Back to the Bottom - Lyric Video


Get your tickets for the 8th Annual Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle!

Join Port Cities, Gordie Sampson and more on Thursday, July 13th at the Keltic Lodge in beautiful Ingonish, Cape Breton​ for the 8th Annual Gordie Sampson Songcamp Circle.

Advance tickets available via The Keltic Lodge (902-285-2880), Doucette’s Variety (902-285-2861), & Ingonish Home Hardware Building Centre​ (902-285-2323)


The Guardian: List of performers grows for P.E.I.’s Cavendish Beach Music Festival

By The Guardian

Halifax's Port Cities will take part in a songwriters' circle during the 2017 Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July 7-9. Photo: Mat Dunlap

Halifax’s Port Cities will take part in a songwriters’ circle during the 2017 Cavendish Beach Music Festival, July 7-9. Photo: Mat Dunlap

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival is adding yet more names to the list of performers for this year’s concert, July 7-9.

Artists confirmed to play on the emerging artist stage include John King, Johnson Crook, Mike Biggar, Stephanie Quayle, Chelsey Danfield, Rylee Madison, Andrew Frelick, EmiSunshine, Spencer Burton, Adyn Townes, Cassie Josephine & Gabriel Minnikin, Amanda Riley, Bridgette Blanchard, Emma Bowers & Olivia Blacquiere and Ivan Daigle.

Additionally, the festival has released the lineup for the songwriters’ circle, taking place at the same time.

Gordie Sampson will host the circle on the emerging artist stage, July 7-8. It will include performances by The Good Brothers, Port Cities, Johnson Crook, Damnhait Doyle, Dave Sampson and Spencer Burton.

Hosted by Mike Biggar on Sunday, July 9, the songwriters’ circle will see performances by Biggar, Jessica Mitchell, Aaron Goodvin, JJ Shiplett and Rylee Madison.


Port Cities (2017)
1. Back To The Bottom
2. Don’t Say You Love Me
3. In The Dark
4. Sound Of Your Voice
5. How To Lose You
6. Half The Way
7. On The Nights You Stay Home
8. Where Have You Been
9. Burn That Bridge
10. The Out
11. Body + Soul
12. Astronaut


bio-picA port city is a place where cultures and histories collide, where goods and ideas are imported and absorbed into the local bloodstream. The trio of celebrated Nova Scotian songwriters who now call themselves Port Cities honour that tradition. Their chosen name isn’t just indicative of where they’re from (the harbour hamlet of Cape Breton) but what they do: fuse divergent styles and experiences into a singular roots-rock sound.

Port Cities’ self-titled debut may be the group’s first effort together, but its members share deep, intertwining roots in the Maritime music scene. In addition to releasing three solo albums, Carleton Stone has written songs for and with everyone from Quebecois soul sensation Bobby Bazini to beloved acoustic troubadour Donovan Woods. Dylan Guthro has parlayed his own folk/RnB fusions into match-ups with Halifax hip-hop hero Classified and EDM crew Neon Dreams (whose 2015 single “High” featured Guthro alongside rap superstar Waka Flocka Flame). And Breagh MacKinnon is a jazz-schooled chanteuse whose 2012 album, Where the Days Went, was nominated for an ECMA Award; she has since lent her voice to recordings by East Coast pop icons David Myles and Ria Mae.

Port Cities is a collaboration six years in the making. The trio first crossed paths in 2011 at a songwriter’s workshop hosted by Gordie Sampson, the Nova Scotia native who has become one of the most in-demand writers and producers in Nashville (his roster of past collaborators—Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Florida Georgia Line among them—could fill up an entire Grammys telecast). That initial meeting would eventually lead to triple-bill tour in 2014 that, MacKinnon recalls, “was originally supposed to be a songwriter’s circle, but by the end, it had more of a band feel than three musicians performing separately. It was just magic when we sang together. Shortly after that, we started throwing around the idea of making it official and starting a band.”

After building a fervent fanbase in Eastern Canada through steady gigging over the past two years, the trio laid down the bed tracks for their debut album in Nashville, tapping into Sampson’s deep Rolodex of ace session players. But then they took the recordings back home and “just messed with things,” Guthro explains. “We’d do these big weird group vocals, create and experiment with sounds—and through that, we landed on a vibe that’s consistent across this whole record.”

The result is a perfect balance of Nashville and Nova Scotia, of the rustic and atmospheric, of indie intimacy and the sort of arena-pop anthems that betray Port Cities’ globe-trotting ambitions; the fall of 2016 saw the band set out on their maiden cross-Canada and European voyages. It’s a record that draws on Port Cities’ collective songwriting expertise, but also reveals the dark emotional undercurrents lurking beneath the heavenly harmonies and heart-racing stomp of “Back to the Bottom”, or the intimations of infidelity tucked into the relaxed country-rock lilt of “On the Nights You Stay Home.” Even on the album’s most ebullient tracks, nothing is as it seems on the surface: the gentle Afro-pop groove of “How to Lose You” coaxes the tension out of a love song that’s consumed with the possibility of loneliness; “The Out” is a disco-kissed break-up song perfect for dancing on your own.

As Stone explains, “One thing we all seem to connect with lyrically is showing a less-than-perfect idea of love, and not being scared to talk about how everything is not great, or call out a lot of what normal, traditional love songs would be about.”

The album closes with the desolate ambient ballad “Astronaut,” a song that invokes outer-space imagery only to send us crashing back down to Earth, contrasting childhood dreams of interstellar exploration with the harsh, hopeless realities of navigating adult life. It’s a fitting finale for an album that’s nestled in the liminal space between familiar and foreign, pairing sounds that comfort with lyrics that confront. Because that’s the thing about living in a port city: the place you call home is also a gateway into the great unknown—and, at any moment, that scenic, open-water vista can give way to crashing waves and fierce undertows.

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July 29th, 2017
George's Island Tall Ships Concert
Halifax, NS
Port Cities - Tall Ships Festival
11:00 AM
Joel Plaskett Emergency & Port Cities Rock Georges Island
Port Cities: 12:30 pm - Joel Plaskett: 1:30 pm
Buy Tickets
August 4th, 2017
The Old Confidence Lodge Studio & Stage
Riverport, NS
8:00 PM
August 5th, 2017
The Big Fiddle/Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion
Sydney, NS
Port Cities Full Band - Tall Ships
7:00 PM
August 10th, 2017
The Forks Festival Site
Winnipeg, MB
2017 Canada Summer Games Festival
5:00 PM
August 19th, 2017
Nicholls Oval Park
Peterborough, ON
Peterborough Folk Festival
4:00 PM
August 22nd, 2017
Exhibition Place/Bandshell Park
Toronto, ON
Port Cities Support to Colin James
7:30 PM
Main Stage
September 3rd, 2017
St. Mary's Church
Indian River, PEI
Port Cities Trio with Tomato Tomato
3:00 PM
Buy Tickets
September 9th, 2017
Scotiabank Centre
Halifax, NS
Port Cities Supporting K.D. Lang's “Ingénue Redux” Canadian Tour
7:30 PM
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October 13th, 2017
Legacy Centre
Slave Lake, AB
7:00 PM
October 14th, 2017
Alumni Hall Theatre (Lakeland College)
Vermilion, AB
8:00 PM
October 20th, 2017
Bert Church Theatre
Airdrie, Alberta
7:30 PM
All ages show
Buy Tickets
October 25th, 2017
Daysland Palace Theatre
Daysland, AB
DaysArts Concert Series
7:30 PM
More info @
Buy Tickets
January 19th, 2018
Capitol Theatre
Moncton, New Brunswick
8:00 PM
Buy Tickets





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