Interview: Trent Severn


Trent Severn is an acclaimed Ontario folk trio who sing original, contemporary songs easily described as “Canadian history in harmony”. Topically modern with a humorous twist, Trent Severn have inspired audiences all over Canada to share a patriotic laugh and let their glowing hearts melt away. Comprised of talented multi-instrumentalists, singers and songwriters Dayna Manning, Emm Gryner and Lindsay Schindler, Trent Severn is a truly DIY band that showcases beautifully-crafted, evocative songs that continue the deeply poetic legacy of true ‘red and white’ pioneering troubadours. 

Ryan Ayukawa: Let’s jump in to WinterFolk. How did Trent Severn hear about the festival? And how are you looking forward to it?

Dayna Manning: Yes. Looking forward. I absolutely love the concept of a winter folk festival on the Danforth, and love what the festival stands for, as it aligns with many of my own values, entertaining, educating, engaging, etc.

RA: Will you have a chance to check out any other WinterFolk acts? Time permitting.

DM: Yes, I am planning on arriving early to catch the earlier sets and some workshops and to support our fiddle player Lindsay Schindler at her workshop. Really interested in catching the Command Sisters.

RA: How does Lindsay fit in creatively in the writing and what does brings to the stage?

DM: A lot of folks are going to be surprised with the new album (Portage) as it’s the first one with Lindsay. She has certainly carried more than her weight writing wise. She has initiated many of the songs lyrically which Emm or I write to music. My favourites are a hot track called “Wake Up Willie” which she wrote about her local groundhog Wiarton Willie, and Emm set to music, I set a song called Eh Canada to music. 

Also, I track beds and send them to her, and she amazes me with what she writes on the violin/fiddle. One of my favourites is called “Lyin in bed like Bryan Adams”, which turned into a whole other song once she added her part.

She RIPS fiddle on a few tunes that are sure to be favourites.

Her addition to the band has been a perfect fit for Emm and I.

RA: I remember you saying with one of your own albums you were learning there can a difference between the album you envision and the album possible financially. As the album producer, did you set out goals for maintaining a vision possible? Did experience help?

DM: It’s a funny thing with us. I am happy in Trent Severn to almost have NO budget, because I have so much talent to work with in the band itself. Emm and I really push each others as writers, as the succession of songs comes in the next one always seems to compliment the last. I am always surprised by how easy some songs come together and how some you thought would be easy you have to fight for more.

I always start with the three of us, get us sounding as best as we can, and cover the dynamic that will translate on stage. I the add the “knickers and Lace”. Guests, percussion, harmonies.

This upcoming record, Portage is the first time we’ve had a budget, but I haven’t really changed direction. I’ve ensured it sounds better and there has been more time to do what we envision.

Experience has allowed me to do things cheaper as I don’t waste as much time or money experimenting

RA: There’s a tremendous amount of, Canada in Trent Severn. And Canada is coming up on 150.

 Here’s the Canada question! If you had your pick between Trent Severn singing the national anthem for/at every national Canadian Hockey Team (we’ll note men and women’s teams) OR taking Rick Mercer on a week long shopping spree to dress him in plaid, which one would you take?

DM: Anthems. But we don’t pick a favourite team. We love em all! Although the Winnipeg Jets get a shout out on this record.

RA: And last question: Other people to thank for the upcoming album?

DM: Paul Mills. First and Foremost.
Scott McKowen – artist, who designed the cover,
Our families for sure.
Graham Lindsey for always being a great sounding board.
And most importantly, our PLEDGE MUSIC supporters!
Also my accordion playing friend Keelan Purchase, and Actor Cedric Smith. They have helped so much as a sounding boards as well.
And the folk community in general. The volunteers specifically.

For the entire WinterFolk artist list, contacts and schedule see:

Discover more by visiting Trent Severn’s website at:


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