Skip to content

Nova Scotia's Hillsburn ready to rock Bragg Creek

The Bragg Creek Performing Arts Society will kick off its 40th season of concerts with a Feb. 8 show featuring Nova Scotia indie rock band Hillsburn.

The five-member band is comprised of songwriter Paul Aarntzen, vocals and guitar; Jackson Fairfax-Perry, bass, keyboard and saxophone; Rosanna Burrill, vocals and violin; her brother Clayton Burrill, vocals and guitar; and Clare Macdonald, drums and percussion.

The band formed after a jam session about four years ago, according to Macdonald, who describes Hillsburn’s music as a lively blend of indie rock and alternative pop.

“They got together one day, played the songs [Aarntzen had written] and loved it so much that they decided to make a band,” said Macdonald, who joined Hillsburn after the band’s first album was released.

The group’s name is derived from Aarntzen’s hometown of Hillsburn, N.S., where the group initially formed. Despite the band’s Annapolis Valley roots, Macdonald said the five members now live in Halifax.

Promotional material compares Hillsburn’s anthemic sound to English indie rock band Florence + the Machine – a comparison Macdonald said is flattering, but suitable.

“We do have a similar…fullness and largeness in our arrangements,” she said. “[Aarntzen and the Burrills] do these three-part harmonies, which are amazing – they all have amazing voices – and it adds to the vastness of the songs, which I think is similar to something Florence + the Machine would do.”

Hillsburn has produced two full-length albums and is currently working on a third, according to Macdonald. The band’s debut record, The Battle Years, came out in early 2018, while its follow-up, The Wilder Beyond, came out in February 2019.

Macdonald said the group’s third album will move away slightly from the musical style previously featured.

“I’d say it’s maybe more of a mature sound,” she said. “We’re definitely getting away from the folk elements [of] the first few records, but it still has the same passion and heart as the other albums.”

While the band has toured in Alberta before, Macdonald said this will be Hillsburn’s first concert in Bragg Creek.

Macdonald said attendees can expect an energetic performance.

“We have a lot of fun and love what we do, and I think that comes across when we’re playing,” she said. “I’d say we’re fairly passionate, and we just love playing music and getting on stage.”

The concert kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Bragg Creek Community Centre. Tickets cost $35 ($33 for seniors) and can be purchased online at

For a sample of Hillsburn’s music, visit or the group’s YouTube channel at