97 South Song Sessions Releases “Storytellers” Coffee Table Book to Celebrate Okanagan Artisan Stories
2021 Festival Dates Announced


August 18, 2020, Penticton, BC (British Columbia) – 97 South recently announced that the annual 97 South Song Sessions will be returning to Penticton, British Columbia’s stunning wine region on July 23 and 24, 2021 featuring top songwriters from Canada and the U.S. Today the festival releases a coffee table book entitled Storytellers which celebrates storytelling in all its forms, chronicling artisans with a local connection. Among them, a GRAMMY winning songwriter and music executive, winemaker, chef, photographer, Academy and Golden Globe nominated screenwriters and luthier. The book includes a feature on Okanagan Valley history, spectacular photography of the region and writing by popular music author, Martin Melhuish. The book is available via 97SouthSongSessions.com and at various businesses in Penticton/Naramata, BC. The limited-edition, deluxe softcover coffee table book will sell at a MSRP of $44.99 CAD.

Robert Ott, music industry veteran and creator of Storytellers says, “97 South Song Sessions is equally about songwriters performing their songs and the stories behind their creation. Artisans of all walks similarly tell stories through their art. We wanted to connect these artforms in the book as an illustration of how they naturally interplay in this magical area around Penticton and to encourage people to experience this Valley for themselves”.

Nestled in the picturesque Okanagan Valley, the 97 South Song Sessions festival creates the ultimate wine destination experience in partnership with this burgeoning local growing region that features some 200 wineries. The festival takes place in local venues that, pre-covid, included Bench 1775 Winery, The Dream Café, Poplar Grove Winery and Tempest Theatre. Each year 97 South Song Sessions assembles an impressive slate of songwriting talent from the Pop, Rock and Country genres. Past lineups have included songwriters who have crafted some of the greatest songs of the modern era including Grammy Award winner and Hall of Famer, Tim Nichols (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson), Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow), Gary O’ (.38 Special, Kim Carnes, Molly Hatchett), rising star Jessica Mitchell (Celine Dion, Trisha Yearwood), Grammy Nominee, Deric Ruttan (Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Blake Shelton), and Liz Rodrigues (Celine Dion, Pink, Eminem). 2021 artists will be announced soon.

Media Contact

Robin Ott (416) 804-9056

About the Authors

Robert J. Ott - Concept

In 2004, entrepreneur Robert Ott, author of the forthcoming book Mission Possible: An Entrepreneurial Journey, founded ole, which became one of the world’s biggest music companies, with nearly $1B USD in funding and operations in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, London and Nashville. ole was also the largest ever Canadian music company with verticals in publishing, record labels, MCNs, production music, av secondary rights, and film/tv music. At ole, which over time earned three GRAMMY Awards, along with many other important music industry honors from organizations like SESAC, SOCAN, BMI and ASCAP, Robert signed and purchased the catalogs of Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame rock trio Rush and songwriter/producer Timbaland (Beyonce, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake). Corporate clients included some 750 film and tv producers including Dreamworks, Sony Pictures, A&E Networks, Bell, Corus and e-One. Prior to his ole years, Robert led BMG Music Publishing Canada for seven years during which time the company was honoured with two Genies (Canadian Screen Awards) for Achievement in Music: Original Song and SESAC Music Publisher of the Year. During his time with both ole and BMG, Robert took to the podium a record 17 times, including an unprecedented 12 consecutive trips for ole, to accept the award as Music Publisher of the Year from the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). In 2015, the same organization presented him with the prestigious Leonard T. Rambeau International Award for his significant contributions to the Canadian country music industry, internationally. Robert is five-time past president of the Canadian Music Publishers Association and oversaw its emancipation from the CMRRA as a distinct organization and the formation of a new advocacy mandate for music publishers nationwide. He served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMMRA) for over a decade and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) from 2014 to 2017. Robert sold his stake in ole in 2019 and is now CEO of RJO Enterprises, a home office company that focuses on private investments and business advisory.

Martin Melhuish - Writer

Author Martin Melhuish, writer of Storytellers, has more than a dozen books on music and popular culture to his credit including authorized biographies of rock groups Supertramp and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and histories of Canadian and Celtic music. He is a former Canadian editor of Billboard magazine and has written, directed and produced biographies and documentary series’ for TV and radio networks around the world featuring artists as diverse as The Who, Shania Twain, Weird Al Yankovic, Johnny Cash, Electric Light Orchestra, Engelbert Humperdinck, Kate Bush, George Jones, The Band, The Mamas and the Papas and Jerry Lee Lewis, for which he received a Gemini (Canadian Screen Awards) nomination for writing.

About 97 South Song Sessions

97 South Song Sessions is an acoustic music performance and storytelling event where award winning, multi-genre Songwriters and Recording Artists share the stage, entertaining the audience with tales of the creative journey that inspired their hit songs, which they perform throughout the evening. The result is an intimate show that is variously touching and humorous, and certainly unforgettable. Production company, 97 South Holdings Inc, was founded by Robin Ott (President) and music industry veteran Robert Ott (Director). 97 South soft-launched the songwriters festival in Summer 2019 named after the major highway that connects the Okanagan Valley wine region in British Columbia. The 2021 festival taking place July 23 and 24 grows to 16 shows in four intimate music listening rooms. The festival line up will showcase Canadian and US songwriters from the Country and Rock genres. 97 South Song Sessions is a destination, cultural tourism experience for travelers seeking a bespoke happening not found elsewhere in the country.