Downtown Spark is back again this year from May 25 to June 4. This year’s event is even bigger with five large-scale inflatable sculptures located across Downtown, plus an exciting lineup of daily programming. On June 3 at Macdonald Drive, rootsy singer-songwriter William Prince and a stellar lineup of guests are performing at this year’s Downtown Spark Block Party, from 3pm to 10pm. Put your dancing shoes out and have fun!
The Winnipeg-based troubadour has put together an impressive career since popping up on the musical radar with his debut, Earthly Days, which pulled down a Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year in 2017. Since then the member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba seems to be everywhere, picking up another nomination in 2020 for his sophomore album Reliever, penning Sing a Song with Serena Ryder, and even winning the 2020 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for The Spark. Last year, Prince was invited to use his impossibly warm baritone voice at a Buffy Sainte-Marie tribute concert, where he performed Up Where We Belong with Marie-Mai and Now That the Buffalo’s Gone with remaining members of The Tragically Hip. At last year’s Edmonton Folk Festival he was a revelation to audience members who trekked down to see him open the mainstage on Thursday night. He’s continuing his streak of acclaimed albums with Stand in the Joy; released in mid April, Prince’s fourth full-length has been grabbing critical plaudits from notable periodicals like the Washington Post, No Depression, and Americana UK.
Southern Alberta’s Kyle McKearney falls snugly between such artists as Chris Stapleton and Steve Earle. There’s a touch of rock, some honky-tonk flavoring, even a little bluegrass flows through the singer-songwriter’s offerings. A semi-finalist in SiriusXM’s Top of the Country contest, McKearney is in the process of putting the final touches on his second album, A Traveler’s Lament. If you didn’t attend his Road to the Juno’s show in Edmonton, earlier this year, you won’t wont to miss this event.
Calgary’s Nice Horse has been direct support for Tom Cochrane and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, toured Spain and France, and won Music Video of the Year for their single High School at the 2022 Canadian Country Music Awards. The all-female country band hasn’t released an album since 2017’s There Goes the Neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy; in 2021 they released the single Good At Missing You, which was co-written with hit-maker Aaron Goodvin.
Like Nice Horse, Edmonton’s own Lucette started out firmly in the roots category. It wasn’t long, however, before she was writing “country infused dream-pop” with her 2019 album Deluxe Hotel Room, which was produced by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson. Like many other young artists impacted by the pandemic she’s still in the midst of pulling her career together but make no mistake, Lucette is something of a shooting star.