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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Calgary Folk Club, 02 14 14

The Calgary Folk Club

02 14 14

Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem
The Fretless

The "Before-Noon" Entertainment Review

Calgary Folk Club, featuring Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem
with The Fretless

The runaway, no-questions-asked "wow" moment of last night's presentation of The Calgary Folk Club had to have been the finale - Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem joined onstage by The Fretless for a  stunning collaboration on "Crossing The Bar". But so much more happened even before that point. 

Let's work our way back to that...

First off, it's important to note that last night almost didn't even happen - both acts had weather-related challenges that nearly prevented them from getting to the venue. Happily, that was not the case.

Openers The Fretless took to the stage, with a wide variety of fretless stringed instruments. 

I will admit here, I'm not terribly sophisticated when it comes to the subtle differences between a fiddle and a violin. I will say that from an uneducated layperson's perspective, if some of those instruments were NOT violins, they were awfully large fiddles...

Regardless, none of that matters - these four young musicians are quite adept on what they do play, as evidenced by winning the Instrumental Album Of The Year at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards, along with Ensemble Of The Year and Instrumental Group Of The Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.  

Not hard to make THAT connection when you see them live...

Seamlessly, they bounced around genres during their set - at moments feeling like you were in an Atlantic kitchen party, then over to a summer BBQ in The Enchanted Forest, before bringing you out to the hills of Tennessee. 

"Hewlitt's" alone was a five-star treat, along with the robust and rollicking "Lulu". 

Brought back for a well-deserved encore, they closed their part of the show with "Purple Beads".

Did I mention they have a brand-new album available? They also EACH have their own website, but you can find out all about them at their website... They were a terrific discovery.

Which brings us to Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, and closer to that closing collaboration between the two acts...

Kicking off with the lush harmonies that would dominate the evening in their "Hear Jerusalem Moan", the foursome brought together fiddle, guitar, upright bass, and the percussive leftovers of a tornado passing through a Home Depot. You have to see Scott Kessel's recycled drum kit to fully appreciate the innovation in putting that all together...

(Pictured: "bass drum")

Each of these folks sing up a storm by themselves, but the combined harmonies were something to behold. On tracks like the upbeat blues song "The East Virginia Blues", the shuffling "Miami Moon", and "Will Your House Be Blessed" (on which they were ably assisted by the warm vocals of the audience) you didn't want the songs to end. 

The camaraderie and recollections of life on the road, as well as the stories behind some of the songs were hilarious - I'm sure there will be another one added soon, given the band had to be creative to get to Calgary, then did their soundcheck during the break between sets, prior to their own performance. 

The talent is deep in this band. From unique covers of artists like Bruce Springsteen to John Thompson, and on to their own repertoire, a listener just gets entirely drawn into their offerings. I can't begin to list all the highlights to the night.

But I'll try :-)

"Heart Of The World", "I Got Oil In My Vessel", and "You Ain't Hurryin' Me" certainly stood out. But here's where we get to the last three songs, performed with The Fretless.

Collaborating once before (at my hometown of Winnipeg's enduring Folk Festival), the two bands shone on selections like  the barnburner "I Want To Be Ready When Joy Comes Back To Me". Not to mention that closing selection I mentioned way back at the start of this review - simply stunning. I wish I had recorded a little snippet of that one...

You owe it you yourself to visit their website, you won't regret discovering Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, I can assure you...

Also, check out The Calgary Folk Club, and experience the talent live for yourself!!



Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Oh boy! What a night! That last touching number left nary a dry eye in the house. Incredible! Just a delight through and through.

ThatDanGuy said...

Amazing evening!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. Just for future reference, the violin and fiddle are the same instrument! Cheers!

ThatDanGuy said...

Well, who knew?

I do, now!


Rani Arbo said...

Thanks for all the kind words! We had a BLAST, and were so happy we made it to the show. The saga didn't end there, though -- our Sunday flight from Toronto to Connecticut was cancelled for another snowstorm. So, we rented a car and drove the 8 hours. But it was ALL worth it, thanks to you & the rest of the audience. Love your photos! If you're willing to share them, send us copies at and we'll post them on our FB. Hope our paths cross again someday! All best, Rani