posted by Lisa McLaggan - Friday, November 09, 2018

By Jason Schneider Media

Listen HERE

As anyone who’s tried to grow tomatoes knows, sometimes it takes a few attempts to achieve the perfect flavour. On their new album Canary In A Coal Mine, New Brunswick-based roots rock outfit Tomato Tomato—led by Lisa and John McLaggan—have done just that, reaping the benefits of the seeds planted on their previous three releases.

Although those records established Tomato Tomato (pronounce it however you choose!) as an award-winning songwriting partnership with a high-energy take on traditional sounds, they have truly progressed to the next level with Canary In A Coal Mine, made at Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter (Alabama Shakes, Margo Price) with producers Jon Estes and Andrija Tokic, along with some of Music City’s finest musicians.

The result is a potent display of everything that’s made Tomato Tomato one of the most beloved groups on the Canadian folk music scene, from John’s inventive songwriting to Lisa’s unforgettable Neko Case-esque vocals. However, with Canary In A Coal Mine, folkies are now going to have to share Tomato Tomato with the rest of the music world.

Crackling spontaneity is certainly evident on the album’s opener and first single “Take It On The Road,” as well as the stomping title track and “You Don’t Know Anything,” both instant roadhouse classics. The album’s quieter moments are just as powerful, with “Kite Song” and “Nothing Left” bringing the duo’s intimate connection to the fore. And for the musos, there’s even a couple of covers of The Band’s “Ophelia” that strips the song down to its bluesy essence, and A-ha’s “Take On Me,” which unexpectedly drew admiration from the Norwegian stars after the McLaggans posted a live video that has since garnered 25,000 YouTube views.

Canary In A Coal Mine is an important milestone on the McLaggans’ journey, and a reminder that growing things organically—especially when it comes to tomatoes—is still the best approach.



Tunes and Tacos!

posted by Lisa McLaggan - Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tunes and Tacos!

When we created our wish list of studios for this next record, at the very top was the analog wonderland, The Bomb Shelter in Nashville. This is where some of our favourite records were made like the Alabama Shakes Grammy award-winner, "Boys and Girls", parts of Margo Prices's, "Midwest Farmer's Daughter" (the one that shot her into seemingly overnight superstardom), and the Langhorne Slim ground breaker, "The Spirit Moves". 

Now turn the clock back about 13 years...(cue dreamy ascending whole tone scale with lots of reverb)...we were living in Miami, drinking too many cafe con leches, and eating tacos with our dear friend, Jon Estes. We used to play music together. Lots of music. We also obsessed over the same albums and would dissect every little nuance of them. Fast forward to the present day...Jon made us breakfast tacos this morning at his house in Nashville...where he now runs Studio B at The Bomb Shelter along side studio owner and producer extraordinaire, Andrija Tokic. Andrija has been collecting analog gear since he was a kid and we had been pouring through production credits of our favourite albums mentioned above...trying to figure out exactly how these amazing throwback sounds were being created. Turns out, if you want a vintage, throwback sound, you need to use the same gear. Can I be a gear nerd for a second? I won't get too technical but I just recorded my vocals on the same microphone the Alabama Shakes used. I also recorded on the same RCA microphone that people like Frank Sinatra swore by. John recorded his acoustic with Langhorne Slim's capo he had left lying around the studio. The energy in this place is electric. We were so in the zone that some of my (this is Lisa btw) scratch tracks are what went on the record! The amount of music created here is mind boggling. All it takes is one glance around to see the walls and entire ceiling covered with award winning records and you know you're in a special place. I can't believe we got to add to that energy with our own.

We came down with our band already picked out - some of Nashville's most hard working and valuable players. We used the guys from the band Steelism (look them up!) to record the bed tracks. They have also lent their talents to folks like Dolly Parton and Kesha...pssh no big deal ;)  Instant chemistry and friendship. That does not always happen! We brought in folks on pedal steel, piano, and trumpet who are currently touring with Miranda Lambert, Margo Price, and Canada's own - Johnny Reid, respectively.

We then spent three days mixing! This is where the real sparkle happens. This is where you watch the 1/2 inch tape spin, you add cool effects, and really create "your sound". We got to watch Andrija and Jon work their magic and we left Nashville with our new mixes in hand. A whole new album. A fresh sound with vintage charm that sounds like you were right there in the room with us.

But wait - tacos! We know everybody talks about the BBQ in Nashville but for us veggies, we were all about fried avocados, a side of plantains, and a cold horchata to soothe the vocal chords. We highly recommend the East Nashville staple, Mas Tacos. Just be prepared to wait in a line out the door because they are THAT good. We even got the t-shirt. No really, we did! Pic or it didn't happen, right? 

Thanks for reading - we cannot WAIT to get this album to you! Stay tuned for pre-order deets!


Lisa & John



Hello 2018!

posted by Lisa McLaggan - Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Hello 2018!

Happy New Year!
2017 was quite a ride! We pushed ourselves harder than ever and got to tour all over Canada, Australia, and England! We played amazing festivals and shared stages with so many friends! We learned to travel with our own jar of peanut butter as well as how to drive on the other side of the road. We were recognized by Music / Musique NB and won Group Recording of the Year and SOCAN Song of the Year! We got to open the East Coast Music Association (ECMA) Awards Gala with a rockin' full band and John was nominated for Songwriter of the Year! Things wrapped up with the release of our Christmas album, a tour across the Maritimes, AND the final tweaks to all of our NEW songs for our upcoming album! We are all set to record in Nashville next week (more on that later, stay tuned - eeeeep!) We were involved with many recording projects and celebrated many album release shows of dear friends. These are merely some of the highlights. As we catch our breath, we want to say thank you. Thank you for coming to our shows, clicking like, hugging us, listening to our music, giving us directions when we were lost, helping us carry gear, telling a friend about us, or just thinking good thoughts for us. We couldn't be happier making music together and are starting 2018 full of gratitude and projects on the horizon. From the bottom of our hearts - thank you and see you soon!
Peace and love! ✌️️💕
Lisa & John


Contest Announcement and Details!

posted by Lisa McLaggan - Monday, October 23, 2017
Contest Announcement and Details!


What does a Maritime Christmas mean to you? We all have traditions in this amazing place. From St. Stephen’s pink chicken bone candies to Charlottetown’s Victorian Christmas. From grandma’s tourtiere in Memramcook to Digby’s Road to Bethlehem church tour. So many amazing things that make living here amazing. We want to hear all YOUR traditions and we want to bring YOU to our show. SHARE this contest POST and add your comments to our twitter, instagram and Facebook with #MARITIMECHRISTMAS and tell us what makes your Christmas so special in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. You will be automatically entered to WIN 2 tickets to one of our Maritime Christmas Shows AND one night’s accommodation AND our complete catalogue of merchandise PLUS the New Christmas CD “Pinecones & Cinnamon”. You will meet the cast before the show and we can toast to our good health and the season! The draw is NOVEMBER 15th. Share the JOY. Join us won’t you? Enter daily!



Contest Details

Enter daily by simply sharing the contest post. At 11:59 pm AST, we will collect the names from each day and add to the draw. Please note in order to see your name your settings have to be set to public. This contest is being facilitated on Facebook however anyone who is the age of majority may enter at no charge by emailing . The contest draw will take place noon AST November 15th, 2017. At that time we will announce the winner via FACEBOOK and our manager will contact the winner via direct message on FACEBOOK. The prize is 2 tickets to a show of your choosing at 1 of our 10 dates in The Maritimes (non-transferable and no cash value), 1 night accommodation (we reserve the right to select the accommodation and this is non-transferable and has no cash value) and a prize package of CDs and other Tomato Tomato merchandise which we will provide to you at the concert you attend (this is non-transferable and has no cash value). The prize package is to be accepted as provided in there are no rain-checks for other shows or concerts and no refunds associated with this prize package. Tomato Tomato Music and Garrison Hill Entertainment are save harmless from all risks associated with attending the shows and the contest is operated with no cost to play, win or participate. We reserve the right to cancel the contest at anytime.


Tales of a Momsician (and Dadsician)

posted by Lisa McLaggan - Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Tales of a Momsician (and Dadsician)

This summer the Tomato family set out on the ultimate adventure – a five week tour with three weeks in Australia – WITH our 6 year old daughter, Lucy. Recently I discovered the term “Momsician”, or rather, I was called it by a dear friend. This trip really brought that word to life for well as for John, the “Dadsician”. I know we are not alone. We were those people who were picking the brains of our fellow musician parent tribe – asking for tips and tricks to make it all go smoothly. More than tips, we were really just looking for validation. “Was it okay?” “How did it go?” “Would you do it again?”

The short answer to all of those questions is: FANTASTIC. And YES.

People are very quick to say how positive travel can be for young children. They are right. We talked to Lucy about “life school” and how there are certain things you learn at school and certain things you can only learn by putting yourself in new and different situations. We now have a 6 and a half year old daughter who can navigate through an airport like a champ, whipping off her shoes and hoodie and tossing them in the security bins like a boss. She can deal with the limited options for food on a 14.5 hour flight (which was perhaps one of my biggest fears) and just eat the weird mac n' cheese because “At least it's vegetarian, Mom. It's better than nothing.” She can hop in a cab and say hello to our driver with the utmost respect while chit chatting about where we're going and where we've been. She can stay up until 1am (turns out, staying up really late will not actually kill your child) and then rock a red-eye by sleeping the whole time. She can recognize that SHE is the one with the accent and start adopting local vocabulary (like asking for a side of “avo” instead of “smashed avocado”). And when all else fails, we are here to tell you that a child can live on peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

We were very lucky to have help. We couldn't have done it by ourselves. I repeat: we couldn't have done it by ourselves. John's father, “Grampie” Wayne was with us for the bulk of our trip and he was a champion. He was Lucy's everything. Roommate, snuggle buddy, play mate, swim partner, app downloader, shopping buddy, cook, launderer, listener, and general rock. Not only did we have Grampie, we had the “festival family”. If you've been to a music festival, you know that an interesting phenomenon occurs. The rest of the world disappears and you enter into what I like to call the “festival bubble”. Everyone looks out for everyone and we all bond over music, stories, food trucks, and grassy toes. Each place we went, the volunteers and staff went above and beyond to make sure Lucy was comfortable and looked after. She had all access passes, booster seats, oodles of swag, and was the queen of the folk kid parades. Not really, but she felt like it and that's what counts. Thank you to the volunteers at Vancouver Folk Festival for working with her on making art with clay. Thank you to the Broadbeach Country Music Festival for making sure we got to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and to Emily Holler for going so far as to pick us up and take us out to an amazing vegetarian restaurant on the Gold Coast where Lucy bonded with her son and the two of them played like old mates. Thank you to Mark Lang in Melbourne for making sure we had a place to stay, things to see, singing along to our songs with Lucy during our set, and for just generally being our friend on the other side of the world. Thank you to the volunteers at the Regina Folk Festival – especially the one who gave my mother a sweet new hat and bottle of water when it was super hot out. My mom met up with us in Regina and had never attended a festival before! Also to the team in charge of the little folksters...who set up an environment for all the other folk kids to play together with bubbles, art, costumes, and music. Once Lucy was there, she didn't want to leave.

Did everything go perfectly smoothly on the trip? Nope. Were there days when things were stressful? Yep. But you deal with those things. Life at home isn't always stress-free and smooth either, right? So you handle those things and move forward while focusing on the positive. Life of a Momsician and Dadsician is definitely not always glamorous. But boy is it fun.

Part of our job is to travel. When we combine our family, career, and self fulfillment together, we feel like we are all winning at life.

Is it a huge risk?


Is it worth the risk?

So much yes.