Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω
More and more these days a trip home isn’t quite complete until I sit myself down in a narrow, rustic, dimly-lit bar to let the sounds of some of Ontario’s finest folk musicians wash over me. On my trip home for the holiday season I was treated to Dear Sister, a Toronto-based trio. Upon taking the stage, lead vocalists Bri Salmena and Raven Shields quickly welcomed me home, blanketing the audience with heart-warming harmonies paired perfectly with the golden hue of the house lighting.
From the live performance to the record, Dear Sister made some notable changes. Most prominently, the swapping of a banjo for a full-throttled Telecaster electric guitar in the very capable hands of Aaron Comeau transformed the live performance to a rowdy happening compared to the easy-listening album.
For me the highlight of the album was also the highlight of the live performance. Dear Sister played “Hallelujah,” the closing track on the album, as a mid-set slowdown. Interestingly, the album version of “Hallelujah” is a recording of a live performance.
Front to back, Dear Sister’s self-titled album is a smooth listen fans of Kathleen Edwards and Feist would enjoy.
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω
One might not connect the worlds of punk/metal and traditional country, but Corb Lund has done that. While he may have started off as part of the Smalls, a group which formed in 1989 and toured until 2001, he’s mellowed over the past decade. The Smalls was actually banned from Kamloops for a while due to the ruckus they caused.
Now he’s gone back to his roots. Originally from near Taber, Alta., he’s becoming one of the biggest names in music for fans of the more traditional country music, akin to Hank Williams or Willie Nelson. He works with a regular band, sometimes called the Corb Lund Band or Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans.
While the Smalls did well, it’s Lund’s roots work that has garnered him a long list of critical claim in Canada and the U.S. He started it while still with the Smalls, his first release of this style was back in 1995. In more recent years he’s produced more material and received Juno awards, French Association of Country Music awards, Canadian Country Music Association awards and many more, including awards from Australia and the U.S.
Check out “Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier” for an example of his work.