Top Picks from Calgary Folk Music Festival

Wish I Was There

Twila: ‘The Hard Truths and Summer Breezes’ workshop featuring Kenna Burima, Jadea KellyThe Deep Dark Woods and The Lone Bellow. Number one because Kenna Burima rocked the earlier ‘Fun Time Girl Dance Party’ workshop making sure everyone was involved, and number two because I wanted to see what would happen with the diverse line-up at the workshop…Where else are you going to see a five-piece alt country band from Saskatoon, alongside a country-folk trio from Brooklyn, with two Canadian singer/songwriters (both of whom have sonic-interests beyond an acoustic strumming of the guitar) jamming on a Saturday afternoon?

Sable: The Provincial Archive concert. I only overheard a few of their songs during my afternoon nap near one of their workshop sessions, but I was lulled into a lyrical slumber by their tunes. Good news is that they’re from my hometown of Edmonton so I’m sure I can catch them locally soon.

New Discovery

Twila: Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything. Crazy fun fiddle playing and more. I had the opportunity to see these talented musicians in Winnipeg, but I never managed to make it to their workshop sessions. I’m so thankful that everything fell into alignment and I got to hear them in Calgary. They aren’t playing any show near to me in the coming months, but I have the CD and will be becoming more acquainted with their tunes that way.

Sable: Hello Moth. HM’s mastery of vocals paired with a Casio VL-1 Synthesizer to create looped textures reminiscent of an orchestra was stunning to watch live. HM plays with the grey area that distinguishes sounds between human and machine. His pieces highlight an understanding of musical construction as well delivering them within a live performance setting.

Favorite Workshop

Twila: It was almost ‘Fun Time Girl Dance Party’… so close in fact, that until I spent a few days thinking about it, I couldn’t decide. But in the end it was Sunday morning’s ‘Preachin’ to the Choir’ featuring Josh White Jr., Leyla McCalla, Martha Redbone Roots Project, and The Blue Warblers. Ending off with two full versions of ‘This Train‘ and everyone on their feet, singing along at the top of their lungs. It’s really no wonder why I’ve been drawn to the Woody Guthrie portion of my music collection. Brilliant musicians.

 

Sable: Torch and Twang. The Polyjesters have the comedic timing and friendly bossiness to be an excellent workshop host. They were great at making sure solos were all passed down the line of Artists and it was hilarious seeing them escort Little Miss Higgins off stage after her first two songs (she had to make another performance of Little Piggie the Folk Opera). No matter, because the members of the Winnipeg Five that she left behind on stage had some killer group tunes. Kenna Burima did a reprise performance of What is Love? by Haddaway which was a big hit at the Fun Time Girl Dance Party session the previous day. Jill Barber‘s old world charm was a nice compliment to the mix and her violinist, Drew Jurecka, had many an excellent violin solos.

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