Ladies Lead the Way Ambre McLean and Tara Holloway

Tara Holloway.jpg

Submitted by Michael Williams
Photo: Tara Holloway

Gary Santucci and Barbra Milne opened The Pearl Co. in 2006 in Hamilton. It is an old acoustically perfect room that feels like an old hippie living room, full of friends, with old comfy couches and good sight lines to the stage on the floor. The Pearl Company has become my favorite venues showcasing films, theatre, dance and live music.

Recently at the Pearl Company I saw Tara Holloway and Ambre McLean perform as they have been touring southern Ontario together. While I had seen Ambre several times before, this was my first time seeing Tara Holloway live. Very impressive!

Tara’s voice was fresh with wonderful control and strength. Her material was well chosen for a voice that kills most of what is on the radio today. She has a voice uncharacteristic of her generation. The lady has tons of chops and learned them from the road and her dad’s old record collection.  Tara is a great voice waiting to be discovered by radio. Her debut, “Sins to confess”, is well worth the price. Tara as a solo artist is raw and can be heard perfectly without a microphone. This is when you really get a sense of the magnitude of her vocals. I am in love with her voice and her songs.  I was very impressed with Tara Holloway’s set.

I have followed Ambre McLean since Canadian Music Week last year. She performed at the Cashbox booth and blew me away. Her songwriting and production is world class music just like her singing and performances. Seeing Ambre live is what live music should be like - “Spontaneous Combustion”.

Ambre McLeanAmbre McLeanAmbre dares to do covers by Aretha Franklin and pulls themoff better than Kelly Clarkson at the Grammys. Her originals are just as worthy. Check out “Tricky Truth” and “This is the End” on YouTube. Like Vinx, Ambre uses live vocal sampling which is the best of both worlds. The electronics add to the existing talent. She can successfully accompany herself and does it beautifully.

She  is one of the great new talents like Cold Specks, Chloe Charles, Tara Holloway, Saidah baba Talibah, Donna Grantis, and Greenlaw /Skylab Sounds. I suggest strongly that you see them all and enjoy the future of music in Canada. Currently Ambre McLean is crowd sourcing to create her new record, if you would like to help her out check out

These ladies have two of the best voices in Canada. They had perfectly matched voices that blended well together as they appeared in each other’s sets. I do hope they record together soon.

Their delivery and vocal styles is like ear candy.  This is the new sound of Canada rising, soulful, thoughtful, and reflective.  This is the soul’s music at its best, embodied in the two damn near perfect voices of Tara Holloway and Ambre McLean.  The last time I was this excited was when I first heard Wendy Waldman, Jackson Browne, and Judy Sill.

If you do not know Tara & Ambre then you have serious gaps in your musical education. If you can see them at the Pearl Company, even better! More about this great room….The Pearl Company is owned and operated by Gary Santucci and Barbra Milne. Together they won the Hamilton Arts Award Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. They support the Arts with no government money. That’s right - no government money!

The Pearl Company is worth checking out.  www://