Ol' Savannah

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Ol' Savannah is a Montreal-based folk band known for its vocal harmonies and use of traditional Appalachian and Cajun instruments.[1][2] Ol' Savannah have released five albums and two EPs[3],[4] performed at a number of festivals, and toured in Canada, the US, and Europe.


Ol' Savannah was founded by Speedy Johnson and Bartleby J. Budde. The two began writing songs together in 2009, influenced by folk, roots, and blues artists Mississippi Fred McDowell and John Hurt. In 2011, they independently released their self-titled album;[5] Underneath the Old Red Barn followed in 2012. 2013's Death on the Mountain was released through the Coup d'Griffe label.

Ol' Savannah have performed frequently on Halifax, Nova Scotia's waterfront as part of the Halifax International Busker Festival.[6] In Quebec, the group participated in Festival Fringe in Montreal in 2012 and 2014. In 2014, as part of the Montreal Fringe Festival, the group received an honourable mention at the Frankie Awards for Greenland Productions' music award.[7] Ol' Savannah played Festival International du Folk Sale in June 2013 in Ste-Rose-du-Nord.[8]

In early 2015, the band release an EP, Don’t Let It Reign.[9] In June they performed at the Montreal Folk Festival on the Canal; in May 2016, the group played Paddlefest in St-Andrews, New Brunswick.

In 2017 Ol' Savannah independently released an album, Burden. In October that year the band accepted an invitation to perform at Festival Le Grand Soufflet in Brittany, France, and followed that with a six-week tour in western Europe, which took the group to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, as well as France.[10] From 2013-2017 and in 2019[11], Cult MTL readers voted Ol' Savannah into the "Best Country/Folk Act" category in the annual "Best of Montreal" survey.[12][13][14][15][16]

The group's Hobo EP[17], released in the winter of 2018, received a nomination by GAMIQ for Folk EP of the year[18]. Ol' Savannah then released their first live album in April 2018, entitled "Fill My Cup Up at De Melkbus: Live in Dordrecht, Netherlands".[19] The release of their fifth full-length album was followed by a second European tour, which included performances at Festival Labadoux[20] in Belgium and Gate To Southwell Festival[21] in England.


  1. ^ "Ol’ Savannah with Po Lazarus – Live at Divan Orange – Aug 21, 2015 – Montreal, QC". Bucketlist Reviews, August 21, 2015 Courtney O'Hearn
  2. ^ "The History of Gunpowder + Ol’ Savannah + Peregrine Falls + Opale @ La Sala Rossa – June 23rd, 2017". Montreal Rocks, June 23, 2017, by Dan Corber
  3. ^ "Ol' Savannah". Ol' Savannah. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  4. ^ Armstrong, Denis. "Ol' Savannah bringing Deep South to Canada | Ottawa Scene | Entertainment". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  5. ^ "Review- “Ol’ Savannah”- Ol’ Savannah". Greyowl Point, by Michael Thomas, May 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Saunders, Allison (2011-08-04). "Busker Fest welcomes back Ol' Savannah | Music Feature | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST". Thecoast.ca. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  7. ^ "Fringe Festival stays true to its name with closing awards". Montreal Gazette. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  8. ^ Ledoux, Julie. "Festival du Folk Sale de Sainte-Rose-du-Nord : Musiques pas propres propres". Voir.ca (in French). Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  9. ^ "Ol’Savannah – Don’t Let It Reign EP". Bucketlist Reviews, March 16, 2015 Joey Beaudin
  10. ^ "Ol' Savannah - Le Grand Soufflet". www.legrandsoufflet.fr (in French). Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  11. ^ CultMTL (2019-05-07). "Best of MTL 2019: Music". Cult MTL. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  12. ^ "Best of MTL 2013: Music | Cult MTL". Cultmontreal.com. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  13. ^ http://cultmontreal.com/2014/05/best-of-mtl-2014-music/
  14. ^ http://cultmontreal.com/2015/05/best-of-mtl-2015-music/
  15. ^ "Best of MTL 2016: Music". Cult MTL. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  16. ^ "Best of MTL 2017: Music". Cult MTL. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  17. ^ "Hobo EP, by Ol' Savannah". Ol' Savannah. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  18. ^ "Les nominations du GAMIQ 2018". Le Canal Auditif (in French). Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  19. ^ "Fill My Cup at De Melkbus: Live in Dordrecht, Netherlands, by Ol' Savannah". Ol' Savannah. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  20. ^ "Ol' Savannah". www.labadoux.be. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  21. ^ "Live Music Review: Gate to Southwell Festival 2018". LeftLion. Retrieved 2019-06-18.

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