It’s been a good year for music. Ladysmith musician Ryan McMahon is part of Lion Bear Fox — a band that tours worldwide and has become a top folk rock act at showcase festivals all over Canada and the U.S.
The band is releasing a new album in February and holding an Official Video and CD Release Party at the Port Theatre as part of Festival Nanaimo on March 25. This will be just after the release of their first single to radio in January and their return from touring the Maritimes and heading a showcase for BreakOut West at Folk Alliance (the biggest folk music festival and conference in the U.S.). They have represented Canada at AmericanaFest in Nashville, Western Arts Alliance in Los Angeles and Arts Northwest in Spokane this fall as well as five other Canadian showcases.
Recently, the band and Cathleen McMahon have partnered to open a new record label, Elbowroom Recordings Ltd., and this will be the first release off of the label.
Lion Bear Fox, which includes Christopher Arruda, Cory Woodward and Ryan McMahon, craft compelling, honest stories. The three men, known initially for solo careers, joined forces in 2012, and soon after, Peak Performance Project selected them as one of the top 20 unsigned bands in British Columbia.
In the fall of 2013, the band released their self-produced breakthrough EP “We’d Be Good Men.” The next two years, they toured, with appearances at Canadian Music Week (Toronto), Contact East (PEI), OSAC (Regina), the Mission Folk Festival and the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, amongst many others. They also shared stages with artists, including Tom Wilson, Good For Grapes, Elliot Brood and Kim Mitchell.
In 2016, Lion Bear Fox further cemented their growing status as a new Canadian band to watch, and with the help of friend and producer Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run), the trio spent 10 days in the Vancouver Island wilderness crafting “the record of their lives,” a collection of songs steeped in character and full of warmth.
One part folk, one part rock, with a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl, their self-titled LP is a testament to the trio’s strength as songwriters.
“This was a big undertaking for us all — our producer Nygel included — and it certainly marks a shift in sound and seriousness for Chris, Cory and myself. When we use the phrase ‘record of our lives,’ we’re not kidding. It’s the most important work I’ve ever been a part of in 17 years of calling myself a musician, and I’m very proud of the result that has come from the hard work we all put in,” says McMahon.