Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2018 is beginning at the end of this week and here are our picks of what we can’t wait to hear this festival.
Most Anticipated Artists
Twila: Molly Tuttle
Asking this is like asking me to pick my favourite ice cream—my answer changes every few minutes, depending on everything from the rotation of the earth to what artist CKUA just played. Being forced to decide at this very moment, I’m going to pick Molly Tuttle. She played the Uptown Folk Club’s Winterfest in 2017 and was absolutely phenomenal, so I’m looking forward to hearing her again.
Sable: Kaia Kater
A proficient banjo player and warm vocals by Kaia Kater? Yes, please. I have yet to see her play live but I am excited to hear her tunes filling up the session stages.
Most Anticipated Workshop
I have always been a fan of the Wailin’ Jennys even before I attended my first Folk Fest. I think this workshop will be packed with emotional and vocal feeling. My favourite kind of session ambiance.
I travel abroad a fair amount, and usually, that travel is solo. So when I’m a bit homesick, wishing to hear a Western Canadian accent and not to have to explain for the hundredth time (I exaggerate but not by much) where Edmonton is located I like to pull up my playlist with James Keelaghan and The Bros. Landreth on it. I’ve never heard Twin Bandit live, but their recordings make me hopeful that along with fabulous Dave Gunning & J.P. Cormier that this session is going to unbelievable.
The possibility of multiple bagpipes? Yes, please. I saw them play at EFMF years ago, and have gotten a number of messages (mostly along the lines of “OH MY GOODNESS HAVE YOU HEARD BREABACH??? YOU’LL LOVE THEM!”) from friends who have heard them play in the intervening years. Such enthusiasm from such a wide group of friends means that I’m looking forward to reaquainting myself with the sounds of Breabach this weekend.
Sable: Milk Carton Kids
I can’t wait to see this duo dressed in their dark, trim suits and singing into a shared microphones . Their dreamy vocals and agile guitar licks perfectly meld into a cohesive entity of sound. It’s the perfect music to listen to while staring up at the sky on Gallagher Hill.
See you on the hill!
Wish I Was There
Sable: The Inside the Covers sessions looked pretty interesting with two Mainstage acts, Hudson Taylor and Phosphorescent singing cover tunes in addition to Holly Williams. I love a good covers session.
Twila: Parsonsfield. What I heard of them was fantastic, and I’m loving the EP that I picked up. Hopefully I will get to see them again in the near future.
Sable: Bear’s Den. Their full voiced harmonies and poignant yet simple lyrics had a raw confidence to them that made me a big fan.
Twila: The best laid plans…you know the story. I had planned on going to Sunday’s ‘Let’s Talk About It In The Morning’ -I did research on the performers and everything. But I was waylaid by Stage 5’s ‘Hymns and Laments’ and was I ever thankful that I was drawn to this workshop full of Canadian favourites James Keelaghan, Rose Cousins, Ruth Moody and, John Mann. The integration of performances and the respect & admiration that was on the stage radiated out into the audience. The spirit of cooperation was easily heard as Cousins and Moody blended their voices beautifully. I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the place after Keelaghan sang McConnville’s or perhaps maybe the most memorable moment was the laughter and heads bobbing along in agreement when Mann sang his instructions for his wife on the event of his death “It’s not a sign, it’s just the wind…‘.
The Heroes session was my favorite with 100 Mile House, Elephant Revival, Gregory Alan Isakov, and John Mann. It was the perfect session with music that balanced the surroundings. The rain had just finished falling around 6 PM on the hill and people were drying off in the cool air at the start of the workshop. There was a beautiful moment when the sun began to peek through the clouds as 100 Mile House were singing Better, Still. Elephant Revival is always excellent in workshop sessions because of the number of instruments you can call upon for a solo. Plus, you know Bonnie can always improv a washboard percussion in any piece.
Blue Rodeo led the Hill in a sing-a-long of Ian Tyson’s ‘Four Strong Winds‘ to close out the 35th annual Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and the end of our Folk on the Road circuit. Bittersweet for sure, and I’ll be singing along to Four Strong Winds looped on repeat for the next week or so. Here are some pics from last day… ‘Our good times are all gone, and I’m bound for moving on. I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way.’