• Roachford

Holding Patterns

 2014 Aboriginal Juno nominee Amanda Rheaume enlists support from 2014 Juno Humanitarian Award winner Chantal Kreviazuk for a powerful statement about the role of intergenerational trauma and oppression in the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The song is called “Red Dress,” it’s the first single and signature song from Rheaume’s brand new album, Holding Patterns, and it’s a benefit for the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Safety and Violence Prevention Program.

Written in a single evening and set to a gorgeous video featuring dancer Aria Evans, the song is, in part, a reaction to those who blame the victims themselves for the murders and disappearances – without considering how perceived “high risk behaviors” such as sex work or substance abuse are the direct result of Canada’s decades-long attempt at cultural genocide.

It was inspired by Amanda’s disgust with the Cindy Gladue verdict and her participation in MMIWG rallies in Ottawa at a time when she was also beginning to reckon with her own family history – a process documented on her Juno-nominated album Keep a Fire.

That album was a collection of personal family stories, many told to her by her grandfather, the late Metis Member of Parliament Eugene Rheaume, and its title track described how Amanda’s Ojibwe great grandmother and European great grandfather lived in exile in northern Manitoba, unwelcome in either the nearby white or First Nations communities.

With “Red Dress,” Amanda makes the personal political, reflecting on how each disappeared woman has both a story of family struggle such as her own and a world of potential that was taken away.

About Holding Patterns

For the rest of Holding Patterns, Amanda returns to the personal like never before.

Produced by Ottawa singer-songwriter Jim Bryson, the album’s stand-out tracks include “The Day the Mountain Fell,” a true story Amanda’s grandfather told her about a second cousin in the 1950s who became known in media reports as a “miracle child.” This after surviving a landslide near Mount Hays in northern B.C. because the flow of rock lifted her crib above the debris.  

“The Wolf of Time” is based on an image Amanda’s grandfather used to invoke to remind people to get on with their dreams.  It was inspired by the recent death from leukemia of Amanda’s 28-year-old close friend and musical collaborator Fraser Holmes.

Many of the other songs are deeply personal and vulnerable reflections on the end of Amanda’s troubled long-term relationship and the unique struggles faced when two women – socialized to be kind, avoid conflict and solve problems by talking them out – stay in a relationship that was doomed from the start because nobody wants to be mean enough to end it and everyone wants to believe they can work it out if they just try hard enough.

“Time to Land,” for example, is about repeating the same relationship patterns over and over again and expecting a different result – and about deciding to let those patterns go.“Blood from a Stone” is Amanda’s “F-You song,” her version of “You Oughta Know.”

About Amanda Rheaume

Possessed of a powerful, slightly gritty singing voice and an ear for catchy melodies and instantly-accessible roots-pop arrangements, Amanda won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for a Juno.  She has also been shortlisted for the Council for the Arts in Ottawa’s RBC Emerging Artist Award.   

She began releasing EPs in 2007 and, the following year, received a massive endorsement when she won $40,000 in Live 88.5’s 2008 Big Money Shot competition. 

She quickly earned a reputation around Ottawa as a generous community-oriented artist and leader who co-organized the Babes for Breasts concerts and recording projects; spearheaded Ottawa’s Bluebird North songwriter showcases; performed for the troops in Afghanistan three times; raised money for the families of military personnel, and sold 6500 copies of a Christmas EP in Ottawa alone to raise money for Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa.

With the release of Holding Patterns and its single “Red Dress,” Amanda continues a long history of raising money and advocating change through her work as an artist – and this time, it’s personal.