You would be hard pressed to find another Canadian ensemble with the collective depth of influence over the country’s musical landscape than Lunch At Allen’s. Murray McLauchlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan, and Ian Thomas collectively have released an astonishing 91 albums, earning 39 Juno Award nominations with a dozen wins; a songwriting super-group whose songs are familiar to just about every Canadian that has turned on a radio in the past two decades.
It all began as a regular get together at Allen's Pub & restaurant on The Danforth in Toronto with Canadian music icon Murray McLauchlan and old friends Ian Thomas and Marc Jordan. After adding the voice of Cindy Church, a "lunch at Allen's" turned into an outstanding band performing some of Canada's (and the world's) most enjoyed songs from each of these songwriters’ impressive catalogues. The stage show is an intimate and humorous performance by some of Canada's finest individual performers.
Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas' songs have been recorded by everyone from Rod Stewart to Bette Midler, and Diana Ross to Santana. Murray McLauchlan's hits have covered Canadian airwaves from coast to coast. Cindy's (the sweetest) voice and songs are well known on the folk festival circuit through her solo work and as a member of Quartette with Sylvia Tyson. Together, it seems as though they've been playing for years with an energy and freshness like they've just met.
The irreverence of friends who make exceptional music together during a magical Lunch At Allen's is enjoyed by audience members while the group is on tour.
Ian first hit internationally in 1973 with "Painted Ladies". With a Juno award, four SOCAN classic awards for Painted Ladies, Right Before Your Eyes, Hold On and Pilot, a UNICEF Danny Kaye Humanitarian award, 15 albums and as many top twenty records later, Ian has now added author to the mix with two novels, Bequest (Manor House 2006) and his latest The Lost Chord (Manor House 2008).
Ian’s lyrics have been utilized in English textbooks while his songs have found international success with many artists such as Santana, America, Manfred Man, Chicago, Bette Midler and Ann Murray. He also records and tours the country regularly with good friends Murray McLauchlan, Marc Jordan, and Cindy Church in a band called Lunch At Allen’s.
When you add twenty movies as a film composer, six seasons on the Red Green Show as character Dougie Franklin and over a thousand commercials voicing characters from Clive Firkin of Firkin Pubs to Snap the Rice Crispie, the credit list starts getting ridiculous.
2009 saw Ian touring both as a solo artist and with Lunch At Allen’s, while completing the music for the animated series The Adventures Of Bob and Doug McKenzie and scoring two Hallmark Movies, The National Tree and Fairfield Road.
With the new Lunch At Allen’s CD completed and 2010 underway Ian is currently writing and recording a long awaited new solo album. To hear him live is to spend time with a master songsmith and humorist.
Ian lives with his wife of 39 years in the Niagara wine region of Ontario because he likes both wine and his wife.
Murray McLauchlan is one of Canada's best songwriting performers. To experience him perform is to enjoy creative storytelling, social commentary and wit with a man who clearly enjoys sharing his music and experiences with an audience.
In his late teens, soon after developing the art of songwriting, Murray found himself playing at major music festivals such as The Philadelphia Folk Festival and Mariposa, where he appeared alongside Jim Croce and John Prine. He then continued to attract attention on the club circuit, playing such well known rooms as The Riverboat in Toronto, The Bitter End in New York, The Main Point in Philadelphia, and the famous Earl of Old Town in Chicago. Before Murray had actually recorded an album of his own, his "Child’s Song" was already well known after being recorded by American folk star Tom Rush.
Now, thirty odd years later, Murray has twenty albums to his credit on both True North Records and Capitol Records. Murray has won eleven JUNO awards, as well as RPM "Big Country" awards and Toronto music awards. His songs have been covered by many other artists as well as being featured in high school text books.
Murray has been both a radio and television host as well as the author of a book and in 1993 was appointed to the order of Canada. His side project with Ian Thomas, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan, Lunch at Allen's has taken on a life of its own with a live DVD and CD released in 2004 on Capitol/EMI and Catch The Moon (2007). As well, Murray composed a stage musical, Eddie. In the fall of 2006, EMI Music released the album, The Songbook... New Arivals, featuring songs from the musical.
Marc Jordan -A well-known songwriter once called Canadian Icon Marc Jordan "the real deal". So what the hell does that mean? Maybe it suggests how many of us would respond to life if we had such an eloquent reflex. Marc Jordan's voice and songs are how he howls at the moon. They take many listeners to a place that the heart understands before the intellect can comment. Frequently praised for the emotional and poetic quality of his lyrics you know he understands the sweet sadness of life and it's connection to music. It is in his spine. He shuffles around this planet observing the connective tissue of metaphor, the poetry of life - mining phrases that might capture something beyond words.
Marc Jordan began his professional career in Los Angeles in 1977 when he was signed to Warner Bros. working with famed Steely Dan producer Gary Katz who produced Marc’s classic West Coast album ‘Mannequin’. Jordan spent the next 15 years in LA making and producing records for Warner, BMG and Atlantic Records. Having written hit songs for amongst others, Josh Groban, Rod Stewart, Cher, Molly Johnson, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt and Diana Ross, Jordan’s resume reads like a list of who’s who in music. His film credits include Sluggers Wife (Rob Lowe), Like Father Like Son (Dudley Moore), Never Talk To Strangers, Heavy Metal, Blown Away (Jeff Bridges) Touched By An Angel, as well as many others. A Juno Award winner and the first recipient of Male Vocalist of the Year by the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards, Marc has also carved an impressive career as an artist with eleven successful solo albums. He is currently signed to EMI Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
In December 2008 Marc released a Christmas single ‘Every Time It Snows‘ penned in collaboration with Emmy
Award winner Don Breithaupt which is classic Marc Jordan; showcasing his unique vocal style and sensibility. Marc is currently working on his much-anticipated new album for EMI provisionally entitled ‘Crucifix In Dreamland’ and scheduled for release in the fall 2010. This year will also see Marc starring opposite his friend Olivia Newton-John in a new movie entitled "Score : A Hockey Movie". Marc and Olivia will also be co-writing the song for the closing credits.
A stellar presence in the Canadian music scene, Cindy Church has crafted a body of work that is at once artistically successful and culturally significant, sought after by fellow performers and treasured by listeners. Drawing set lists from her own catalogue and exceptional covers of tunes in performances to appreciative audiences internationally, Church has become renowned for the clarity and emotive precision of her voice and the subtlety of her approach to song interpretation and songwriting.
Weaving influences from east to west, she has blended styles effortlessly to create her own singular sound. Originally from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, Church’s early sense of music was infused with acoustic country and folk traditions of the maritimes. Building upon these roots, during the 1980’s she made forays into country music while living and recording in western Canada, developing her repertoire within the Turner Valley, Alberta based trio Great Western Orchestra and touring and recording with Ian Tyson as part of the Chinook Arch Riders. Church has continued to perform with Tyson, providing vocals for four of his contemporary cowboy albums.
Embarking on a solo career in the 1990’s with Love on the Range, Just a Little Rain and the self titled Cindy Church recorded on the Stony Plain label, Church proved herself to be a superb singer and songwriter with a distinctive voice and interpretive technique. All of these albums received extensive airplay across the country. Church was also a recurring musical guest at this time on Morningside with Peter Gzowski. These vocal stylings became a key element in the formation of Quartette, the striking collaboration of Church, Sylvia Tyson, Caitlin Hanford , the late Colleen Peterson, and later Gwen Swick, that would reshape the Canadian musical landscape.
Now living in Toronto, she has acquired national acclaim as one of the best singers in the country and an international reputation for her musical adeptness across country, jazz, blues, gospel and swing styles, and as one of the finest song interpreters. From 2001 through 2003, she worked and recorded with George Koller and Joe Sealy as part of “The Nearness of You : A Tribute to the Music of Hoagy Carmichael ” which toured extensively across Canada. Currently, she continues to work and record with Quartette, Rankin, Church and Crowe (Susan Crowe and Raylene Rankin) and is also a core member of the powerful creative collaboration, Lunch at Allen’s, writing, recording and performing with fellow singer songwriters Murray McLauchlan, Ian Thomas and Marc Jordan.
Tucked away unannounced at the end of the [Cindy Church] CD is a version of In My Life – Cindy’s voice weaves through the song like a silvery ribbon, sending little shivers up your spine with flashes of the blues and country twang, hinting of fond memories, heartbreaks, and unfulfilled wishes. — The Globe and Mail, Toronto
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