Bluesfest locals: Mikhail Laxton

June 29th, 2023 by  |  Published in Bluesfest locals, Features, Interviews, News

Mikhail Laxton promo photo

Mikhail Laxton

The Bluesfest locals series will introduce you to the talented music makers from the Ottawa area performing at this year’s RBC Bluesfest. Come on out early to Bluesfest and discover some great new local music!

Mikhail Laxton

Thursday, July 6
6:00 pm
SiriusXM Stage


As 2020 got underway, Ottawa-based singer/songwriter Mikhail Laxton was set to open the next chapter of his life with the release of his debut EP, Real, a collection of soul-folk gems. But what should have been the wider world’s introduction to the Australian-born artist’s immense talent, already established in his homeland through appearances on Australia’s version of The Voice, was lost in the cacophony of pandemic confusion. Mikhail coped the only way he could, by wiping the slate clean and re-emerging with a new crop of songs from the core of his being. His new album is simply entitled Mikhail Laxton because it is who he is. The contrast between his first EP and his upcoming album is striking. Not only does the upcoming music fulfill the promise of his debt, but it also firmly establishes him as one of the most vital voices within the Canadian music scene. No matter what genre labels are placed upon him, there can be no disputing that Mikhail Laxton has his own timeless sound, the product of a unique life experience.

The Talent

I will be borrowing some great local musicians for this show.

Peter Von Althen will be keeping the train on the tracks on drums and percussion. You might have seen him play for the likes of Jim Bryson and Kathleen Edwards alongside Jon Hynes who will be playing bass. On Lead Guitar is Robbie Rigg who plays for a number of local artists but mostly known as the lead guitarist for The Lionyls. And joining me on backing vocals and tambourine is the incredible Rebecca Noelle (The Peptides, The Commotions).


Who was the first person you told you were performing at Bluesfest this year?
My wife was the the first person I told – we share all the wins big or small. This was an especially exciting moment though!

Please describe your sound.
My manager Tony and I call my sound “Outlaw Soul” – it’s kind of derived from Willie and Waylon’s “Outlaw Country”. It’s a mashup of Country, Americana, blues, Soul, some folk and Rock all glued together by the singer-songwriter genre, though if I had to narrow it down, I personally class myself as a singer-songwriter.

How did you get started on your musical journey?
My music playing journey started when I was around 10 or 11 years old. My Uncle Bill bought a seven-piece red Tama drum set, and he had this badass BOSE stereo system and a 20-acre farm. Every weekend he had people over and he would put CCR, Eagles, AC/DC and the Offspring on the stereo, hand me sticks and say “Go hard Mik!” I would spend hours playing along to all those songs that became the soundtrack to my childhood. I then made the transition to guitar and songwriting when I was about 12 when my Mum and Stepdad got me my first acoustic guitar.

What’s your connection to Ottawa and the local music scene?
I’ve been living in Canada for seven years, and in Ottawa specifically for about six years. Most importantly my two children were born here, which really solidified Ottawa as my home. It took me a bit time to feel this way but I’ve recently started to settle into it more and more. Over the years of pursuing my music career I feel like Ottawa has begun to really embrace me. That’s just the way I feel about it lately and I hope that’s actually the case haha!

Will you be playing any new music at Bluesfest and/or releasing/released new music ahead of your performance?
So I’m currently in the middle of releasing singles from my forthcoming debut self-titled album. And as a fun surprise we’re releasing the 3rd single “Leaving You With Less” on July 6th, the very same day I play Bluesfest. My set will be chock full of new songs from the album and some tracks from my side-project called Blackbird Valley.

What artists are you hoping to catch during this year’s Bluesfest?
I’m hoping to see Shania Twain, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Foo Fighters, Son Little, Alan Doyle, Orville Peck…. ahhh there are so many!

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