Evan Redsky, a former member of the Juno-nominated punk rock band Single Mothers, left to pursue a solo career in music that draws not just on his personal history, but also the history of his Indigenous heritage. His great grandfather James Redsky, a World War I veteran and residential school survivor, wrote the novel Great Leader of the Ojibway, which was published by the University of Toronto Press in the early 1970s.
At first, Redsky struggled to find his creative footing as a solo artist. However, once he focused his songwriting on his background, he said in a 2018 interview that “ it liberated me to write dozens of songs.”
His first solo EP, titled “Danny Wolfe” & Two Other Stories, was released on February 2, 2018. The EP gets its name from the leader of the Indigenous street gang, the Indian Posse, Daniel Wolfe. Two mellow tracks on the record, “Kala-Ann” and “The Kid,” are inspired by the survival stories of Indigenous people Redsky encountered in the Northwest Territories.
Redsky grew up in Blind River, Ontario. He would often hitchhike from Blind River to Toronto to be close to the city’s music scene. Passionate about storytelling and acting from a young age, Anishinabek News reported that Redsky studied theatre arts at Fanshawe College. Now residing in Toronto, he told the CBC the growing wave of Indigenous creativity across Canada “inspired me to tell my stories.” He hopes his music can be a tool for healing and understanding.
On October 20, 2022, Redsky released his debut full length album, Oblivion, a blend of country and americana. The seventh track “Now & Then,” is a romantic ballad based on the sounds of acoustic guitar and harmonica. He credits his Americana style of music to his upbringing. He grew up listening to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Blue Rodeo—artists he was exposed to thanks to his grandparents and mother.
On music community website Bandcamp, Redsky notes that Oblivion is a “meditation on the struggle of the alcoholism and addiction I’ve dealt with throughout my life.” It also reflects his experience working with Indigenous youth in Toronto, and how he has witnessed many of them wanting an escape from their struggles “in exchange for oblivion.”
In addition to music, Redsky is also committed to raising awareness toward the injustices his community faces. He has hosted fundraising events for the clean water crisis in his family’s reservation in Northern Ontario.