productions, and eventually with bands in the Hamilton area. In 1995, Lisa met Rob Lamothe and began a long-standing collaboration serving as a harmony vocalist. In August of 2000, Lisa released her debut solo cd “Mother Earth.” It was widely acclaimed in magazines and web sites in Europe, The U.S. and Canada. Currently, Lisa is working on her second solo cd, due for release in late 2002, and playing live whenever she can.

Cartoon Me is electronic-tomfoolery for the smart and sensitive set. Handling the music-end of Cartoon Me is none other than two of the area’s more well rounded musicians: Jer Evers (Negspect, Big Brother and Vlaachos Networks) and Dave Buist (Big Brother, The Tighties). Both are known for their wild sense of ambition and their music speaks volumes about what can be done with a homemade keyboard synthesizer and a nicely dented computer processor unit. Making her debut on the scene and the one responsible for the lyrics and the vocals of this track is Tracy Mewhort (who some might know from her stint on CFMU as co-host of the “Prime Mini-Skirts of Canada” radio program). Cartoon Me is unlike anything you’ve heard before.

The roots of the sound? The process? The goal? Individual influences melt, meet, together, into one another, at the core. Embracing one another, dancing harmonies, weaving the sounds into a blanket of fleece, painting the song from a palette of sounds, notes, rhythms, and poems. Everything comes across the chasm to meet a single set of ears, another mind that will repaint the song on it's own canvas. The goal is to make the chasm glow with the sound, warm the space and invite the listener in. Shorten the distance across. Tame the fire. Shed the static. Hold the words in our hands. And time; time means nothing when you're in that embrace. After the success of their debut full-length CD “Before We All Go To Pieces” - the band is currently holed up in the studio recording a follow-up.

Ali Bartlett begun songwriting at the age of 12. Influenced by a wide range of music - her own songs fuse a modern-ethreal vibe with the simplicity and purity of folk. Performing for the first time at Hamilton’s own music lounge - La Luna at the age of 16, she has remained enraptured by the city’s diverse musical offerings and the continued support within the music community. “Common Criminal” is Ali’s first recorded output to be released and can truly be called her debut and introduction to the local music landscape.

Mark Raymond's Remote Control Operations & Maintenance Guidelines is a full-length CD release of spazz-prog/psych-folk songs and snippets suitable for listening to on small boats floating on big ponds/small lakes while the sun shines HARD. For those of you not conversant with Raymond's chequered past: he is an ex-member of Gorp, Golden Lake Diner and most recently A Northern Chorus. Unlike previous band efforts, Raymond is clearly in charge on RCO&MG: an 'unbridled approach" (his words) yields a disc chock full of astute observations ("the view is so nice/from underneath the ice"- exactly!), sleight-of-hand harmonies, and fuzzy-warm, burrowing guitar lines.