Take some time to familiarize yourself with the Alberta-based artists performing at this year's Calgary Folk Music Festival taking place July 21-24!
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Amelie Patterson The name Banff, Alberta conjures up images of beavers, elk, and majestic peaks; also, busloads of windburned skiers and awestruck tourists. It was that town, sandwiched between the stunning alpine silence and the buzz of the hospitality industry, which harboured the growth of a gritty, honest and committed troubadour called Amelie Patterson. She grew up listening to classics like Janis Joplin, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, and their influence is clear in her bluesy vocals, her folk-rock guitar and her candid, pared-down lyrics.
Braden Gates Braden Gates is a young man, which may come as a surprise to anyone who has heard his brand of classic foot stompin’, fiddle playin’, guitar pickin’ folk. It would be easy to stereotype Gates as an "old soul," but despite his love of traditional folk instrumentation and songwriting and old timey stage clothes, Gates’ sound carries a youthful feel and never feels affected or inauthentic.
Carter Felker Carter Felker Calgary, AB Calgary born Carter Felker traffics in music, yes, but even more profoundly in essence: the humdrum essence of Monday morning alarms clocks coming ͚round again during lifetimes ticking on through thoughtless dawn moments walking across the kitchen floor; the craven essence of sneaking wordlessly away from a relationship and feeling the mute screen door sag shut behind you; the essence of everyday struggles. Growing up, Felker moved around the province and started writing songs at 16. Eventually he followed romance back to Calgary. He has spoken of watching people scratch out a living in the unforgiving landscape of Grand Prairie, comparing it to the process of songwriting, which he finds agonizing and drawn out, literally scraping songs out of the terrain of his thoughts.
Corb Lund Yin and yang; tin and twang. Vignettes both rural and urban, innocent and experienced — these dichotomies define Corb Lund’s career. His chronicles of bootleggers, horse soldiers, and range riders shake dust from historical moments, while images of tattooed-goth girls, interprovincial breakups, and cheeky washed-up rock stars are comfortably modern. The musical styles which accompany these songs grow wider and wilder with each album.
The Dudes The thing to keep in mind with The Dudes is that they're more than the sum of their ample swagger. Behind the big riffs and bigger beards, these are some seriously smooth operators. Let lead Dude Danny Vacon croon a couple choruses and you'll be falling for his bad-boy-poet schtick hook, line and sinker. Let bassist Brock Geiger join him on the high harmony, and the swooning might never stop. You might think you're a steadfast folkie, immune to the lure of rock and roll, but by the song's end, chances are you'll be be pumping your fist with the best of them.
Evan Freeman We all cringe at what ambition sounds like when it fails. But what about when it succeeds? It sounds like Evan Freeman’s startling, out-of-nowhere debut, Luna. This Calgary native has never been afraid to dream, and dream big. Luna, two years in the making, is a sonic testament to going hard or going home. It’s staggeringly lush, juicy and complex, and outrageously ambitious. Freeman is fascinated by art as transformative power –the luna moth’s journey from lowly worm to otherworldly night-visitor as a metaphor for the struggle to become fully human.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald For Calgary singer-songwriter/local treasure Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, there isno such thing as a small show. His gigs are events, and the bigger the better. They can involve strings, horns and more musicians than should be squeezed on a stage, along with dancers, artists and the occasional spin class, all unified by his pop-drenched music.
Nancy LeBerge An initial listen to even just one verse of Nancy Laberge's compositions evokes hope. Hope that songs like "I Know You’re Gone" or "Real Cold Fall" - which inhabit this side of the mountain ridge separating the valley of shaded indie music bliss from the open pastures of mainstream country radio play - will make it to the other side and improve its landscape. When a song such as "Like a Train" makes it over that ridge, it is no accident.
The Northern Beauties Though they were formed in the 2013, the music created by The Northern Beauties sounds like it exists outside the constraints of time. At moments, it evokes the present like a sunny Saturday morning, then it slips off, an ethereal trace of memory on a moonlit forest trail just off Bill Monroe’s back porch. The band was born when Todd Stewart — who, lured by mountain majesty, moved from Edmonton over a decade ago — finally listened to his wife, who yearned for the songs she heard as he sang them from the couch, not the shiny pop/rock music he kept bringing home from the studio.