The Real Shade (formerly "Shade") was formed in 2007 when musician/songwriter Jane Gowan moved from her hometown of Vancouver to Toronto. Having left 4 bands and over 20 years of creative partnerships on the West Coast, Jane was now musically adrift in the beating heart of the Canadian music scene; in many ways starting her career from scratch. However, what could have become a drawback instead became an opportunity for Gowan to re-invent her sound and make something new. She'd lately been day-dreaming about fronting a simple lo-fi rock group a la Velvet Underground / Kinks, and in her new home she saw a way for that to happen.

Soon after arriving in Toronto, Jane met bassist Mary Harmer (Weeping Tile). The two began rehearsing as a duo. But they needed a drummer. One night after enjoying a Violet Archers show at the Cameron House, Mary introduced Jane to Cam Giroux (Oh Susanna, The Violet Archers, Holly McNarland) and convinced him to join the band. Guitarist Jonny James joined for a while, but a change of careers caused him to leave, and he was replaced by guitarist Gord Tough (Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer). Along the way, Tim Vesely (Rheostatics, The Violet Archers) became an integral part of the group, playing guitar and filling in on drums, plus recording and producing the songs. Drummer Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics, Communism) was recruited as drummer/engineer for the new album. 

The Real Shade also has a Vancouver-based contingent that toured as "Shade West" in 2011. Some of these musicians also played in Jane's "pre-Shade" group called Jane be Jane. JBJ released a 7-song EP in 2006 called Willing But Weak (produced by Chad Hunt). Past and present West Coast collaborators include guitarist Jon Wood (Flophouse Jr., Cam Penner), guitarist/singer Belinda Bruce, bassist Ryen Froggatt (Mazinaw, Rich Hope), and singer/songwriter Llynn Kellman.




...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 wonderful 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.


TOP TEN SONGS (we think you might like).