Leah Daniels


“Leah, could you sign my head?”

This is the question Ella Berman, a student enrolled in Carleton University’s bachelor of music program, asked singer-songwriter Leah Daniels after an Intimate and Acoustic performance by Daniels and the River Town Saints on the ACCE Green Roof on Sept. 21.

“(It was) literally one of the loveliest moments of my life,” said Berman. “And it was very ticklish.”

Moments like these express Daniels’ warmth and genuine nature. That was also expressed through the fact that she spent about 20 minutes following her show signing autographs for fans, despite having a long drive home.

“Leah’s music has just offered me hope and given me strength,” Berman told the Times in an e-mail.

Daniels offered a unique set for the small crowd perched on the ACCE roof’s bleachers. She also incorporated some yodelling. She told the Times that she learned the craft from her grandfather, and the 1933 song she did in her set, Swiss Moonlight Lullaby, was a song he would sing constantly.

Daniels incorporates different genres into her music, not just country and pop.

“My music also has some rock influence in it,” said Daniels. “I grew up with three brothers who were always playing classic rock.”

She ended the night with a rock song.

“My favourite song was Best of You by the Foo Fighters,” said Harrison Field, a first-year journalism student. “That’s what I listen to, so I’m glad to hear one I know.”

A Ottawa-based country rock band, the River Town Saints, opened the show. While not prominent yet, their lead singer, Chris Labelle, has had experience in the spotlight. He was a contestant on the fourth season of Canadian Idol in 2006.

They performed original songs and a cover of the Eli Young Band’s Drunk Last Night. Labelle joked to the crowd that they did, admittedly, get a little drunk last night.

Field was forced to go to the performances by his friend, Emily Hicks, an Algonquin student enrolled in the library technician program. She felt a connection with Leah Daniels’ song Take Me Out to the City.

“I grew up in the country and when I come to Ottawa I want to go back to the country where I belong,” said Hicks.

Daniels particularly enjoyed the intimate atmosphere of the set, joking at one point during the show if there should be a question and answer period.

“I find myself feeling much more comfortable sharing stories and interacting with the audience on a personal level,” Daniels told the Times in an e-mail. “By the end of the show we are all one big family.”