Tag Archives: John Wort Hannam

Review: The Small Glories & John Wort Hannam at The Arden

Songs, whether we are the performer or the audience, can help us to make sense of the world we live in. Last night a packed house at St. Albert’s Arden Theatre had perennial prairie favourites John Wort Hannam and The Small Glories (Cara Luft & JD Edwards) to help us unravel ours. When Wort Hannam described the imminent sense of home he felt when he saw the Dairy Queen in Claresholm while introducing “Good Night, Nova Scotia” I immediately was able to translate that to my own experience of cresting the Obed summit on the Yellowhead as I moved back home from a few years on the coast — I didn’t know the sight that Wort Hannam related but I certainly understood the feeling.

This deep sense of understanding permeated my experience of the evening at the Arden. When Edwards recounted introducing “Old Garage” to UK audiences including a heckler who apparently shouted that he had sheep that were older than Edwards’ garage, again I was transported to another time. A time which included me attempting to explain to my Welsh friends that back home there was a living history park (Fort Edmonton) that housed historical buildings — preserving things from the 1880s or 1920s — at which point inevitably someone would point at a building and say “oh, did you know that was built in the 11th century?”. Luft also stirred up memories when she described herself as a third generation Albertan (me too!) who got to share our beautiful province with the UK folk musician Bella Hardy a visit that resulted in the powerful “Time Wanders On“.

The evening addressed ideas of tradition and culture and was at times light and joyful, and by turns profound and dark.  Wort Hannam’s musical reaction to Edmund Metatawabin’s memoir Up Ghost River cracked open not only the devastating history of residential schools in Canada, but the repercussions of them in an individual’s life. While The Small Glories take on Sacred Harp singing with “Wondrous Traveler” embodied the American tradition’s emphasis on exuberant participation (you can typically hear a “sing” from outside the building it is being housed in) even if it did stray from the strictly vocal nature of it.

The double bill of The Small Glories and John Wort Hannam reminded me about what it meant to live in Alberta and Canada at this time, and helped to refocused my understanding of the world.

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EFMF 2016 Photo Review

Now that the tarps are packed up, and a semblance of a sleep schedule has once again been established, here are some of our favourite photos from the weekend that was the 2016 Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

 

Friday From The Hill

Friday photos from the Hill.

Folkie Picks for EFMF 2016

The hill & Main stage
The hill & Main stage

Another Edmonton Folk Music Festival has arrived and we have our picks of the festival.

Most Anticipated Artists

Sable: I have always had a soft spot for close knit vocal harmonies and that is what I hear in this trio of Staves ladies.

As well, I have enjoyed watching the folktastic rise of The East Pointers comprised of Tim Chaisson, Koady Chaisson, and Jake Charron on fiddle, banjo, and guitar respectively. Who doesn’t love a good reel and jig?

Twila: Considering that as a kid that I begged my parents for flute lessons after listening to albums by the Chieftains, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to hear Matt Molloy & John Carty with Arty McGlynn this coming weekend.

 

Most Anticipated Workshop

Sable: Influences-Saturday Stage 6 3:05-4:20 PM

Artists: Passenger, The Staves, The Tallest Man on Earth, Sarah MacDougall

There should be smooth tunes from these singer-songwriters from the UK and Sweden in this joint session. I hear the delicate hint of vocal vulnerability in these voices which I love for storytelling. Fingers crossed for some excellent melodic and harmonic collaborations that will hopefully result from this workshop.


Twila: Looking Back in Anger–Friday Stage 6 7:20–8:25 PM

Artists: John Wort Hannam and the Blue Collars, Matthew Byrne, Sarah MacDougall, The Mae Trio

Not sure about the session name – I briefly wondered if it was a reference to the David Bowie song from 1979 with the tense changed, but really why change the tense? Regardless of the session name, I am excited to see what magic this workshop cooks up. Workshops are at their best when everyone jumps in and jams together, making the whole stronger than the parts – and I’m excited to see how these musicians from all over the British Commonwealth (in case you were wondering: Hannam – Alberta/Jersey, Channel Islands; Byrne – Newfoundland; MacDougall – Yukon/Sweden; The Mae Trio – Australia) help one another tell stories with song.



 

The Return of Old Favourites

Sable: Sunday Main Stage 7-8 PM

Folk Fests are always great for new discoveries but it is always heart-warming to see old favorites return. I can’t wait to hear the soaring and emotive vocals of LP.  Her last performance at EFMF left quite an impression on me and I look forward to her Sunday mainstage time with excitement.

Twila: Saturday Stage 2 11 AM; Saturday Stage 5 4:20 PM; Sunday Stage 2 5:45 PM

Bluegrass is a MUST for Folk Fest. So the Steep Canyon Rangers return to EFMF is excellent news.

My Top 10 Musical Moments of EFMF

A lot happened over this past weekend at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (EFMF). In no particular order, here are some of my top moments of the festival:

Pics by Twila

1. One of the Avett Brothers running out into the crowd to rock out with audience members up close.

2. David Francey’s honest and humble introductions to his songs like the perspective of teenage love in “Broken Glass.”

3. The Milk Carton Kids’ blunt inter-song banter.
E.g., Joey: “Kenneth’s daughter will be named Charlie… after the song…his child doesn’t have a due date yet… or a mother.”

4. Carolina Chocolate Drops’ ability to sing attitude-filled cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit Em Up Style” before leaving the stage early to jet-set to Regina.

5. Good for Grapes put out some serious energy on stage. Never before have I seen somebody rock out on accordion like Sean MacKeigan.

6. Tim Chaisson’s instrumental flexibility as he switched from guitar to fiddle in his sets.

7. The torrential thunderstorm that brought Loreena McKennitt’s set and EFMF to an epic end.

8. Shakey Graves tempo manipulation on stage.

9. In the process of getting the audience on their feet, Langhorne Slim jumped out into the crowd. He proceeded to shake off his sunglasses and hat in the heat of the jamming moment.

10. LP’s soaring “Tokyo Sunrise” vocals during the lantern parade on Gallagher Hill.

What were some of your top moments of EFMF?