2018 performers are being released one at a time – follow our Facebook page for the first look at who’s playing this year!
CHARLOTTE CORNFIELD Toronto, ON
Toronto songwriter Charlotte Cornfield has been releasing music for over 10 years, and penning verses for longer than she can remember. A clever and innovative lyricist, she exists in the same continuum as progenitors of song like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, as well as more contemporary writers such as Courtney Barnett, Angel Olsen and Will Oldham. Vocally, Cornfield stakes out her own territory; by turns a lived-in, streetwise drawl, an octave-sweeping falsetto, and a comfortably crooning alto. In 2016 she released Future Snowbird, a follow-up to 2011’s critically acclaimed Two Horses, which The Record’s Coral Andrews calls “a folk-rock tapestry so raw and vulnerable, it’s almost as though she’s a fly on the wall of her own relationship.”
COREY GULKIN Montreal, QC
Multi-instrumentalist Corey Gulkin (formerly Corinna Rose), is among the new cohort of talent emerging from the burgeoning Montreal music scene. She is best known for her experimental, dark, and intricate songwriting, as well as an off-kilter sense of rhythm and unconventional song structure. Joined by Leah Dolgoy and Sam Gleason, the eccentric trio of banjo, harp and electric guitar twists the fabric of the folk genre, with Gulkin’s warm and powerful melodies weaving stories of trauma and transformation.
CORWIN FOX Cumberland, BC
Corwin Fox is a Canadian songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has been hailed as “a shining light in Canadian roots music” by Doug Cox (artistic director, Vancouver Island Music Festival). Known as much for his studio expertise as his live show, Corwin has toured extensively across Canada, the U.S. and Australia performing his songs on banjo, guitar and ukelele. He has played venues and festivals large and small, some by himself, some with his band Morlove, and some with such luminaries as Fred Penner, Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long, Alex Cuba, Kim Barlow and Raghu Lokanathan. Corwin also has a duo with Raghu called The Chimney Swallows.
THE FRETLESS Vancouver / Toronto / Nashville
The Fretless is playing an essential part in the emerging movement mainstreaming traditional music. Starting with its debut album in 2012, the band has steadily pushed further into the public eye, winning Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Instrumental Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. In 2016, The Fretless took home a Juno™ award for Instrumental Album of The Year for its 2017 full-length release “Bird’s Nest”. Through its deconstruction and transformation of the usual rhythmic, harmonic and structured arrangements of fiddle styles around the world, The Fretless is pushing traditional music to a new place, and has now issued itself an atypical challenge in the mission to find and convert fans unfamiliar with “progressive” traditional music.
ORA COGAN BC
Ora Cogan is a unique artist who writes about everything from politics to the supernatural while inhabiting a sonic space somewhere between shoegaze, dark-wave & experimental. She has collaborated with a wide variety of artists from a gospel quartet to no-wave ensembles as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. She has released 7 albums to date and has been invited to perform at festivals around the world. Cogan recently relocated to Montreal and released her gorgeous new album, Crickets, on the label Hand Drawn Dracula. Crickets was recorded and co-produced with Tom Deis (Uni Ika Ai) in Philadelphia and features percussionist Dani Markham (TuneYards, Childish Gambino), violinist Russel Kotcher (Chamber Orchestra of NY) and vocalist Maia Friedman (Uni Ika Ai)
JUNO Award-winners for Instrumental Album of the Year in 2013, Pugs & Crows’ new album adds Marin Patenaude’s earthy, soulful voice to the band’s cinematic pacing, intricately embroidered melodicism, and gritty elegance. With evocative compositions and almost telepathic improvisations, the “rejuvenating, visceral and absolutely stunning” (CBC), Pugs & Crows features Meredith Bates violin, Cat Toren piano, Cole Schmidt guitar, Russell Scholberg bass, Ben Brown drums. In addition to this collaborative Pugs & Crows set, Marin will be playing a set of her own music, her songs described aptly by the Georgia Straight as “sinuously seductive earworms” and “bleakly heartbroken balladry”. In ADDITION to that, you might also see Pugs & Crows getting a little strange at the late night stage. Who knows.
QAWSAAN قوسان Palestine / Iraq
Qawsaan (two bows) is a contemporary string duo hailing from the Middle East featuring the violin and the cello in an approach that has never been heard before. Palestinian cellist Naseem Alatrash and Iraqi/Jordanian violinist Layth Sidiq are graduates of Berklee College of Music and have been playing together for more than 10 years! They have toured the world together, playing in orchestras and chamber ensembles and right now, as a duo. Their aim is to use the exciting combination of violin/cello and combine different styles of music, shattering stylistic stereotypes through improvisation, original compositions and arrangements.
SARAH JANE SCOUTEN Toronto, ON
Three-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee Sarah Jane Scouten is one of Canada’s most original voices in roots and country music, steeped in traditional North American music since childhood and a legacy of songwriting that swings precariously from the comedic and tragic. She draws on images of the natural world, pairing deft lyrics with evocative melodies, welcoming the listener to get lost within. Appealing equally to indie folk, classic country and hardline traditional music listeners, her third full-length album When the Bloom Falls From the Rose showcases an “agile voice, ruminative songwriting and love for classic country, indie pop, and everything in between,” according to American Songwriter.
SAM TUDOR Vancouver, BC
Tudor’s 2014 album “The Modern New Year” got tucked into the airwaves of campus radio stations across the country, quietly earning him the beginnings of a cult following for his lo-fi pop music. Soon after, Sam began playing with his now distinctive live band, featuring Tegan Wahlgren, Jasper Wrinch and Harry Tudor. Together they create warm, psychedelia tinged anthems. Their new album Quotidian Dream was the bands first real unified statement, fully displaying Sam’s poignant songwriting and the bands compelling experimental leanings. It felt like something new. The Georgia Straight calls it “a gem… with a penchant for everything left field” while Beatroute Magazine describes it as “beautifully self aware, sonically interesting, and masterful”. The live show is poignant and communal, gentle and bombastic. Sam was nominated for ‘Songwriter of the Year’ in the Western Canadian Music Awards.
More to come…