Saturday, April 20, 2013
Calgary Folk Club April 19, 2013
Calgary Folk Club
04 19 13
with Joe Nolan
"Reviews Before Noon": Calgary Folk Club
April 19, 2013 (Season Finale)
Pear, with Joe Nolan
What a way to wrap the Calgary Folk Club's 41st season - which for me featured two highly acclaimed artists I had yet to see perform live. For fans of the club, it was a chance to revisit members of their former house band that now make up the compact nucleus of Pear.
To say Lynae and Denis Dufresne are popular with fans is such an understatement. Since receiving the good fortune to attend and review these shows, I've never had such responses to my live tweets. I picked up several new followers, and many of my comments were re-tweeted hastily as the show sadly drew towards a conclusion. The fans of Pear are numerous, and dedicated!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Opener Joe Nolan was another fast favourite, with his intense but gentle stage presence and songs...
It's funny, during his first few songs, I was trying to pin down his influences. He does look a little bit like a young Tom Waits, and his vocal stylings are a little similar (if Tom ever had that gruff, raspy throat problem of his looked at).
Then, lo and behold, Mr. Nolan covered Waits' "Cold Water". Just one of several "could-have-heard-a-pin-drop" moments in his set.
To be fair, Joe has more in common in his songwriting with classic passionate Bruce Cockburn efforts - insightful and effective in conveying what he wants to say. His opening number (a new song - have to wait for the upcoming new album...) "Bleeding" was a perfect example, as was "Shambles". He knows his way up and down the fretboard of his guitar, has a great voice, and I think will quickly become a songwriter to be reckoned with, like fellow Canuck Ron Sexsmith.
I see in his cd's liner notes that he worked on his first release with veteran Canadian roots artist and producer Colin Linden, and his upcoming album features Marco Giovanni, the drummer for Robert Plant's band House of Joy and also with Robert's project with bluegrass star Alison Krauss. That collaboration worked pretty well for Plant and Krauss, here's hoping Joe gleans some magic as well...
Click here for a link to Joe Nolan's website.
Headliners Pear were warmly welcomed, especially once they kicked into unofficial club anthem "Wild Rover"
"Never Looking Back" had a Rankin Family feel, but the rich harmonies between Lynae and Denis are all their own - shimmering, synchronized and soaring. The success they are enjoying is clearly well-deserved...
During a killer cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", I tweeted out a comment about how "finger-pickin' good" it was. The two are award-winning instrumentalists as well as being talented singers. Backed up last night by another award-winner (drummer Craig Bignell on guitar, banjo and a bongo on steroids), this evening was just a showcase of original music in the first set, and some nifty covers in the second.
The covers were something else - among them a mash-up of The Beatles "Ob La Di Ob La Da" with Psy's "Gangnam Style". With fiddles.
Segments of others, like Simon & Garfunkle's "Sounds Of Silence", and a rendition of the late Patti Page's iconic "Tennessee Waltz" that would have been right at home on an Alison Krauss album.
Above all that as a highlight for me was a dual fiddle mash-up of "Eleanor Rigby" and "Smooth Criminal". Commit that performance to disc, people!!!!
How much do fans love Pear? There is a legend among the organizers of The Calgary Folk Club of a 10:30 PM Exodus, no slight to the artists, but a habit of patrons sneaking out after the first headlining set.
Close to midnight last night when this show finally wrapped up, it was still a full house, with a couple of standing ovations indicating nobody wanted to go home anytime soon. I suspect Pear will be returning in the not-so-distant future, when plans are in the works for upcoming seasons...
Find out more if you're one of the few that hasn't heard of Pear by clicking here.
You can find out more about the similarly talented Craig Bignell by clicking on his highlighted name.
Season 42 is pretty much firmed up for the Calgary Folk Club. Visit their website, and pick up your season tickets - it is an experience every time the doors are opened.
A special thanks to the board, including Suze Casey and General Manager Donna McTaggart for allowing me to review the shows. It has been eye-opening for this long-time music fan...