Ken Whiteley is multi-award decorated and much sought after recording producer. He has produced over 135 recording projects for numerous Blues, Country & Bluegrass, Celtic, Children’s, Folk, Gospel, R&B, Swing and World recording artists. His recording studio walls are adorned with multiple gold and platinum records from over 30 years of memorable recording sessions.
Ken’s Recording Philosophy:
- It is the artist’s recording, not the producer’s. Ken’s main job is to help you, the artist, realise your artistic vision.
- Ken tries to be involved as early possible to participate in the planning, song selection, choice of studio, musicians, scheduling, budgeting, et cetera.
- Ken does what it takes to make it all happen. Play or don’t play, lay back or give direction, be picky or accept what “feels” good. All situations are unique and it is Ken’s job to adapt and keep the big picture in mind, in an atmosphere of honesty, imagination, patience and encouragement.
- Ken will actively work with all the people involved, from significant others to music industry professionals such as the record company, mastering studios.
- Ken is organised and flexible. He will have a plan for your project and but will adapt and adjust as required.
- Ken will make your recording sound GREAT.
“I was captured by the magic of recording music at an early age and it never ceases to be a wonderful, exciting process for me and the people I work with.” Ken Whiteley
Ken’s productions have received:
- Combined sales to date of over 8 million copies
- 10 Canadian Gold & Platinum Records with Fred Penner, Raffi and Ken’s own Junior Jug Band
- 4 American Gold Records with Raffi & Klutz Press
- 2 Canadian Juno Awards
- 2 American Grammy nominations
- 22 Canadian Juno nominations
- 3 Producer of the Year nominations, Maple Blues Awards
- additional children’s recording awards including Parent’s Choice, Children’s Music Web, A.L.A. Notable Children’s Recording, Our Choice, United Way Communication Gold
- Jazz Report Blues Album of the Year Award
- Canadian Genie Award for Best Original Song in a Canadian Motion Picture
Artists produced by Ken include:
- Blues Chris Whiteley, Jackie Washington, John Hammond Jr., Amos Garrett, Sonny Fournier, Fathead, Paul Dunn, Blind John Davis, B.C. Read, Danny Marks, Paul James, Big Sugar, Jay Sewall, Aaron Griggs, Arthur Renwick
- Celtic Ian Robb, Tom Lewis, Friends of Fiddlers Green, Douglas John Cameron
- Children’s Raffi, Nancy Cassidy, Fred Penner, Al Simmons, Kathy Reid-Naiman, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Kim & Jerry Brodey, Sandy Byer, Chris McKhool, Debbie Carroll
- Country/Bluegrass Chris Whiteley & Caitlin Hanford, Don Osburn
- Folk Tom Paxton, David Parry, Grit Laskin, Penny Lang, Mose Scarlett, Linda Morrison, Eileen McGann, Paul Grady, Evalyn Parry, Eve Goldberg, Deborah Van Kleef, Steve Eulberg, Kristin Sweetland, Lake of Stew
- Gospel Youth Outreach Choir, Toronto Mass Choir, Jane Sapp, The Richardsons, Alphanso Burke
- R&B David Wall, Paradise Revue
- World Music Helder Pereir, Lenka Lichtenberg, Jani Lauzon
Scroll to the bottom of this page to view select albums produced by Ken.
Award winning recording engineer…
Since 1993, Nicolas “Nik” Tjelios has been Ken Whiteley’s left hand man as he usually sits to Ken’s left in the recording studio. Nik has earned respect in the Canadian industry of roots, blues, world and children’s music for his keen ears and astounding engineering abilities, especially in recording acoustic-oriented music. He commits himself wholeheartedly to all projects that he becomes involved in and has often given above and beyond the call of duty. A talented musician himself, Nik is adept at discussing the studio process in musical as well as technical terms. He plays mandolin with the Toronto acoustic band Jughead and assorted informal others. Nik co-produced and recorded Jenny Whiteley’s 2001 Juno award-winning debut CD, which was recorded and mixed with Ken at Casa Wroxton Studio. Nik also makes field recordings for people in all sorts of venues and locations from Ontario to Fiji and Venezuela to Val d’Or. In addition to the majority of Ken’s productions, Nik’s stellar engineering and mixing work can be heard on the following recordings:
- The Henrys – “Is This Tomorrow” (2008) * CD + 5.1 mix DVD
- Amos Garrett – “Get Way Back” (2008) * Juno nominee
- Suzie Vinnick – “Happy Here” (2008) * Juno nominee
- The Sultans of String – “Yalla Yalla!” (2008) * Juno nominee
- The Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble – “The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun vol. I & II” (2008) * Juno nominee, vol. 1
- The Sultans of String – “Luna” (2006)
- Jenny Whiteley – “Jenny Whiteley” (2001) * Juno Award
Ken’s studio offers…
- a vast microphone collection, including vintage Neumann and AKG tube mics, and numerous condensers, ribbons, modern high voltage…
- a large selection of modern and vintage outboard equipment including Neve 1073 (6) and Millennia HV-3 preamps (11), TC and Lexicon reverbs and FX, assorted tube and solid state compressors, A/D D/A converters, recording devices…
- 30 channel Neotek Elite analog mixing console
- 6′ Wurlitzer grand piano in the main recording room and Steinway ‘M’ grand piano in adjacent room
- Vibraphone, Steinway upright piano, Hammond C3 organ (basically a B3 in a larger console, designed for use in churches) and a leslie amp in ‘studio B’
Basic Studio Fees include:
- $65. per hour for rehearsing, recording, mixing or mastering; minimum 3 hours per session
- $35. per hour for additional set up or tear down, if required
- $2. per CD-R
- $100. per piano tuning
- additional equipment rental fees available upon request
- all fees are subject to HST
Ken’s Producer Fee:
- Ken’s producer fee is negotiable with Ken and is in addition to the basic studio fees
Record Labels worked with include:
A&M, Attic, Boot, Borealis Recording Company, Children’s Group, Flying Fish, Klutz Press, Merriweather Records, Oak Street, Rounder, Sony Music, Stony Plain, Silo/Alcazar, Troubadour plus many independent and artist run labels
Mastering Studios worked with include:
Select Albums Produced by Ken
Our Better Angels
Jesse Palidofsky (2021)
This is Washington, DC songwriter Jesse Palidofsky’s second recording produced by Ken Whiteley, with George Koller on bass and Gary Craig on percussion. The recording is filled with heartfelt and soulful songs including a stunningly soul-filled duet of Jesse’s updated “America the Beautiful: 2020” which features award-winning Bluegrass vocalist Claire Lynch and award-winning Blues/Gospel vocalist Lea Gilmore.
Songs: Give Thanks, Last One Standing, Three Guys Standing On Third Base, Dad, I Am An Immigrant, As The Stars Are Gently Turning, Love Is The Strand, Can’t Stop The Rain, Angels All Around, Wild Like A River, Angel Wings, Respect Your Mother, America The Beautiful.
The World of Jackie Washington
Jackie Washington (2020)Buy Now
Jackie Washington’s music was rooted in the popular quartets and swinging big bands of the 1930s and 40s. Here for the first time a 22-track album of unreleased Washington recordings spanning a twenty-year period. Along with Jackie are musical contributions from Colin Linden, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Mose Scarlett, Chris Whiteley, Graham Townsend, Reg Schwager and producer Ken Whiteley.
Along with the 22 song CD Is the DVD “I Want to Be Happy: The Jackie Washington Story”, a documentary produced and directed by Ari A. Cohen that tells the life story of this astounding, then 86-year old jazz singer, guitarist, storyteller and personality, Jackie Washington, who has a musical repertoire of nearly 1,300 songs and whose legendary lifetime spans close to a century of musical and black history. Included are rare archives, numerous live performances, emotional interviews and a road trip touring across Canada. Run time: 47:51.
Also available from Borealis Records
Njacko Backo & Kalimbas At Work (2020)
Njacko Backo‘s 12th album entitled A Tous les Enfants de la Terre with his new band Kalimbas At Work. This fabulous recording showcases the sweet sounds of kalimba (African thumb piano) and ngoni (African harp) in unique configurations you won’t hear anywhere else.
Russell Sprout (2020)
From folk to rock to country to blues or reggae or electronic or whichever you choose. Russell Sprout has so many kinds of music to suit any style. He has some silly ditties but he can also get serious and inspire!
Joe Jencks (2018)
The Forgotten is a new recording from Joe Jencks containing 14 previously unreleased songs from American Folk master – Si Kahn. The cd weaves a diverse tapestry of narrative that emerges from the lives of people who gave their all to bring new ideas of equality, justice and freedom into our consciousness. This collection of songs further celebrates those who still work for a just world in the face of racial inequity and mass violence. It speaks of courage, struggle, loss, and joyful triumph.
It’s a Beautiful Day / C’est une Belle Journe
Kathy Reid Naiman & Hannah Naiman (2018)
Parents’ Choice Award 2018
A gentle, play-along, sing-along bilingual (French and English) album of traditional and original children’s songs and poems, grounded in the tenets of early child development by Kathy Reid-Naiman, who draws listeners in with her signature warmth. The veteran children’s artist is joined on the album by her daughter, Hannah Shira Naiman, an accomplished folk musician known for her own Appalachian-style music.
Music All Around
Chris White (2018)
Ottawa Folk impresario/radio host/songwriter Chris White shares 15 clever, uplifting, kid-friendly songs with the world. These “audience-tested” gems are guaranteed to lead to smiling and singing along! Produced and engineered by the brilliant team of Ken Whiteley and Nik Tjelios, this recording showcases the talents of 35 instrumentalists and singers.
Vince Halfhide (2018)
In 1969 guitarist / singer / songwriter Vince Halfhide began playing blues and reggae with the Ottawa band Heaven’s Radio. Work with other artists (Sneezy Waters, Missy Burgess, Toasted Westerns, Ball & Chain, Andrea Karam, the Jivewires, Mighty Popo) added elements of country, folk, R&B, jazz and African music to his guitar style and established his reputation as a consummate sideman. Of late Vince’s songwriting and singing have gained a growing audience who appreciate his unique take on blues, country, folk and roots music. His lyrics, often simple on the face of things and full of nods to traditional sources, can change tone in an instant from playfully ironic to sadly beautiful. Some listeners also report being surprised by the familiar, lulled into accepting the unexpected and being moved by stark truths gently delivered.
CD release concert in Ottawa on Friday Sept. 7/18
Every Once In A While
This is Lenore Elaine’s 4th studio album and her most developed and ambitous project to date, featuring producer Ken Whiteley and a collection of Toronto’s finest musicians… Jane Bunnet, Andrew Downing, Lyle Molzan, Rob Teehan, Ben Whiteley and Felicity Williams. This is a beautiful collection of songs that you will find yourself enjoying over and over again.
Lenore will be performing the album in its entirety backed by Oshawa native Lonny Knapp (Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party, J. Englishman) with additional selections from her 25 year discography. Lenore has toured extensively in previous years, but this is her first major CD release concert in her home of Durham Region. The show will be a family affair, as Lenore’s son Nick Teehan will be opening, performing material from his upcoming release These Little Things.
CD release concert on Saturday, Sept. 22/18 at Whitby Centennial Theatre, Whitby, ON.
Afro-Métis Nation (2018)
Canadian Folk Music Awards’ Indigenous Songwriter(s) of the Year nomination 2020
The Afro-Métis Nation is George Elliott Clarke, Shelley Hamilton, Sugar Plum Croxen, Russ Kelley and Chris White. They are delving into their Black, Indigenous and Nova Scotian roots to create songs and poems that address and celebrate this largely unacknowledged aspect of Canadian history and culture.
Into The Blue
Kim Doolittle (2017)
Kim’s 9th studio album but she says she feels like it is her first! Produced by Ken Whiteley with amazing musicians gracing… Rob Quail (Jeff Healey Band), Pat Carey (Downchild Blues Band), Victor Bateman and more. A gorgeous blues CD.
Hear The Music
Fred Penner (2017)
Juno Award for Best Children’s Recording 2018
A new collection of soon to be your favourite classics. Produced by Ken Whiteley. Features lots of amazing guests: Alex Cuba, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith, Terra Lightfoot, The Good Lovelies and more.
It’s You I Like
Kari Kovick (2017)
Parents’ Choice Award 2018
Take a beautiful voice, songs that speak to the very heart of the child, world class production, some of the finest and fun-est musicians in Toronto, and add the voices of children who have been singing these songs since they were babies, and what do you get? You get one of the freshest children’s music albums to come along in a very long time!
Kari Thomas Kovick lives in the one-stoplight town of Floyd, Virginia. Since 1998, Kari has been connecting with children by sharing her favorite songs, which are both fun and affirming. This album brings them to life with fun musical arrangements that engage the imagination and offer quality musicianship to young ears. Meant to connect children to life rather than pull them away from it, these songs don’t just entertain, they affirm relationships and invite engagement with every listening. There are thirteen cover songs, and five, well-written originals for nearly an hour of enjoyable music. The title track is the beloved Fred Rogers song, that she performs well. Other highlights include a cover of Woody Guthrie’s silly “Howdjadoo,” Peter Alsop’s “My Body” done as a clapping tune, and the Smith Street Society Jazz Band’s classic “The Bear Missed The Train.” Her own songs include, the wistful “I Wish My Daddy Was Here,” the percussive “On and On,” and the meditative “Breathing and Counting,” which are all nice additions. The songs vary from the light airy “Walkin’ in the Woods,” to the rocking “When I Feel Mad,” and are all carried by Kari’s pleasant, friendly voice, and light and effective instrumentation. Eco-friendly packaging, with colorful art, round out this nice souvenir of her well received live performances.
Elon and the City of Stone
Joanna Chapman-Smith (2016)
It’s a timeless story of a boy living in a great City of Stone, woven in between 12 original songs based on folk tales from around the world. Joanna’s beautiful voice and intriguing storytelling is gorgeously complimented with music by arranger/composer David Stone on piano and yours truly on multiple strings.
KidsSongs: Jim Along Jo
Nancy Cassidy (2015)
A reunion of sorts for Nancy Cassidy and producer Ken Whiteley. It’s been decades since the hugely successful KidsSongs recordings in the 1990’s, which earned Gold Record status, having entered the households of more than 2,000,000 families. Here Nancy performs both solo and with a band. Her music is described as having “a spiritual quality, which moves families to sing along together rejoicing the rollicking rhythms of folk music.”
Baby’s Boat: The Best of
Kathy Reid Naiman (2015)
The Best of Kathy Reid-Naiman
Songs, rhymes, tickles and dances for your baby!
Since 1994 Kathy Reid-Naiman has produced 13 CDs and produced or collaborated on 7 more – 20 CDs in 20 years! To celebrate this amazing accomplishment we have chosen some of our favourite songs, rhymes, tickles, knee joggles, dances and lullabies for babies and put them together on one beautiful CD. Baby’s Boat is the cream of the crop; the eternal favourites in the ‘Tickles and Tunes’ baby classes that she has been teaching since 1986.
“Baby’s Boat”, features Kathy Reid-Naiman on vocals, and a stellar list of musicians including: Victor Bateman, Bucky Berger, William Carn, Mary Colmer, Anne Lindsay, Arnie Naiman, Hannah Naiman, Mark Mosca, Dennis Pendrith, John Showman, Wendy Solomon, Sharlene Wallace, Ben Whiteley, Chris Whiteley, and Ken Whiteley
Available from www.merriweather.ca
Crooked House Road
Crooked House Road (2015)
Crooked House Road is a Toronto-based indie-folk band. Known for soaring harmonies and raw emotional power, CHR recorded their self-titled debut CD with producer Ken and engineer Nik Tjelios.
Kathy Reid Naiman (2015)
Welcome Summer is the third recording in the seasons series. Sing the Cold Winter Away and When It’s Autumn celebrated winter and autumn and now we sing about birds, bees, butterflies, campfires and starry skies! Songs and silliness to welcome our favourite time of the year.
Kathy’s 15th recording with master producer Ken Whiteley features a host of wonderful musicians including, Arnie and Hannah Naiman, Ken, Ben and Chris Whiteley, Bucky Berger and John Showman.
Dancing Toward the Light
Jesse Palidofsky (2014)
Over the years Washington, DC songwriter Jesse Palidofsky has shared his music at the National Theatre, on the Hudson River sloop Clearwater with Pete Seeger, at festivals like Common Ground on the Hill and the Washington Folk Festival, and at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival with the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation. He has sung one-on-one with hundreds of terminally ill patients in hospices and hospitals, and also led singing for groups of a thousand people or more, performed for conferences of clinical psychologists, as well as for inmates at the Detroit House of Correction and at the maximum security prison in Salem, Oregon.
Well rewards repeated listening!
Songs of the Actuary
Sam Broverman (2014)
Songs: My Favorite Actuarial Things, Actuaries, I’m An Old Math Pro, Actuarial Blues, Let’s Estimate, Yesterday’s Statistician, I’ve Taught Some Act-Sci, Song of the Actuary
Young Folk Rock
Their first full-length CD of fifteen original songs.
When It’s Autumn
Kathy Reid Naiman (2013)
Changing leaves, Turkeys and Jack-O-Lanterns! There is a chill in the air, but warmth in our singing as we sing about Thanksgiving, Halloween, falling leaves and animals preparing for winter. Songs, rhymes and dances that are perfect for young children.
“When It’s Autumn”, features Kathy Reid-Naiman: vocals, banjo-ukulele, tenor ukulele, Ken Whiteley: Autoharp, bass harmonica, guitars – acoustic, electric, classical and National steel, jaw harp, lap steel, mandolin, organ, percussion including shakers, Srutti box tambourines, woodblocks, boit-a bois, maracas and red backed boinger, piano, snare, tenor banjo, ukulele and washtub bass, Arnie Naiman: banjo, Hannah and Jesse Naiman: harmony vocals , Ben Whiteley: double bass, Chris Whiteley: harmonica and trumpet and John Showman: fiddle
The Cigar Box Chronicles
Arthur Renwick (2012)
Arthur Renwick’s debut album, The Cigar Box Chronicles is a collection of songs addressing universal experiences taken from growing up in a First Nation’s Community in Northern British Columbia. His modern songs about Loss, Love and Liquor evoke the spirit of songwriters like Mississippi John Hurt, as well as the old time Country of Hank Williams.
Produced by Ken and engineered by Nik Tjelios, this must-have recording features Arthur on lead vocals, guitars, harmonica and jaw harp with Ken (guitars, vocals & everything else), George Koller (standup bass), Al Cross (drums), Raven Kanatakta (slide guitar on Hurtin’ Country Song) and Carlos del Junco (harmonica on I Tow The Line).
Arthur is also a talented visual artist, whose work exhibits at the Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto, and was featured in the 2008 winter issue of Canadian Art.