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The Trews are a Canadian hard rock band from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, consisting of vocalist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek, and drummer Sean Dalton. The band is currently based in Toronto, Ontario.


The band started their career with the name One I'd Trouser, a line taken from a song in Monty Pythons' "The Meaning of Life", when they formed while in high school in Antigonish Nova Scotia, before changing their name to Trouser, and eventually The Trews. They released an EP as One I'd Trouser, and a second EP under the name The Trews.

In the early summer of 2002 the band entered Rocksearch, a high profile contest that is held annually by HTZ-FM, a St. Catharines (Southern Ontario) rock radio station. Winning the contest would prove to be their big break as they soon landed a recording contract with Bumstead Productions Ltd.

The release of their first full-length CD House of Ill Fame, soon followed in 2003. Produced by Big Sugar's Gordie Johnson, the album contained the singles "Every Inambition", "Not Ready to Go", "Tired of Waiting", "Fleeting Trust" and "Confessions". "Not Ready to Go" hit number one on Canadian rock radio and was the most played song of 2004 in that format. The band was nominated as New Group of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards (Canadian Grammys) and "Not Ready to Go" was nominated as Single of the Year in 2005.House Of Ill Fame has been certified gold in Canada. It was re-released with a bonus live album called "the Live Cut" which featured live versions of songs taken from the album.

The song "Hollis and Morris" on their first album, refers to an intersection in the nearby city of Halifax, and not an intersection in Antigonish as previously speculated. The band has mentioned during concerts and in interviews that the corner of Hollis and Morris is notorious for prostitution.

The band released a follow-up to House of Ill Fame on August 16, 2005. The album, Den of Thieves, was produced by legendary producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, John Lennon, New York Dolls). The first single, "So She's Leaving", was released to radio June 28, 2005 and was followed by the singles "Yearning", which was their second single to reach number 1, "Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me", and "I Can't Say". In the summer of 2005 the band was invited to share the stage with the Rolling Stones at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto as part of the Stones' Bigger Bang Tour. In fall of the same year they were invited to open for Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant on his across Canada arena tour. Den of Thieves was certified Canadian Gold in April 2006. The album was released April 18, 2006 in the United States on Red Ink and Sony BMG.

The Trews' third album, No Time for Later, was released in February, 2008. The first single, "Hold Me in Your Arms", was made available on November 25, 2007. It premiered at the 2007 Grey Cup pre-game show and was immediately released on iTunes; the video for the song eventually went to number one on MuchMusic for a week in April 2008. In early 2009, "Hold Me in Your Arms" won in The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards(US) for Best Hard Rock/Metal Song. A bonus song called "Long Way from Freedom" was included with the single but was not released on the album. "Hold Me in Your Arms" went on to spend 22 weeks in the top ten at rock radio in Canada and in May 2010 was certified Canadian gold the commemorate the sales of over 20,000 digital downloads. In early February 2008, the band added keyboardist Jeff Heisholt to their live line up. The second single from No Time for Later was "Paranoid Freak", the video for which was released in May and went straight into rotation on MuchMusic. The third single, a ballad called "Man Of Two Minds", was released September 8, 2008 and the video reached number one on MuchMusic sister station MuchMoreMusic. The fourth single, "Can't Stop Laughing", was sent to radio in January 2009 with a video that followed in April and became the band's tenth single to enter the top ten at Canadian rock radio. The band was nominated for two Juno Awards in 2009, Album of the Year (for No Time for Later) and Group of the Year.

No Time for Later was released in the United States on April 7, 2009, on Merovingian Music. The first single "Paranoid Freak" was sent to radio a few weeks prior to its release and was added in heavy rotation at Sirius Satellite Radio's Alt. Nation. The second single in the US was "Hold Me In Your Arms" and garnered significant play at Active Rock.

Their second live album, Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers, released Oct. 6, 2009, was an acoustic session recorded over two nights at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio in January 2009 for a live audience. It was released without any edits or overdubs and was produced by the band's guitarist John Angus MacDonald. There is also a 23-song DVD of the same name available which captures the second nights performance in its entirety as well as candid interviews with the band. The release earned the band their fifth Juno nomination for DVD of the year in 2010. The album's only single, "Sing Your Heart Out", a new song written specifically for the performances, won Best AAA/Alternative Song at the 2010 International Acoustic Music Awards (US).

Following Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers the band released the single "Highway Of Heroes". It was inspired by the 2006 death of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian female soldier killed in Afghanistan and a schoolmate of members of the Trews. It refers to the stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario, between CFB Trenton and downtown Toronto, where hundreds gather on bridges and overpasses to mourn soldiers killed in Afghanistan while the bodies of the fallen soldiers are transported from Trenton to the coroner's office in downtown Toronto. The song was made available on iTunes in Canada only, with all proceeds from the sales of the song going to the Canadian Hero Fund, a charity that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed in combat.

In November 2010 the band performed the Canadian National anthem at the 98th Grey Cup in Edmonton.

The band's fourth studio album, Hope & Ruin was released on April 12, 2011. The album was co-produced by John-Angus MacDonald and the Tragically Hip's Gord Sinclair and was recorded at the Hip's own Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario. The album was mixed by Canadian engineer/mixer (AC/DC, Franz Ferdinand, Aerosmith, Mother Mother). The first single "Hope and Ruin" entered the top ten at Canadian rock radio within 3 weeks of its release. The video for Hope and Ruin received significant play on MuchMoreMusic. The second single and video from the album, "The World, I Know", received significant play and is the 12th single to enter the top 10 at rock radio in Canada. The third single from Hope and Ruin was "Misery Loves Company" which climbed to #6 on the rock charts making it the band's 13th top ten rock single. Hope & Ruin was released in Australia with first single "Hope & Ruin" receiving heavy airplay on Australian rock radio chain triple M; the band toured the continent three times during the album cycle. Hope & Ruin was also released in the United Kingdom, with "The World, I Know" acknowledged in the Top Songs of 2011 by Classic Rock Magazine. The band toured the U.K. and the U.S.A. heavily during this time. In August 2012 the band supported Bruce Springsteen at Magnetic Hill outside of Moncton New Brunswick. They were invited by Bruce to join him in his encore for a 10 minute rendition of "Twist and Shout".

On November 6, 2012 the band issued a 7 song EP entitled ...Thank You and I'm Sorry. Co-produced by John-Angus MacDonald and Gordie Johnson, the EP features guest appearances by The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson as well as ex-Black Crowes Eddie Harsch. Ian McLagan of The Small Faces and the Faces also makes an appearance. The EP's first single "The Power of Positive Drinking" received extensive airplay across Canada reaching number 1 on the CBC rock chart the week of December 7, 2012.


Studio albums

Year Title Chart positions Certifications
2003 House of Ill Fame Gold
2005 Den of Thieves 6 Gold
2008 No Time for Later 4
2011 Hope & Ruin 9
2014 The Trews 3


Release date Title Label
1997 The Trouser E.P. Bumstead Recording
2002 Trews E.P. Bumstead Recording
2011 A Trew Holiday Gift Bumstead Recording
2012 ...Thank You and I'm Sorry Bumstead Recording

Live albums

Release date Title Label
November 30, 2004 House of Ill Fame – The Live Cut Bumstead Recording
October 6, 2009 Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers Bumstead Recording


Year Song Peak chart positions Album
CAN Rock
2002 "Confessions"
Trews E.P.
2003 "Every Inambition"
House of III Fame
"Not Ready to Go"
2004 "Tired of Waiting"
"Fleeting Trust"
2005 "So She's Leaving"
Den of Thieves
2006 "Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me"
"I Can't Say"
2007 "Hold Me In Your Arms"
No Time For Later
2008 "Paranoid Freak"
"Man of Two Minds"
2009 "(I) Can't Stop Laughing"
"Sing Your Heart Out"
Acoustic -
Friends & Total Strangers
2010 "Highway of Heroes"
Single-only release
2011 "Hope & Ruin"
Hope and Ruin
"The World, I Know"
"Coming Home"
A Trew Holiday Gift
2012 "Misery Loves Company"
Hope and Ruin
"One By One"
"The Power of Positive Drinking"
...Thank You and I'm Sorry
2014 "What's Fair Is Fair"
The Trews

Featured singles

Year Song Peak chart positions Album
2012 "I Wanna Know" (Maestro featuring The Trews)
Orchestrated Noise


Release date Title
October 6, 2009 Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers

Nominations and awards

Juno Awards

  • 2004: New Group of the Year – Nominated
  • 2005: Single of the Year ("Not Ready to Go") – Nominated
  • 2009: Group of the Year – Nominated
  • 2009: Rock Album of the Year (No Time for Later) – Nominated
  • 2010: DVD of the Year "Acoustic: Friends and Total Strangers" – Nominated

East Coast Music Awards (ECMA)

  • 2005: Group of the Year – Won
  • 2006: Video of the Year (So She's Leaving – Director: Stephen Scott) – Won
  • 2011: DVD of the Year (The Trews Acoustic – Friends & Total Strangers – Director: Tim Martin) – Won
  • 2011: Fan’s Choice Video of the Year (Highway of Heroes – Director: Tim Martin) – Won
  • 2012: Fan's Choice Entertainer Of The Year - Nominated
  • 2012: Fan's Choice Video Of The Year ("Hope & Ruin") - Nominated
  • 2012: Group Recording Of The Year ("Hope & Ruin") - Nominated
  • 2012: Song Of The Year ("Hope & Ruin") - Nominated
  • 2012: Rock Recording Of The Year ("Hope & Ruin") - Won
  • 2013: Fan's Choice Entertainer Of The Year - Nominated

Independent Music Awards (US)

  • 2008: Best Hard Rock Song ("Hold Me in Your Arms") – Won
  • 2009: Vox Pop best Concert Photo taken by Nancy Desrosiers
  • 2010: Best AAA/Alternative Song International Acoustic Music Awards (US) "Sing Your Heart Out" - Won
  • 2012: Rock Artists / Group Or Duo Of The Year - Nominated

See also

  • Canadian rock
  • Music of Canada


External links

  • official website
  • YouTube
  • Live recordings by at the Internet Archive
  • , a featured article on Duty & Valour
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