Soft March is a 4-piece folk-rock band from Edmonton, Alberta.
Although ‘Farewell Party’ is an odd title for a debut album, it sums up the emotions within Soft March’s songs. “These are happy songs about sad things,” says Joel Kleine, bass player and co-writer along with vocalist/guitarist Paul Jensen. “A farewell party is that celebration of something changing, not necessarily good or welcome, but a way to deal with those changes.” For Kleine, those unwelcome changes involve the ever increasing difficulties associated with a diagnosis of Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare genetic neuromuscular disease, which has left him confined to a wheelchair, but has not deterred him from creating music.
The songs focus on the sadness of departure, but are often delivered through upbeat, hook-laden tunes. The dynamics range from the quiet and lonesome title track to the singalong rock of “Ain’t Happy” and “Nowhere Else But Here”. Throughout the album, the usual folk-rock ingredients of vocals, guitar, bass and drums are sprinkled with violin, accordion and glockenspiel.
Soft March started as a songwriting partnership between Kleine and Jensen. In 2013, they penned their first tune, “QEII” for ATB’s All Alberta Songwriting contest. The song was chosen by a jury as a finalist from more than 130 entries. Kleine and Jensen continued writing songs and began performing as a folk duo in 2016. They met drummer Tanner Onciul at an open mic and the heart of Soft March was formed. Along with multi-instrumentalist Rachel Gleddie, the harmonies and arrangements evolve from song to song. Since forming in summer 2016, they’ve had the honour of opening for touring acts such as Skydiggers, The Wilderness of Manitoba, Jon and Roy and Australia’s Daniel Champagne.
‘Farewell Party’ was released November 2017 on CD and digitally worldwide through iTunes, Google Play, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Spotify and more. Since the release, the album has had significant radio play, earning high spots on local and national radio charts.