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little-miss-higginsFrom the Great Northern Plains of Western Canada, Little Miss Higgins struts and serenades her way, guitar in hand, lips blazoned red, onto the Meaford Hall stage April 16. As if she just drove in off the back-road of another time with gravel dust and a sunset trailing behind her, this pocket-sized powerhouse plays music brewed up in old-time country blues sprinkled with a little jazz and maybe a hint of folk. Whether it's songs about passion or songs about panties, she writes about real things in a rooted and poetic way.

Little Miss Higgins (aka Jolene 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, 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." She spent a number of years after studying theatre at a college in Alberta, roaming Western Canada, acting in plays, frequenting blues clubs and playing her guitar. Higgins finally settled down in Saskatchewan and that's when music took the driver's seat.

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 in 2002 I started hanging out with this Greek guy," she recalls "He started calling me Little Miss Higgins so I used it on a poster for a gig I was doing and it just stuck."

Over the past five years, Little Miss Higgins 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 most often as a duo with partner and guitar player, Foy Taylor. As a songwriter, she has been influenced by a range of artists from Memphis Minnie, Billie Holiday, Big Bill Broonzy to Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton and Bob Dylan.

Her first two 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 and occasionally a handful of other roots musicians. In 2009, to her fan's delight, Higgins released "Little Miss Higgins Live: Two Nights In March". 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 as a couple of previously unreleased songs including "Snowin' Today: A Lament For Louis Riel." Following that came the award-winning album, Across The Plains (2010) and Bison Ranch Recording Sessions (with The Winnipeg Five) in 2013.

Don't miss pocket-sized powerhouse Little Miss Higgins, April 16 at 8pm at Meaford Hall. Tickets are $23 and available online, in person or by calling 1.877.538.0463. Up next is rock 'n roll, boogie-woogie pianist Michael Kaeshammer (April 25) and That's the Way it Was: a tribute to Elvis & Tom Jones (April 30). For more information on these and other Meaford Hall events follow us on Facebook , Twitter @MeafordHall, visit www.meafordhall.ca, call 1.877.538.0463 or drop by 12 Nelson St E in beautiful historic downtown Meaford.


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