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Drew Birston


Hello , my name is Drew and I am a bassist and composer living in Toronto,Canada and I am releasing my debut album,Orca Songs this year,2016 !

Portage and Main

 Born in Winnipeg , MB , Canada  , music was in the cards from a very early age . My father Carl would serenade his wife Lillian  with stride piano and songs like "Sentimental Journey" and "Yellow Bird" were staples in his repertoire and were always crowd pleasers . With big  brothers Paul,Craig,Harold and sister Carla , the turntable was always spinning ; everything from Beethoven to Carol King to The Talking Heads and Stevie Wonder.Their musical tastes had a huge influence on me . After years of band classes  , I ended up studying bassoon at University of Manitoba and playing in lots of orchestras and even a wind octet . My Dad bought me my first guitar in Calgary,AB while we were camping one year and I quickly turned to learning as many Bruce Cockburn songs as I could . I eventually gravitated towards bass and was drawn to the low end power and grace that this instrument has !

Mahoney's Beach

 Searching for more quality bass time  , I packed up a van with my good friends Mark Mariash and Rob Siwik and headed for Antigonish , NS and attended Jazz Studies at St.Francis Xavier University . It was a great year of making new friends , playing  constantly and learning from the hard swinging bass player , Skip Beckwith .

La Belle Provence 

 Montréal was the next logical stop to pursue the secrets of the masters like Ray Brown,Ron Carter and  Paul Chambers . There , I studied with the amazing Michel Donato  at McGill University and learned tons about life , singing , melody , harmony and rhythm . I met tons of great people and players there and travelled with The Big Band to perform in New Orleans , Washington,D.C. and record "Late,Late Show" with Densil Sinclair on the McGill label..

Leslie Spit

 There was an open audition in Toronto in the Now Magazine for a band called Lava Hay from Vancouver and Mark convinced me to load up my Tercel and drive from Winnipeg to play . We did the audition with another good friend Todd Lumley on keys and Sean Ashby on guitar and got the gig ! Tours and recordings with The Leslie Spit Treeo , Wild Strawberries , Melanie Doane , Sarah Slean , Hayden , Chantal Kreviazuk , Justin Hines , The Immigrants  , Sarah McCully , Lori Cullen , Kurt Swinghammer , The Supers and others followed . Maintaing a love of jazz , I also recorded and toured with good friends Kevin Barrett , Peter Smith , Melissa Boyce , Ron Davis , Steve Koven and the Worst Pop Band Ever including tours to Japan,Indonesia,China,Germany,Canada and the US . 


 I am extremely fortunate to have made so many great friendships through music in Toronto and around the world . I have had the pleasure of making many great albums with producers Brent Bodrug , Justin Abedin , Ron Lopata , George Seara , Creighton Doane , Daniel Leblanc , Stephan Moccio , Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté to name a few . I joined the group , Sultans of String with Chris and Kevin in 2007 and we are currently touring with our new CD entitled Subcontinental Drift. Through Kevin Laliberté , I also met one of my most important collaborators , my wife , Amanda Martinez ! A dream come true , she is an incredible life partner and artist and she is releasing her 3rd CD with producers Javier Limón and George Seara . It was a dream working with this team and you can look forward to it's Canadian release in Spring 2013! Now onto to some recording and playing ...enjoy the website!


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