Plumtree (band)

Plumtree (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Plumtree

Img_capt =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Genre = Indie, Pop
Years_active = 1993 - 2000
Label = Cinnamon Toast Records Endearing Records
Current_members = Lynette Gillis Carla Gillis Amanda Braden Catriona Sturton
Past_members = Nina Martin

Plumtree were a Canadian all-girl indie pop band.


The band formed in their hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1993 after meeting through their music teachers. The original line-up included Lynette Gillis (aged 14) on drums, Carla Gillis (17) on guitar and vocals, Amanda Braden (15) on guitar and vocals and Nina Martin (16) on bass and occasional vocals.

When Carla and Lynette were 10 or 11 years old they discovered heavy metal music and asked their parents to buy them musical instruments. Carla got a guitar and Lynette a set of drums. They took lessons and played at home until 1993 when they decided to find others to form a band. Their first band played their Junior High School talent show with a setlist made up mostly of Jimi Hendrix and Iron Maiden covers. This original group subsequently broke up, because they never played any other shows. Amanda and Nina joined the band soon after, and the band quickly developed a highly collaborative songwriting method which combined catchy melodies, a serious approach to writing music and solid instrumentation. Plumtree played their first show at Halifax's all-ages Cafe Ole in June 1993.

Plumtree established themselves as one of the more original young bands in Canada after releasing a song, "Follow You", on the "No Class" cassette, a compilation featuring Nova Scotia high school bands. This earned them opening slots for Jale, Thrush Hermit, Velocity Girl and the Spinanes. Cinnamon Toast Records released Plumtree's first seven-inch, "Green Mittens", in 1994. It featured the songs "Dog Gone Crazy" and "Have a Banana", plus two songs from Prince Edward Island's Strawberry on the other side. Shortly after, Plumtree released a six-song cassette entitled "Flutterboard".

In 1995, Plumtree recorded their first full-length album, "Mass Teen Fainting", at Sound of One Hand Studios in Ottawa, with Paul Hogan. The CD was a college radio hit and this, along with extensive touring and a toboggan-based video for the song, "Tropical", gained Plumtree a dedicated Canadian fanbase. Despite their newfound popularity, Nina Martin left the band in September 1995 to pursue undergraduate work at McGill University. She was replaced by Ottawa native Catriona Sturton in 1996.

Plumtree's second album, "Predicts the Future", was recorded in 1997 with Laurence Currie at Idea of East studios in Halifax. Released in 1998, the CD propelled Plumtree onto the covers of weekly magazines, including Canada's music monthly, "Exclaim!", as well as to the #1 spot on the national college radio chart, Earshot. Videos for the singles "Scott Pilgrim", "Go", and "You Just Don't Exist" received regular airplay on MuchMusic. ("Scott Pilgrim" went on to inspire the popular graphic novel series, "Scott Pilgrim", by Bryan Lee O'Malley).

During these early years, Plumtree released numerous songs on vinyl and CD compilations, including "Water Had Leaked into My Suit" (Cinnamon Toast), "You're a Superlady" (Corduroy), "Secret Songs" (Korova Cafe) and "Syrup and Gasoline" (Grenadine). An earlier version of "Scott Pilgrim" can also be found on a split seven-inch Plumtree released with The Inbreds on the PF label.

The band toured extensively throughout its seven-year career, hitting the road with Montreal's The Local Rabbits, Halifax bands Thrush Hermit, The Inbreds and Superfriendz, Moncton's Julie Doiron (formerly of Eric's Trip) and Winnipeg's The Weakerthans and Duotang. Plumtree could only tour during the summer months as they attended university during the school months.

In 1999, Plumtree spent the summer in Toronto recording "This Day Won't Last at All" with Justin Deneau at Electromagnetic Studios. It was released in 2000 by Winnipeg-based Endearing Records. A Cindy Sherman-inspired video for the song, "Regret", received airplay on MuchMusic.


In spring 2000, the band toured across Canada and down the West Coast States with Vancouver's Salteens. But graduate degrees beckoned and Plumtree decided to end their seven-year run in July 2000, their final show taking place on July 31 at the Marquee Club in their hometown of Halifax.


Lynette and Carla Gillis currently live in Vancouver, where they perform in the trio [ Bontempi] , with Geoff Miller. Carla also writes under her solo moniker, [ Carla Gillis] . Amanda Braden is pursuing a PhD in Boston. [ Catriona Sturton] , lives in Ottawa, teaches harmonica, and studies education in Kingston, Ontario. Nina Martin is a professor of geography at UNC - Chapel Hill.


In 1996, Plumtree was awarded Best Canadian Band Under Twenty at the YTV Achievement Awards. They performed "Tropical" during the nationally-broadcast show.

"Predicts the Future" was nominated for an East Coast Music Award in the Alternative rock category. It lost to Superfriendz' "Slide Show".

External links

*amg | id = 11:xcem97b0krjt | label = Plumtree
* [ Buy the Plumtree albums]
* [ Stained Pages interview]
* [ "Mote" magazine interview]

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