I get hundreds of submissions to the Peterborough Folk Festival every year, and this year I’ve decided to capture my favourites in a series of posts. You can read Part 1 here.
Hereâ€™s a list of artists who I listened to who caught my positive attention for one reason or another; being included in this list doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m going to book them (tho Iâ€™m noting the ones that are shortlisted for PFF 2012), or even think theyâ€™re right for our festival, but it does mean I think theyâ€™re doing something right, whatever thatâ€™s worth.
Vandana Vishwas (Missisauga) – I can imagine lying back in the grass on a sunny August day while this music washes over me, and while I feel like it’s a bit too mellowÂ forÂ our festival, it is totally lush and lovely.
The Belle Game (Vancouver) – I feel like their sound is a bit ubiquitous right now, but they do it very well, so that’s not really a bad thing.
The Pining (Toronto) – Holy lead vocals! That voice is haunting and a bit threatening, and I really like how they use it. Regardless of how good they are, when I see their name, I always read it as ‘The Pinning,’ and for some reason that always cracks me up. Â Terrific website.
Kevin Myles Wilson (Toronto) – He’s an odd mix of almost radio-friendly country-folk and the sparse,Â broken-hearted singer-songwriter tradition that I love, and he pulls it off remarkably. Â But no website?! You’re killing me, dude.
Dinner Belles (Hamilton) – I seem to have hit a run of country-folk here, but I can’t deny that this is exactly the sort of band I’d like to be listening to while drinking in a small venue.
Three Little Birds (Ottawa) – A trio with pretty harmonies, interesting lyrics, and a nice poppy feel. Â They make it look easy to take serious subjects and make catchy, singalong songs out of them without sounding preachy, which is a miracle in itself.
Fanfarniente della Strada (Quebec City) – Even stronger than my almost-unnatural love of banjos is my love for big, bouncy, Eastern-European style bands with lots of brass and loose rhythms and skirling woodwinds. Â When done well, as it is with these guys, it will never fail to appeal to me.
Dawn and Marra (Dundas) – Am I just a massive sucker for harmonies? Maybe. Â But these women are young, and while I’m not endorsing everything they’re trying on right at the moment, I think they’ve got the potential to blend experience with talent and end up with something magical.
Don Amero (Winnipeg) – The first time I heard Don was years ago at the OCFF conference’s ‘Hey Big Ears’ session; I commented that there was too much reverb on his vocals, and that I wanted to be closer to the voice, and he piped up from a few seats away that I could get closer if I wanted. Â Since then, he’s done really well, and gotten really polished, and his website is gorgeous!
Triple Gangers (Toronto) – I kind-of wanted to hate this, initially, but as much as it is hyper-self-aware and sort-of smug, I can’t hate it. I can’t quite love it, either. But I think I like it. Good enough, yeah?
Coole & Downes (Toronto) – Clawhammer banjo and spot-on vocals. Pretty much made for a sunny afternoon stage, and pretty much made for me.
Jenn Rawling and Basho Parks (Portland, Oregon) – I like the spareness of some of the recordings, and the vocals, and the use of horns. Â There’s a wistful sweetness about them that really appeals to me, and seems tailor-made for a sit-down, listening festival. Again, no website?!