It’s that time of year, where music festivals are releasing their lineups and this year’s Canadian Music Week is one of the best collection of artists in a while. It is hard to believe that in less than a month, there are going to be hundreds of bands taking over Toronto in every bar, club and concert hall. In our first installment of who you should check out, I am going to be looking at the local, national and international folk performers that are going to be bringing sweet mellow songs to your ears this CMW.
Birds of Bellwoods – Toronto, Ontario
Americana-folk gets a reboot with this quartet, made up of Stevie Joffe (Mandolin/Lead Vocals), Adrian Morningstar (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Blades (Banjo/Vocals), and Kintaro Akiyama (Upright Bass/Vocals). Their harmonizing is fantastic and compliments Steve’s voice, which has a very distinct rasp and large range that is a surprise the first time you hear it.
Check them out on May 8th at Burdock Music Hall.
The Lifers – Guelph, Ontario
Sister duo the Lifers have a quality to their performance which makes the listener feel like they are close friends with Liv and Anita Cazzola. Each sister has a distinct voice, but when together, the results are breathtaking when accompanied by their wide range of instrumentation, including acoustic guitar, glockenspiel and accordian.
Chill with The Lifers on May 7th at The Cave
Elliot Maginot – Montreal, Quebec
I had the opportunity to see Elliot perform in February at Lee’s Palace with Sun-K and Cairo, and was very pleased that I went early to catch his set. He has a strength to his voice that only comes out occasionally, but is well worth the wait. His guitar skills are amazing and the range of music he performs, from singer-songwriter to alternative, is great.
Check him out on May 6th at the Burdock
Towers and Trees – Victoria, British Columbia
A rowdy folk-rock band from the West Coast, Towers and Trees has taken over the Canadian radio waves by storm the past few years. Led by Adrian Chalifour, this band has a lightness and happy-go-lucky to their sound that makes it very hard not to be in a good mood when you’re listening to them. With an LP, titled The West Coast, planned for release later this year, Towers and Trees are going on a Canada-wide tour this April and May.
Don’t miss their energetic performance at The Cameron House Back Room on May 7th.
Dan Bettridge – Ogmore-by-Sea, Wales
One of only two acts from Wales on the CMW lineup, Dan Bettridge brings with him a unique, timeless voice that matches the lyrical content, but does not match his age; he is 21. You get the reminiscent feeling of early Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Cat Stevens, who are his musical idols.
Make sure to check his set out at The Cadillac Lounge on May 7th
Pierce Brothers – Melbourne, Australia
Australia’s folk scene has a large representation this year through many different acts, including twin brothers Jack and Pat Pierce, who bring a folk-pop that embodies the laid-back lifestyle a lot of people relate to Australia. With rolling drums, acoustic guitar and some traditional Aussie instruments like the didgeridoo, Pierce Brothers have a growing fan base throughout Australia and Europe, and are bringing their lively performance to CMW. Date and location of their set(s) have not been finalized. Keep a look on them, because they are going to be huge.
These are just a few folk artists that caught my eyes and ears. Check out the whole line-up at http://cmw.net/music/artists/ and check back here next week for a preview of the indie rock artists that everyone will be talking about at CMW.
Until next time, Pierce