It’s been 3 days since the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City wrapped. I hopped right back into reality and was back at the good ol’ day job at the YW bright and early Monday morning. I’ve been a glassy eyed zombie and I keep telling myself I’m going to be responsible and get to bed at a decent hour each night, but after four nights of being up til 4am watching and playing showcase after showcase.. I’m finding it hard to close my eyes any earlier than 1am! I’m officially a recovering folky.
This was my second Folk Alliance (I attended on a FACTOR Songwriting Grant in 2012 in Memphis), but my first official showcase and the most private showcases I’ve ever been invited to play. I was thrilled to be a part of the Alberta Room – presented by Bow Valley Music Club, the BreakOut West Room and the Folk Music Canada Room. I played in a handful of rounds with lovely fellow Albertans Lizzy Hoyt and Rebecca Lappa, as well as with Danny Oliver from Saskatchewan and Quinn Bachand’s Brishen from BC. What a treat to play with these phenomenal artists.
A few highlights (in no particular order because the days all blur together):
- My 2:30am solo set in the BreakOut West room. I was sure I would be playing to an empty room it being so late/early. I was so pleased to have a bunch of the Alberta Music reps, the SaskMusic reps, a wonderful sound man John Story, a bunch of fun folks from J.R. Shore’s band and a handful of Folk DJs and various conference goers. This was one of the bigger private showcase rooms (and one of the only amplified rooms) I got to be a part of and everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic about my music. A favorite moment was people full on dancing to “Words to Weigh”.
- Singing along with Lizzy Hoyt and having her play along on a few songs of mine throughout the weekend. Lizzy and I grew up literally 3 houses apart in Landsowne here in Edmonton. We had not seen each other for years and then reunited briefly in Memphis at my last Folk Alliance in 2012. We haven’t seen each other or even really been in touch since, but both were invited for official showcases at this year’s conference. Lizzy contacted me asking if I’d like to sing on her showcase, I asked if she’d like to join me on mine.. and then we ended up being assigned to the same rounds. I believe we played together 4 or 5 times over the span of the conference and it was a treat. And such a sweet coincidence. Thanks Lizzy!
- My 2:00pm In the Round Set with Danny Oliver and Quinn Bachand in the 2nd BreakOut West Room. This was such an eclectic group which made it so fun and contrasting. Quinn’s music is intricate gypsy jazz and full of odd meters, Danny Oliver is a beautiful soulful songwriter with impressive guitar chops, and then my bohemian mix of folk, roots and pop. We had the biggest crowd of all my showcases and everyone was so attentive and engaged in the set. Again it was an amplified room which was much appreciated after 7 shows in 3 days (I never sing this much regularly!). For those who have never heard of Quinn (I hadn’t until this conference) he is a 19 year prodigy guitar player. He’s in his 2nd year at Berkelee and basically a freak. After our set I mentioned to him he should come play at the Edmonton Folk Fest and he was like “Oh right, I played there when I was 12 in a duo with Ashley MacIsaac”. Choke. Haha obviously I had no idea of the company I was in.
NEW MUSIC FINDS:
For anyone who has attended a music conference of any kind, you’ll agree with me that it is an amazing place to check out new artists and be filled up to the brim with inspiration and excitement about music. We discovered tons of new music but my top three that I’ve been listening to since I got home are:
- Freddy & Francine We stumbled upon Lee & Bianca (their real names) accidentally while arriving early to see Kyle Ried’s band. They literally nearly blew our heads off with their HUGE beautiful strong vocals and insane chemistry. Check them out.
The Stray Birds *
In particular their song “Best Medicine” also the title track of their newest album.
- The Currys I love me some family band music! These brothers + a cousin had their official showcase right before me and were super fun and infectious.
Brent (my brother in law who was playing with me) and I are huge foodies so we also checked out some sweet local cuisine. Delicious breakfast/brunch joint called Succotash (we went twice) and an incredible bistro called Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. Basically this place blew our minds. Steak tartare, Rabbit Liver, Orchichette Pasta and Veal Sweetbreads. BOOM.
Anyways if you couldn’t already tell, we had an insanely good time in Kansas City. Thank you so much to Alberta Music, Bow Valley Music Club, Folk Music Canada, the Folk Alliance International for inviting me to showcase and FACTOR for much much appreciated funding. Here’s hoping we can make next year (with another wee babe coming along shortly) work!