The Sweet Lowdown


 The Sweet Lowdown1

“Harmonies to die for, fabulous playing, great original material.” Ian Anderson, fRoots Magazine

“Whatever the X factor is that makes for a standout… Canada’s The Sweet Lowdown undoubtedly have it in spades.” Jeremy Searle, R2 Magazine

“A force to be reckoned with.” Fiddler Magazine 

 Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year Nominee


Ensemble of the Year Nominee




There’s something about living on the edge of the world that tends to encourage far-reaching perspectives. Canadian roots trio THE SWEET LOWDOWN (Miriam Sonstenes, fiddle; Amanda Blied, guitar; Tad Ruszel, mandolin), based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, certainly understand this.

With the rough waters of the Pacific around them and the wilds of the Canadian North above them, The Sweet Lowdown have developed original acoustic roots music that draws from earth and sky. This is mountain music to be sure: mountains tied to the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest. As such, you’ll hear influences in this music as far-ranging as Celtic jigs, Appalachian fiddling, contemporary pop and that particularly Canadian blend of driving tradition and ground-breaking originality. The Sweet Lowdown draw from these influences, but are not beholden to them, instead blaze a new trail with original songwriting and innovative instrumental arrangements.

Gaining critical acclaim wherever their music takes them, The Sweet Lowdown have toured throughout North America and the UK. Past highlights include a tour with Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe (2015), performances at The Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival (2013), Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival (Stevenson, WA, 2016) Canmore Folk Festival (2015), Alianait Arts Festival (Iqaluit, 2015), Blackpot Festival (Lafayette, LA, 2014), Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival (Whitehorse, 2012), Mission Folk Festival (2013, 2014), Hornby Island Music Festival (2014), Folk on the Rocks (Yellowknife, 2013). In addition, their 2014 release, “Chasing The Sun” (produced by Adrian Dolan), reached No.1 on the Folk DJ Charts in January 2015 and was nominated for “Roots Recording of the Year” by the 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards, as well as earning the group a nomination for “Ensemble of the Year” by the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Their self-titled debut album (2011) was nominated for “Album of The Year” at the Vancouver Island Music Awards, and their second album “May” (2012) won “Island Roots Album of the Year”, at the VIMA’s and also earned the trio a nomination for “Vocal Group of the Year” at the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards. ​




Coming to Canada from Germany at the age of 9, MIRIAM SONSTENES is a classically trained violinist-turned-fiddler. She has been performing and teaching professionally for the past 10 years and has backed up and recorded with numerous west coast bands and solo artists.



Born and raised in the traditional territories of the Lekwungun and Cowichan Tribes, Southern Vancouver Island and Gulf islands, AMANDA BLIED brings an old time feel to her guitar playing and a scientific twist to her songwriting. 




A founding member of the band, SHANTI BREMER grew up in Olympia, Washington, where she began learning bluegrass banjo at the age of 11. After moving to Victoria, BC, Bremer continued to refine her bluegrass sound and also discovered–and became smitten with–clawhammer banjo.  In 2017 she left The Sweet Lowdown to pursue other goals. She continues to play and write music on Vancouver Island.








The Sweet Lowdown endorses L. R. Baggs pickups and preamps.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $157 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 157 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.



“… they make some of the sweetest bluegrass and old-time music this side (and the other side) of The Great Divide.” 

Peter Cowley, live performance review, FATEA Magazine


 “It was a pleasure to host The Sweet Lowdown and I would recommend them to any music presenters that are interested in a well rehearsed, skilled and delightfully charming acoustic female trio. Do yourself a favour and hire this band!” 

Steve Gedrose, Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival


“The disc is much more than three women who sing well together. For sure, they do sing like birds, and their harmonies are sweet, if not lowdown… But the Sweet Lowdown have instrumental chops galore.”

Mike Sadava, Penguin Eggs


“While their old-time instrumental groove is engaging… it’s the trio’s breezy vocals that are the center of attention on this project… Their rustic purity and earthy sensuality is the heart of the current roots music revival… Each of the young women sings with their own unique flair… With a fresh sound and originality, they’re walking a musical road with a clear vision for their songs.”

Joe Ross, Roots Music Report


“The Sweet Lowdown… showcase astounding exchanges of melodies between all members. The Sweet Lowdown is an incredibly original CD that recreates an old-time feel for contemporary compositions.”

Marshal Hignett, !earshot


“If you’re a Sweet Lowdown fan, you probably fell in love with them for their rich bluegrass harmonies, formidable musicianship, and old-time folk sound. You’ll be thrilled with their third album, MAY.”

Andrea Routley, The Coastal Spectator


“It’s not often that I am awestruck by an acoustic band…”

Brandon Wright, Culture Vulture Victoria


“And sweet it is… lovely vocals with harmony, banjo and acoustic guitar… The few trad songs have a slight gospel flavour but they fit well with some beguiling originals…”

B Tom Harrison, The Province


“They play an old time music that is… sweet and the vocals are ethereal.”

BC Musician Magazine



“Their musicianship is stellar, their arrangements breathtaking, their compositions inspired and their voices like angels!” 

Nancy Douglas, Concert Presenter