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These ten moving songs explore our frontiers, both personal and geographic. We follow street photographer Vivian Maier, landscape painter Tom Thomson and others "fixing for adventure", as they roam from the mighty Fraser River to outer space to roads so familiar we could drive them in our sleep. And the music that takes us on these journeys is unvarnished but warm and rich in love, wisdom and hope. —Tim Falconer, author of Bad Singer



“The Real Shade is a band steeped in our landscape and the bands that make up Canada's sound. At the cross roads of stripped down vintage rock and new school indie pop, you won't find a sound like theirs anywhere else.” - The Hippie Historian

The Real Shade (formerly “Shade”) is a group of seasoned Canadian musicians, fronted by songwriter Jane Gowan. The band was formed in 2007, after Gowan moved from hometown Vancouver to Toronto, and teamed up with bassist Mary Harmer and drummer Cam Giroux.

They are known for their no-nonsense style, sweet harmonies, and well-crafted catchy songs.

The band has released two albums under the name "Shade": Highway (2010) and One Last Show of Hearts (2011). Their third album, Horizon Diaries, was released March 23, 2018. 

 Left to Right: Don Kerr, Mary Harmer, Gord Tough, Jane Gowan. Photo by  David Bastedo

Left to Right: Don Kerr, Mary Harmer, Gord Tough, Jane Gowan. Photo by David Bastedo


An introduction to Horizon Diaries, featuring the song "Lost". 




At the cross roads of stripped-down vintage rock and new school indie pop, you won't find a sound like theirs anywhere else.

– An interview with Gabrielle Bossy, The Hippie Historian

...both the earlier and new albums have that pop sensibility seldom captured in music today.

I have heard six of the songs from Horizon Diaries and have already crowned it the best the band has created yet. You will be reading a lot about them in future columns.

– Frank Gutch Jr. *
(* Rest in peace, Frank, and thank you for your open ears and your generous spirit. You will be missed.)

At a point where gentle and drifting Americana meets ambient folk music and discerning indie explorations hook up with the infectiousness of pop, you find The Real Shade and songs such as Moving Gaze. It is a wonderfully lyrical creation and as part of the album Horizon Diaries forms part of a musical montage which explores all aspects of our world.

A&R Factory



...there should be a home for bands that can so consistently craft smart, crisp pop songs and as long as Shade keeps writing records like One Last Show of Hearts, herohill will proudly yell from the rooftops hoping people to listen.

– Bryan Acker, Herohill*


Through these seven songs, I get everything I could want—melodies which are good enough on their own but are made so much better by the harmonies—songs perfectly fitted to Gowan's perfect/imperfect voice.

– Frank Gutch Jr., Rock and Reprise


...a lovely warm tone and a bit of a vintage feel.

– Tiana Feng, Ride the Tempo


...unexpected hues and intricate instrumental weaves...a smart and witty playfulness

– Jim Di Gioia, Quick Before it Melts


…créative et accrocheuse…très bonnes chansons qui méritent une écoute attentive.

– 500 khz




This one’s a no-brainer – listen to Highway.

Canadian Musician Showcase


...Not one note on this compact 10-song, 36-minute record feels forced and that is very, very rare these days.

– Bryan Acker, Herohill *


Highway... is a gem. There is something very refreshing and unpretentious about the album and Gowan’s songwriting, as simple as it is, is outstanding in that simplicity.

– Frank Gutch Jr., Segarini: Don't Believe a Word I Say


...a surprisingly strong, original effort...professional as hell.

–Todd Sikorski, Skope Magazine


Gowan's lyrics are genuine and real. The music is both polished and raw, as well-produced indie music ought to be.

–Chris Menezes, Suite 101.com




Catching Some Rays with Jane Gowan
Jimmy Rae, Skope Magazine, April, 2011


Nine Questions with Jane Gowan
Interview with Trevor Rogers, Nine Questions for Musicians (2011)

*The music blog Herohill closed for business in 2013, but we thank Bryan Acker and the team for all the years spent supporting Canadian music and bands.

To contact us, please email "band @ the real shade dot com"

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