Beginning on Feb. 17, the competition is entirely based on the public’s votes. Reigh is in the second round of the competition, which is still open for votes until Sunday. After that the voting continues for the regional finalists.
Allyson Reigh James-Loth entered the competition as an independent artist although she has also released the album, The Field & The Sea, as part of the two-part band, Mike & Ally, in Saskatoon.
“Teach You How to Sing is the song I've entered in the CBC Searchlight competition,” Reigh said.
The song was recorded with Rich McFarlane at Mosaic Music in Prince Albert.
If Reigh makes it into the top five artists within the province, she will move onto the next leg of the competition.
This process continues until it the 24 regional finalists across the country are whittled down to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the finalists.
While she is currently living in Montreal, where she is studying and playing music, and has also lived in Saskatoon for six years, Prince Albert is where she comes back to.
“I do spend a lot of time there … visiting family … I feel that I represent more the prairies,” she said.
“I’m splitting my time … I’m kind of touring between all of the places,” she said.
Her music reflects the prairie landscapes, she said.
“I think I represent my hometown and home province in that I use a lot of natural imagery from my childhood; driving past fields of wheat, barley, etc., vast, beautiful skies,” she said.
She describes her music as acoustic folk, with a deep connection to the land.
For Reigh, music is in large part about communicating with her audience and connecting them with the story more than it is about performance.
“Bringing people back to stories we can all relate to,” she said.
Despite studying far away, her music still speaks of home.
“I try to keep pieces of home present in my songwriting because it is such a big part of who I am and where I come from. I also try to use stories or common prairie experiences in my songwriting.”
For example, a relic she found after her grandparents passed away inspired War Song.
“We were going through some of their things and we found my grandmother’s diary from during the war.”
She lived through the uncertain loneliness experienced by so many Canadian prairie women of that day.
“She was telling this story about living is southern Manitoba and they didn’t have the internet, they didn’t have phones -- all of the modern conveniences where you can keep in contact with people … when my grandfather was overseas she used to wait, she didn’t know what was going to happen … so I wrote a song about that … it’s a story that I think a lot of Canadians can relate to,” Reigh said.
The Field & The Sea can be bought at Shenanigans Coffee Shop in Prince Albert.
A new album is also on the way with five-songs ready to be recorded for an EP in May.
She is excited about the CBC Searchlight competition.
“It’s a really good change to get my name out there, “ Reigh said.
The final winner of CBC Searchlight will receive $20,000 worth of Yamaha gear. They will also be put up in a hotel in Toronto from May 24-26 and will then get an audio/video recording session at a CBC location.
According the rules of the competition the total value of the final prize is approximately $36,500.
To vote got to CBC’s website at http://music.cbc.ca/#/Searchlight
You may vote every day from every device you have and can vote for the same or different artists each day.