If you were to write an intro for Roses before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the album?

Mike and Tianna: Roses is a collection of hand-picked songs from writers we admire that showcases our strengths as a group through a wide array of genres and influences connected to modern bluegrass. We like to think of the album as our vessel for bringing the very descriptive lyrical stories of each song to life. As artists and musicians, we create what we feel, and these songs capture our feelings and emotions.

6 Things You Don’t Know About Us:

If you weren’t a musician, what career path do you think you would have chosen?

Mike: If I couldn’t be in music, I would probably be helping people in a health care or in a charitable capacity.

Tianna: It would be visual arts or design because I’m very visually-driven. I live my life through my eyes and it affects everything I do. If something is crooked, I have to fix it!

What are the essential qualities that make a good musician?

Mike and Tianna:

Sacrifice: There are a lot of sacrifices that musicians make, starting with sacrificing other career opportunities. Beyond that, there are lifestyle sacrifices – like having a regular schedule or being financially stable because income can fluctuate. There’s also sacrificing family time because you can be away when touring.

Passion: Being passionate about music and in it for the right reasons are really important. Passion is what will keep the fire alive inside through the ups and downs of the business and push a musician through hardship.

Dedication: To succeed, musicians must put in their 10,000 hours of learning the craft and then some. In truth, they should never stop learning and should always be working to get better.

How do you cope with being away from home for long periods?

Mike and Tianna: We’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t been away from each other for long stretches of time. The longest is around 3 weeks. Now that we’re in the same group, we can plan our schedules and enjoy most of our time together, even if we aren’t at home.

What song was the most challenging for you to record for your album?

Mike and Tianna: “Pour It To Me Straight” was most challenging. Tianna was really drawn to the song and convinced the rest of the group to record it. While we all respected the song, the initial hesitation was that the range and story of the song were far outside of the bluegrass genre. After harnessing it and putting our own stamp on it, it became one of our favourite songs, and the process really set the tone for the album in terms of making songs uniquely our own.

What was the worst piece of advice someone gave you when you were starting as a musician?

Mike and Tianna: What comes to mind is hearing variations on “Well, how long do you think you can keep this up for?” or “What do you do for your real job?” – with the implication being that we should stop before even getting started because there’s no future as a musician. People assume that musicians do this for fun and can’t believe that it’s possible to do something you love and make a living from it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Mike and Tianna: Take the time to learn about and respect those who have paved the way for you to be here today. Seek out a mentor. In our case, we started at a time when there were influential Hall of Fame players to surround ourselves with and learn from. If you can surround yourself with high quality professionals, then you will always strive to be better.

Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your lives and careers?

Mike’s Picks:

Al Cherny – Back Forty Rip Off

This song by one of my all-time Canadian favourite fiddlers was written by CCMA Hall of Fame Inductee Roy Warhurst.

Ian Tyson – “Four Strong Winds”

The first song I tried to learn to sing and play guitar to. Later on, I was fortunate to perform and record with this Canadian Icon.

The Time Jumpers – “Leavin’ and Sayin’ Goodbye”

When I heard The Time Jumpers live in person, I had a literal tear run down my cheek after hearing Dawn Sears for the first time.

Kenny Hess – “My First Dream”


I heard Kenny for the first time on CKWX 1130 AM in Vancouver and when this country shuffle came on, I instantly wondered… who’s that on Fiddle? It was Rob Hajacos. Since 2003, I’ve recorded and toured with Kenny Hess.

Calvin Vollrath – “Fly in the Puddin’”

This is a world-class fiddler, composer and hero of mine. I’m proud to call him a friend and we’ve taught together at numerous fiddle camps!

Calvin Vollrath – “Mike Sanyshyn’s Reel”

I’m honoured that Calvin Vollrath composed this tune for me a few years back.

Tianna’s Picks:

Shania Twain – “What Made You Say That?”

I had the privilege of singing this song with Shania Twain in front of a sellout crowd of over 18,000 people as the winner of “Show Us Your Shania” radio contest on JR FM in Vancouver.

Queen – “A Night At The Opera”

This entire album was so vocally over the top that it shaped the way I approach singing.

Rhonda Vincent – “Missouri Moon”

When I hear anything by her, the performance is immaculate.

Dailey & Vincent – “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”

This Acapella bluegrass song is truly incredible and takes my breath away.

Flatt Lonesome “You’re the One”

I love everything about how this band delivers this Dwight Yoakam classic.

Darin & Brooke Aldridge – “No Mistakes”

“No Mistakes” moved me on both a personal and emotional level.

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