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Little Miss Higgins

Little Miss Higgins was born in Brooks, Alberta, and raised in Independence, Kansas.

Music entered her life early.

“When I was about four my dad bought this old piano at a local bar,” she recalls. “It was a mini grand piano. He brought it home and told me it was mine. I carved my name in the side and started taking piano lessons.”

Growing up playing piano, Little Miss Higgins (aka Jolene Higgins) now uses guitar and voice as her main instruments as well as her theatre background to bring a “refreshing sound and story to the stage.”

Her stage name, Little Miss Higgins suits the undeniably inflammatory mix of her blues and country music repertoire but the moniker was largely accidental. “When I moved to Saskatchewan I made friends with this crazy Greek guy,” she recalls “He started calling me that, and it just stuck. I started using it on posters around 2002.”

Over the past five years, Little Miss Higgins—described as a “pocket-sized powerhouse” by Richard Knechtel in the Owen Sound Sun Times--has built a strong national reputation throughout Canada, appearing in clubs and on festival stages in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Owen Sound, and Canso, Nova Scotia performing traditional songs but also her own original music that picks up on blues styles of the past, but remains very much her own expression.

As a songwriter, she has been influenced by a range of artists from Memphis Minnie, Billy Holiday, Big Bill Broonzy to Joni Mitchell.

Then there’s her classical music background. She spent two post-secondary school years studying theatre, and a third studying music and drama at the B.C. Conservatory of Music on Vancouver Island.

Her studio albums “Cobbler Shop Sessions” (2006) and “Junction City” (2007) superbly showcase Little Miss Higgins as a highly-developed songwriter as well as a remarkable country blues performer in a style gracefully highlighted by her partner, guitarist Foy Taylor.

The release of “Junction City” resulted in a handful of honours for Little Miss Higgins. She kicked off 2008 at the 11th annual Maple Blues Awards in Toronto. Nominated in the New Artist of the Year category, she performed at the awards gala in Toronto.

A few months later, Little Miss Higgins won the Favourite Blues Artist/Group or Duo of the Year category of the 8th Annual Indies Awards held in Toronto during Canadian Music Week.

As well, “Junction City” won as Outstanding Blues Recording at Western Canadian Music Awards, and was nominated in the Blues Album of the Year category at the 2008 Juno Awards.

To her fan’s delight, there was the 2009 release” Little Miss Higgins Live.” The album was recorded at Amigo’s Cantina in Saskatoon, and Engineered Air Theatre in Calgary.

The album features such favourite performance fare as “The Dirty Ol Tractor Song,” “Velvet Barley Bed,” “In The Middle Of Nowhere” and “I’m Gonna Bake My Biscuits.” As well, there are several new songs including “Snowin’ Today: A Lament For Louis Riel.”

Between touring, Little Miss Higgins and Foy Taylor live a fairly simple life in the small but vibrant town of Nokomis, Saskatchewan. “We like to make things from scratch, and we have a big garden,” she says. “We don’t have a horse and cart, but maybe we’ll get there someday.”

Little Miss Higgins new album “Across The Plains” was recorded in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s north-end in the remarkable Bedside Studio--a building that was once home to a Polish Seniors Centre, and later an Aboriginal United Church.

The creation of this album was an adventure of some paths previously untraveled for Little Miss Higgins: recording to tape, using vintage mics, and co-producing. Those who jumped on board, including her partner Foy Taylor, co-producer Jaxon Haldane and a brilliant bunch of prairie-based musicians made the journey easier.

The 10 original songs on “Across The Plains” are influenced by life. Some are shaped by stories and sounds of another time. Others stem from being in the moment, finding passion in the “now” as in writing about a plum tree or le soleil or Bargain! Shop panties; finding a balance in the old and the new, the past and the present, learning and moving on, letting go and holding strong.

This album ties together the experience gained from recording three studio albums and a live CD, along with Little Miss Higgins intuition and creativity, to bring to life what she has always envisioned.

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