Cody Vaillant and Sweetwood Amber Remedy

By Jamie Varga

Among those most affected by our altered COVID lifestyle are artists and musicians who rely on live performances and face-to-face interactions. It has been a great pleasure to speak to some of them and get some insight as to what life as an artist looks like in a COVID world.

Cody Vaillant, a Thunder Bay ex-pat and frontman of Sweetwood Amber Remedy, released a new album, Tilt N’ Shake, in January. Not being able to get things done in any sense of a normal way, Vaillant wrote the vocals, laid down the fundamentals, and sent what he had online for collaboration. Among those who pitched in were Tyson Hiseler on bass and Mike Schlosser on drums, as well as Clem C. Clemson (White Cowbell Oklahoma), Chris “Starboy” Cunnane (Robin Black & IRS), and Scotty B Goode (F. Scott & The Nighthawks/Red Son) on guitar. Mastered by Vaillant in his apartment between night shifts, the final product is a great album with some good messages hidden behind some solid rock and roll.

Vaillant says there are ways music lovers and fans can help our artists and musicians out during these troubling times. “I think it’s important that everybody tries to support their local artists right now because we really have no venues, literally and figuratively,” he says. “We have nowhere to play, nowhere to sell our things. We can’t even rely on people walking into a record store and seeing our stuff. It’s just our existing fans that have to keep supporting our efforts so we can keep giving them good music.”

Musicians like Vaillant aren’t going anywhere, though, and will do what it takes to keep making music because they love doing it. Tilt N’ Shake is an album for those of us who appreciate straight-up rock and roll and the simplicity of life that it represents.  As Vaillant draws influence from the more nostalgic sounds of the 1970s, there should be no surprise at the pinball reference in the name and cover art. The intro track, “Tilt N’ Shake,” does an excellent job of setting the tone and the lead-out singles “All We Are,” and “Mother Lovin’ Truth” do exactly what they need to back that up. 

Tilt N’ Shake is a great escape from our mundane, COVID-riddled lives and is a testament to the fact that independent Canadian music isn’t going away any time soon.

Get into it by swinging by the Bandcamp at or any of your standard streaming services.