Southern exposure

Ryan McAllister

It’s nothing short of a career-making opportunity for four local singer-songwriters. This March, Zaac Pick, Ryan McAllister, Timothy Lindberg and Daniel Huscroft will play during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival, joining nearly 2,000 other performers in Austin, Tex., for one of North America’s biggest annual music events.   The four Langley musicians will play two showcases at the event — attended by roughly 13,000 industry representatives — sharing a band and supporting each other musically. To cover the expense of the venture, they will play a concert at the Fort Langley Hall on Saturday, March 5. Veteran producer Daniel Mendez is using the SXSW showcases to launch a new publishing company which will connect artists with film and television music supervisors who choose songs for TV shows and movies. “If they hear you live they have a stronger connection to your music, which puts you on the forefront of their minds when thinking of who would sound great in the scene they’re cutting that day,” says Pick. The event will also give the musicians the opportunity to connect with hundreds of industry leaders all in one place. The name, Head Above Water, is a little wink toward industry insiders Pick explains. “Having songs in TV and movies doesn’t pay a lot of money, but it’s just enough to keep a few bills paid.”  He should know, having had recent placements on primetime hits including One Tree Hill, The Ghost Whisperer and Degrassi. All four artists are “really interested in writing a great song that can carry itself.  We all try to write songs that have a story.” Though all four have relatively new solo careers, each has at least a decade of performing and music-making behind him.Ryan McAllister of Bradner has been writing, recording and producing music for the past decade. He is the former singer/songwriter for Dakona. In 2001, the young Vancouver quartet signed one of the largest new band recording contracts of all time with Madonna’s Maverick Records. The band toured North America several times, performing with acts like Michelle Branch, Jason Mraz, Tonic, Better Than Ezra, Lifehouse and many more. Following his stint on Maverick McAllister began producing records. He has produced dozens of albums at his home studio Room & Board. In 2007 he helped create indie alt folk trio Cowboys & Indians who continue to fill venues in Western Canada. McAllister’s music has charted in both Canada and the US and has had dozens of film and TV placements (One Tree Hill, Northshore, Wes Craven’s “They”, MTV Real World, America’s Next Top Model,and more). McAllister’s debut solo album, “Music or a Rainy Town,” is scheduled for release in March 2011 and features his strongest material to date. For more about McAllister see the website:  At the Fort Langley fundraiser concert, listeners will be treated to 40 minutes of each singer-songwriter’s brand of modern folk rock, while the others play backup.  This collaboration is very much representative of what’s happening in Langley’s music scene.  According to Pick there are dozens of other hugely talented musicians who make their home in the Valley and are part of a connected creative community. What makes Langley such a hotbed for musical expression?  “When you are surrounded by musicians and songwriters better than you, it inspires you to improve,” he explains.  “Other than that, there must be something in the water.” Catch Pick, McAllister, Lindberg and Huscroft at the Fort Langley Hall on Saturday, March 5 at 7pm.  Tickets $20 at the door. Advance tickets available at The River Vintage in Fort Langley. Visit for more information.

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