Al brant


Al Brant grew up in a household that held music in high regard. His mother was a classically 
trained opera singer who studied in New York. Although her career took a back seat to 
raising four kids, she passed on to her progeny a love of music. One of Al's earliest 
influences was his guitar-playing brother, who introduced him at a young age to Neil Young, 
The Beatles, The Strawbs and Led Zepplin. Listening to these artists created in Al a great 
desire to write and sing his own songs. 
Al’s first foray into the Edmonton music scene was as one-half of the acoustic duo Brant 
and Skelly (Ian Skelly). It was around this time that Al caught the ear of award-winning 
producer George Blondheim after performing in the finals of a contest at the Sidetrack café. 
The result was a three-song demo that caught the interest of Bruce Allen at Penta Records; 
which fueled Al’s deep desire to keep recording and performing. 
It was through this recording session that Al met guitar wizard Eddie Patterson 
(Hometown Band, Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, Hans Staymer). Patterson was impressed 
with Al's vocal abilities and invited him to perform with his jazz fusion project. This exposure 
to live improvisation of vocals and lyrics truly expanded Al's musical horizons. 
Al released his first solo album, Let It Fly in 1991, with Patterson and friends, John 
Armstrong (bass) and Kelly Pikula (drums). Al connected with the late Duane “Wink” 
Smith of Tacoy Ryde performing with The Eddie Patterson project. Duane asked Al if he 
would be interested in singing with the Tacoy Ryde band for a Jimi Hendricks tribute. 
This performance led to Al joining Tacoy Ryde in 1991. This was a true honour for Al since 
he was always a fan of the band, which was one of western Canada's longest running bands, 
recently celebrating 54 years on the Canadian music scene. Al continued to perform with 
Tacoy Ryde for the next 30 years. 
In 1996, Al released a Factor-supported recording produced by Jamie Kidd: Al Brant & The 
Waterbirds. This recording earned glowing reviews and regular airplay on CKUA and CBC 
The birth of Al's daughter around this time brought an increased focus on family life, 
although Al continued to write and record with The Stone Merchants/SMAC (which 
released four recordings: Live in the Living Room (1999), Have Another Blue Juice Mister 
(2022), YigiYigi (2003), and vox Populi (2004); and with Tacoy Ryde, releasing two 
recordings: Here's the Picture (2003) and Tribal Evolution (2018). 
Al's song writing talents continued to garner accolades, and in 2003 he received an 
Honourable Mention in the international John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song 
Horizons of Blue. 
Al has written songs for and performed annually in The Christmas Carol Project, a musical 
version of the classic Dickens tale, along with other Edmonton-based musicians, including 
Maria Dunn, Bill Bourne, Dale Ladoucer, Tom Roschkov, Terry Morrison, and Kevin 
Cook. Bellstruck Productions Inc. in association with CHUM Television, has now produced a 
televised version of the show, which aired on City TV, Access, A- Channel and Bravo! across 
Canada in December 2006. Since its inception in 1996, The Christmas Carol Project has had 
100 performances, eight tours, a CD and an award-winning television special/DVD. The 
show ran for 19 years (1996 to 2015). 

In 2003, Al was hired as an itinerant musician at the University of Alberta Hospital, as part 
of their Artists-on-the-Wards program; a program designed to bring art to the bedsides 
of patients. Brant says, “I go room to room in the hospital and ICU’s play for patients there. 
Sometimes it gets pretty heavy. But it’s a definite honour to get asked to play for someone 
who is maybe on their way out.” For many, you would think that this heaviness would 
create a lost, maybe disjointed musician, yet, as Brant admits, it’s created courage and 
inspiration for the singer celebrating his fourth solo release; “It’s a totally different vibe. The 
difference is that one is a strict performance; the other is more of a deeply personal 
connection. I suppose that connection happens in a concert as well, but when I play in the 
ICU a patient may start talking to me and I stop playing. I think playing in the hospital has 
helped my live performances because I really connect in my one-on-one performances.” Al 
left the hospital program in 2013 but after a 5-year hiatus, he was hired back as a casual 
artist in 2018 to current. 
In 2007, Al recorded Songs for the Early Morning Sun. An all-acoustic affair, the 
recording spun the sympathetic, spirited playing of Tacoy Ryde guitarist Barry 
Nighwander and the many shades of bass by Cliff Minchau, through songs that focus on 
positive emotions related to change, images of nature and memories of an influential 
In 2010, Brant recorded his 5th solo album Wide Open. It's named after a specific tune, 
but that title reflected his attitude going into the project: "The whole process for me was 
about being open to other people's ideas. I was really open to Mike Lent’s suggestions about 
the songs or the music, and a lot of ideas came up in the studio too, from the different 
players. For me, it felt kind of freeing. And some things turned out better than I ever 
One piece of luck came after Mike Lent helped Al with hiring a famous Toronto-based guitar 
genius Kevin Breit (Nora Jones, Harry Manx, K.d Lang etc.) who was originally scheduled 
to play a few tunes but wound up lending his touch to the entire album. Ditto for drummer 
Gary Craig (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Bruce Cockburn, etc.) who also became part of the 
core band. 
Bass by Mike Lent, guitar by Mark Sterling, Russell Broom and Brant, including various 
guest vocalists, filled out the sessions in Alberta or Toronto. It all made for an accomplished 
set of tracks, some leaning towards Blues or Country, or even taking a popular sheen, but 
which made you listen. The recording garnered many positive reviews and airplay across 
Jump forward to 2020. Al joined forces with his bandmate from Tacoy Ryde Dennis 
Meneely to form the recording duo Meneely/Brant. Demo-ing material by computer 
allowed the two to create a substantial body of work and it was then that they invited highly 
respected producer/engineer Miles Wilkinson into the project. 
Wilkinson’s resume is a great read, just like the album projects he has worked on for the 
past 40 years are a great listen. From his heady days in L.A. working on albums for the likes 
of Rodney Crowell and Willie Nelson, to critically acclaimed projects in a circle of artists in 
Nashville that included Guy Clark and Tim O’Brian. Wilkinson’s input was invaluable, and his 
low-key approach and exceptional technical skills were just what Meneely/Brant was looking 
The result was a 5-song EP entitled Coming Days; “an inspired batch of tunes built on 
muscular grooves, strong melodic and harmonic structures, intelligent and thoughtful lyrics, 
and tasty and top-drawer vocal and instrumental performances.” - Peter North. 

The supporting cast making a strong impression to Coming Days won’t be lost on listeners 
either; from young bass player Dustin Roy, drummer Bill Hobson, to Mark Puffer and 
soulful vocal parts by Samantha King, there was an undeniably charged chemistry 
between the participants. Guitar greats, Ralph Pretz, Percy Marshall and MonkeyJunk’s 
Tony D were all in on the project. Everyone involved left the sessions feeling the songs 
were taken to a totally different level. 
Al Brant has shared the stage with Kenny Shields (Streetheart), Bill Henderson, Roy 
Forbes and many more. Al has performed at many Music Festivals and Venues across 
Canada. He has been a song writing instructor for YouthWrite. For Al, the biggest highlights 
have been the amazing musicians he has been able to perform with over the years. 
Al continues to write songs and hopes to be able to get back into the studio to record 
another solo project. 
Stay tuned for a new release coming in 2023! 

Brant and Skelly - K-97 Class of ’88 compilation (1988) 
Al Brant Band - Let it Fly (1991) 
Al Brant – Talking Stick (1994) 
Al Brant & The Waterbirds (1996) 
Eddie Pattersons The Millenium Crew - 21 Century Tango suite (various artists) (1999) 
Stone Merchants - Live in the Living Room (1999) 
Stone Merchants – Have another Blue Juice Mister (2002) 
SMAC – Yigi Yigi (2003) 
Tacoy Ryde - Here’s the Picture (2003) 
SMAC – Vox Populi (2004) 
Christmas Carol Project CD & DVD (2006) 
Al Brant - Songs for the Early Morning Sun (2007) 
Al Brant – Wide Open (2010) 
Tacoy Ryde – Tribal Evolution (2018) 
Meneely Brant – Coming Days (2020) 
New Release – coming 2023!