Hailing from a dairy farm in the heart of Saskatchewan, young folk singer Ellen Froese has swiftly made her presence known in the Canadian music scene. As a folk artist performing solo (sometimes with her rockin’ back-up band, the Hot Toddies), as well as a founding member of successful bluegrass/folk group In With The Old, Froese has balanced multiple projects for the last few years. Lately, it’s hard to tell if she should still be classified as ‘folk’, what with the direction of the new album leaning more towards 1970s pop grooves, ballads, and classic country. From a young age and over a short period of time, she has clearly proven herself to be a valued addition to the world of North American music through her poignant vocals and raw talent.
Growing up as a homeschooled only child on her grandparents’ Mennonite homestead, Ellen has a rich history of singing to the cows. Her passion for music started at an early age, beginning with a phase of non-stop adoration for rock ‘n’ roll (after hearing Elvis for the first time at age five in her dad’s truck) and culminating with a love for songwriting and folk/bluegrass music (after attending her first bluegrass festival). She started classical piano lessons at age four, but after eleven years of training she gave it up to teach herself guitar after discovering Neil Young. Soon after she started writing songs. This range of interests growing up has highly influenced her abilities and stylistic choices as an artist today. In 2012, Ellen and two friends formed the folk trio In With The Old as an outlet for their zeal for the genre, which soon led to them releasing two albums and touring extensively throughout North America. This brought Ellen to appearances at Merlefest, IBMA, Breakout West, and Folk Alliance International, as well as supporting acts such as the Steel Wheels, the Dead South, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, and more. As Jim Lauderdale once noted, “In With the Old puts the sass in Saskatchewan”.
Since striking out on her own, Froese has quickly established herself as a sought-after solo act. 2018 proved to be a big year, securing main stage slots at festivals such as Regina Folk Fest, Gateway, and Ness Creek; opening for Valdy and The Crash Test Dummies; and appearing at Halifax Pop Explosion, Folk Music Ontario, Folk Alliance International, and BreakOut West (among others). 2019 has brought both Canadian and German ‘Youngbloods’ tours, booked through Germany’s DevilDuck Records. Her rotating back-up band, Saskatoon supergroup ‘the Hot Toddies’, are bringing Ellen back to her rock n’ roll roots - the members of the diverse band all come from varied musical backgrounds and include Emmett Fortosky (Minivandal), Matt Joyal (the Classy Chassys), and Dylan Cooper (Von Jumbo).
With a combined four albums behind her, as well as a 'Best Solo Act' award through the Planet S Best of Saskatoon contest (2019) and a Saskatchewan Music Award nomination for folk/roots artist of the year (2018), Froese released her fifth album on November 1st - 'Fightin' Words' - her first with a full band behind her. Whether performing a folk traditional, a rock 'n' roll classic, or her own compositions, Froese handles it with an air of authenticity – all tempered with a healthy dose of humour and self-deprecation.