With so many options to choose from it was: 1. hard to see everything we wanted (Wish I Was There), 2. great to be surprised by discovering a new artist (New Discovery), and 3. sink into the magic of the workshop stage melting pot (Favourite Workshop). We’ve rounded up some thoughts while reflecting back on the weekend that was the 2015 Edmonton Folk Music Festival.
Wish I Was There
Twila: I abruptly abandoned some of my workshop attendance plans on Sunday afternoon due to the unrelenting fabulous weather (to quote an acquaintance I ran into earlier this week “Yeah, I was at Folk fest … I have the sunburn to prove it!”) I opted to find stages with shade. So rather than going to see the Globalization workshop on the always sunny Stage 2, I camped out in the shade and took in The Milk Carton Kids concert at Stage 3 and while I can’t regret the simultaneously hilarious and beautifully performed Milk Carton Kids concert, I do wish I had been able to see Danny Michel, Brian McNeill, Hanggai, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson navigate a workshop stage under the rather broad term of Globalization.
Sable: I wished I could have seen that pre-mainstage magic go down with Brandi Carlisle, Matt Andersen, The Wind and the Wave, and Gregory Alan Isakov. I always love it when Folk Fest is able to slot one of their headliners into a late afternoon workshop session. Plus, Andersen was slaying it in session throughout the entire weekend. He led a bluesy Stand by Me on a Sunday afternoon and I found him to be the perfect musician to toss into the workshop mix.
Twila: Helene Blum & Harald Haugaard. These musicians are so incredibly talented that it is almost unreal! Blum’s voice has an impressive clear quality and her capacity to communicate the song’s story with the audience even when singing mostly in Danish to a predominately English speaking audience is outstanding. Likewise Haugaard’s ability to interact with the audience and other musicians on stage with his fiddle is extraordinary and seemingly effortless. Combine the two and they are unstoppable – the melodies and unfamiliar words they shared this past weekend have seeped into my subconscious, taken root and have left me with a strong desire to visit Denmark as soon as possible.
Sable: Hands downs, it was Braden Gates. It was a pleasure to hear his intuitive musical playing and lyrical sentiments paired perfectly with his acoustic guitar. I feel like he’s a wise voice singing to me from a youthful form. How is it that I’ve never heard of him all this time and he’s just from Ft. Sask Alberta!?! I will be keeping him on my local musician radar.
Twila: Legacies Sunday on Stage 5. Brian McNeill, The Slocan Ramblers, Helene Blum and Harald Haugaard, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson. Magic – there are no two ways about it. The almost instant amalgamation of these four musical groups into one massive ensemble with each group taking in turn the leadership role was absolute magic. It was an intense hour and a half – and I wish it was longer.
Sable: Transatlantic Crossing with The Milk Carton Kids, I’m With Her, Eddie Berman, and I Draw Slow was the best way to finish off my workshop streak on Sunday afternoon.I loved how Kenneth and Joey were recruiting different ladies from I’m With Her to fill out the top chords in their tight-knit harmonies. The perfect collaborative voice.