Ambre McLean can seem impossibly small on stage, but it doesn’t take long for her talent to make her seem larger than life, a giant filing the room with the kind of songs that make you remember lost loves and abandoned dreams.
McLean comes by her musical gifts honestly, both her parents were professional musicians when she was a child, and they commenced her formal musical training at the age of three. As the years progressed, her musical education included piano, guitar and vocal training. After nearly twenty years of writing and performing, it was only this past year that McLean decided to step into the limelight full time. By car and by train (by way of Via Rail’s Musician on Board Program), she has been zigzagging across the country. Promoting not only her newest album “Murder at the Smokehouse” she is also touring in support of a re-released “I Wonder If”, her haunting piano-based album, both of which are brought forth by indie label Busted Flat Records.
The title of “Murder at the Smokehouse” refers to a flock of birds, as opposed to homicide, and reflects the more grassroots feeling of this album. Described by McLean as a "musical novella", it is a journey of straight shooting and honest lyricism with a gritty blues undertone. “ “With its from the floor recording approach, and skillful changes in sound and texture, the record captures the essence of her musical spirit - that of an independent singer/songwriter who does a great job of exploring the edges of the genre" (David Yazbeck, NXEW.ca)
A regular on the Canadian music festival circuit, you may have had the pleasure of enjoying McLean at Halifax's In The Dead Of Winter, Hillside Festival, Tilsonburg Festival, The Marmora Jamboree as well as the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. But it isn’t only the audiences who are delighted. McLean won the prestigious 2010 Ontario Council of Folk Festival’s "Songs From The Heart Award" for her song “Me, My Heart and the Moon”. She won Guelph’s inaugural Songwriting Competition in 2009, and is a two time "ECHO People’s Choice" for best female singer/songwriter. "She must have been born to it", says CBC3's Craig Norris, "Ambre is a brilliant player, a brilliant songwriter and a brilliant performer."