Oak Lake

Oak Lake is Tannis’ first solo album.
Named after her hometown on the Canadian Prairies, the album is a tip of the hat to her early musical roots. Eight original tunes and two covers complete this sweet roots/rock production.

Oak Lake was selected for a 2002 Porcupine Award for ‘Steve’s Favourite Album of 2001’. The citation reads: “This independent release by veteran performer Tannis Slimmon (Bird Sisters, Benji) was long overdue. However, if Tannis had done this before now, it would have probably suffered being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As it is, the world is ready for Oak Lake now. She has assembled an impressive cast of players who she loves, and they love her, and it all shows on this incredibly enjoyable album.

The songs are good, solid pop songs, delivered with beautiful production. How can you tell when an album is really good? Because when it finishes you think, that can’t be it! Is it over already. Better put it on again. And that probably says more for this project than anything else I can add. It’s just really good stuff that you can’t get enough of.”

Buy the Album on iTunes | Credits | Reviews | Album Artwork Information

Oak Lake Team

Tannis chose to work with a team of musical experts, co-producing the album with partner Lewis Melville, Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers), Nick Craine (Black Cabbage), and John Charlton (Benji), and mixing the album with Scott Merritt and Chris Marks.

The Players

The album features guest performances by many musical friends. The players, in order of appearance, are Lewis Melville, John Charlton (Benji), Nik Tjelios, Sue Smith (Bird Sisters), Ralph Dame, Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies), Dave Clark (Woodchoppers Association, Rheostatics), Dale Morningstar (Dinner is Ruined), Dr. Pee (Dinner is Ruined), Murray Ritchie (The Hoofbeats), Tristan O’Malley (The Neutron Stars, Black Cabbage), Sam Cino, Jack Walker, Rebecca Campbell, Vicki Fraser, Alfons Fear (Woodchoppers Association), Harry Manx, Nathan Lawr, Nick Craine (Black Cabbage), Andy Maize (Skydiggers), Kate Richmond (Black Cabbage), Gwen Swick (Quartette), Vandana Sharma (House of Velvet), Jeremy Shute (House of Velvet) and Hughes Massicotte.

The tune “There’s A Lift” is enhanced by “The Lift Me Higher Choir” of 26 singers from Guelph’s ultra-musical community (Haidee Ogden, Jacqui Tracy, Jim Slansky, Doug Norris, Amy Corner, Beth Cosentino, Alicia Miecznikowski, Eleanor Kure, Kate Richmond, Tracy Woodford, Kate Vsetula, Mike Kosir, Chantal von Maydell, Nick Craine, Sue Richards, Fiona Eden, Mike Sharp, Emma Smith, Lynn Broughton, Pam Harrision, Sylvia Wilton, Tannis Maynard-Langedijk, Morvern McNie, Brenan Pangborn, Heather McIvor, Craig Black, and Lewis Melville).

The Pit Crew

Recorded by Lewis Melville except for Track 1 recorded by John Charlton and Tannis.
Produced by Tannis with Josh Finlayson (track 2, 7), Nick Craine (8, 9), John Charlton (1), and Lewis Melville (3, 4, 5, 6).
Mixed by Chris Marks (2, 4, 7, 8, 9), Scott Merrit (1, 5), and Lewis Melville (3, 6, 10), with assistance from Josh, Nick, John and Tannis.
Mastered by Joao Carvalho at Umbrella Sound, Toronto.
Artwork: Maria Pezzano, Tracy Harrison, Carolyn Riddell, Angel Calnek, Lewis Melville.
Photography: Cover photo by Susan Smith; Other photographs by John Charlton, Trevor Slimmon, Lewis Melville, Tannis, Greg Floyd and Bill Hale.
Graphic artwork/wizardry: Brian Smith of Hydesmith Communications, and Lewis Melville.
Website design: Michael Findlay of thindesign.com


“Slimmon, known and loved for her work in the Bird Sisters, Crows Feet and Benji, has released a solo album full of rich harmonies and quaint all-Canadian songs. From the house party dosie-doe and two-step romp of ‘Maisy Go Round’, to the up-lifting ‘A Miracle’, Oak Lake is running over at the brim with solid and exquisitely produced songs. Add to Slimmon’s sometimes haunting/sometimes joyful voice the talents of Harry Manx, Andy Maize, Jeff Bird, and Josh Finlayson, to name just a few, and you have an album that both defines and challenges the boundaries of Canadian Roots music. Musically and lyrically Oak Lake is at once highway, prairie, mountain, inlet, and city.”
– Brent Hagerman ECHO Magazine

“…her vocals stay front and centre, and that’s a good thing. Slimmon’s got a set of pipes that puts other belters to shame.”
– Sarah Liss NOW

“Slimmon shines with beautiful folk-pop sounds with an oh-so-delicate hint of rootsy-twang. Her smooth sweet vocals are captivating.”
– Jennifer Tattersall Ottawa Xpress

“Slimmon has occupied such an integral part of our live music scene that it’s almost a surprise to discover this is her first solo album.”
– Philip Bast Nightlife

“With the demise of Guelph’s acclaimed folk trio the Bird Sisters, Tannis Slimmon became a ubiquitous backing vocalist and a coveted member of other people’s projects. Her many years of selfless service to the local community is paid back in spades with Oak Lake. Her dazzling solo debut features members of the Dinner Is Ruined, the SkyDiggers, King Cobb Steelie and Royal City, as well as just about everyone in Guelph, including partner Lewis Melville. Her sparkling, smooth vocals are front and centre in this well-stewed collection of songs, with acoustic arrangements and magical production touches bringing her vision into clearer focus. ”
– Michael Barclay EYE

“The well-wrought tunes are joyous exhibitions of vocal harmony as Tannis accompanies herself on guitar and mandolin. This album has a full, contemporary rootsy sound entirely accessible to fans of country, pop and AAA. Each track builds onto the previous reaching a jubilant plateau in “My Body Moves” featuring a bright trumpet line. (Full review available at Womanrock.com)”
– Tom “Tearaway” Schulte Outsight e-zine

“The greatest strength of this record, and at the same time, its most subtle aspect, is Slimmon’s keen sense of harmony. By virtue of her layered vocal melodies, combined with the sincerity of her lyrics, you feel this record as much as you listen to it. ”
– Scott Messenger Penguin Eggs

“Although Oak Lake is an independently released debut, it has the polish one might expect from a major label – minus the overproduction that often accompanies such albums. Slimmon performs these songs as if they truly mean something to her; it’s obvious a lot of love and care was spent making this record… Canadian roots and rock music has a formidable contender here.”
– Ellen Rawson Rambles

“From the opening notes of “Falling Together” the listener embarks on a ‘train ride’ of musical delights, gentle harmonies and outstanding musicianship. “There’s a Lift” written by Slimmon and Melville is an explosive rendition of what one might find at a Gospel workshop at Hilldide Festival in Guelph or Sunday morning at Kelso Beach. The “Lift Me Higher Choir” features 27 vocalists along with Tannis and John Charlton on guitars and Lewis Melville on accordion. Effortlessly, the notes fall off the instruments and the words seem to wrap around the melodies. “Why Can’t You Read My Mind” and “A Miracle” demonstrate Tannis’ abilities to tell moving stories through music. She has a rich, mature voice that is very pleasing to the ear. Oak lake is certainly just the beginning of what will be a brilliant solo career for this genuine, mature voice.The graphics and CD packaging are worth the purchase of the disc, alone, …. but the music is outstanding.”
– Brent Jeffries Soundwaves

back to top
back to Music page