prefers to characterize itself as an evolving entity and founding member Will Whitwham is the last man standing.
For the band’s new album, Across The Dark, the vocalist/multi-instrumentalist stepped up to write and produce all the songs himself. “When a band isn’t changing, it’s not growing,” says Whitwham. From the band’s inception, it has redefined itself with every new release; from Hymns of Love and Spirits through When You Left The Fire, Island of Echoes, Between Colours and various EPs.
The evolution of their sound has run the gamut from four part harmonies and its initial chamber folk sound to duo lead vocals and an expanded sonic palette ranging from cinematic indie pop to anthemic folk rock. The current band includes vocalist/guitarist Raven Shields, bassist/vocalist Tavo Diez de Bonilla and drummer Mike Brushey.
In its eight year existence, the Wilderness of Manitoba’s strengths come as a direct result of the wealth of traveling the band has done; playing a multitude of festivals and touring in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Canada. “The live show,” says Whitwham, “is an in-the-moment portrait of the band and its efforts.” Those efforts were recognized when the Wilderness of Manitoba was nominated for a JUNO, the Canadian equivalent to a Grammy or Brit Award. Summing things up, Whitwham says, “There is no lacking in the quantity of ideas in terms of our music and the band’s future.”
“On Between Colours, the band has once again reinvented itself. It is by far the most ambitious album the Wilderness of Manitoba has ever made. It is also the strongest. Change can be risky in the notoriously fickle music business, but on their new album the Wilderness of Manitoba pushed themselves — and made something that is at once eclectic, engaging, and profound.” – Verb Magazine
“With every album they’ve released, the Wilderness of Manitoba has inched further out of the forest and deeper into the city. It’s loud, it’s percussive and, hell, it even features a guitar solo from Rush’s Alex Lifeson. Most importantly, though, the direct and unapologetic songwriting (best displayed on single “Leave Someone” is both musically and lyrically on par with, if not an improvement on, the standard set by previous albums.” – Exclaim Magazine
“If you were familiar with the Wilderness of Manitoba from their earlier dreamy folk incarnation, you might be a tad surprised by the group’s latest effort, which makes its more rockist intentions clear right from synth-bolstered lead track Big Skies. The more upbeat sound – Rush’s Alex Lifeson even throws down one of his trademark searing guitar solos on Shift – suits the band’s evolution.” – NOW Magazine
“Between Colours reaches for the sun and the stars, not to mention the backs of the bleachers. With that in mind, it does seem that this outfit has a bold future ahead of it. The greatest asset of a record such as Between Colours is that it is a telling reminder that Canadian rock has always been strong, and it just goes to show that, had this come out 30 years ago, we might be talking about the Wilderness of Manitoba in the same hushed tones as Canadian artists that paved the way for Canadians to sing about Canada for Canadians, if not to the rest of the world.” – Pop Matters
“The fourth album from Toronto’s the Wilderness of Manitoba starts to weave its spell from the first track, drawing the listener into its manifold sonic delights. The band references all kinds of sounds – from taut folk-rock to synth-laden, skyward-directed pop gems – to create a coherent whole. Shadow Forgiveness is the best Neil Young song he never recorded, and you will know it from the opening guitar figure. At a mere 10 tracks, Between Colours satisfies, yet leaves you wanting even more.” – Winnipeg Free Press
“If you’ve kept up with The Wilderness of Manitoba through the band’s evolution, the rock-centric sound of their latest album, Between Colours will seem like a natural progression. Between Colours is the work of a well-oiled band intent on harnessing the indie rock energy around them and channeling it into the album’s 10 songs. What keeps me coming back to The Wilderness of Manitoba is that throughout their evolution and growth they’ve not shed one incarnation in favour of the next. Each new album has added a new layer–a new colour, if you will–on top of the last.” – Quick Before It Melts
“The earlier rootsy style of the Wilderness of Manitoba is replaced by a sophisticated, mature and lush sound a touch suggestive of peak-era Fleetwood Mac.” – New Canadian Music
“The Wilderness of Manitoba is a Toronto-based trio that specializes in making atmospheric folk-rock with a tinge of Fleetwood Mac-inspired harmonies.” – Consequence of Sound
- The Wilderness of Manitoba has had six straight Top 20 singles on CBC Radio 2.
- In 2014, the band was nominated for a JUNO Award in Canada.
- Second album, When You Left The Fire, received strong support from WFUV in New York and KEXP in Seattle, and the band filmed in-studio sessions for both stations. They were also invited to perform at the Triple AAA Radio Conference in Colorado that year.
- The Wilderness of Manitoba has toured the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands and Germany including shows with the Head and the Heart and Lord Huron. The band made its UK debut at the End of the Road Festival where they received a standing ovation. They have also performed at the WOMAD Festival in the UK and been invited to play SXSW and the Reeperbahn Festival.
- The Wilderness of Manitoba has had songs featured in such US television series as Parenthood, Haven and No Tomorrow. The video for the song November which was featured in Haven has had over 145,000 views on YouTube.