One of the best parts of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is that I never know which artist will be my favourite. While I may have some tentative choices in mind, I find I always leave the festival with a new favourite artist. One that I will continue listening to long after the festival ends. My quest for this EFMF is to discover said artist.
The Thursday night performance is always a good primer for the rest of the weekend because all the artists are in one place. The dilemma of having to split your time between two stages to expose yourself to more music does not exist. As well, there is no guilt yet when you hear comments of another amazing session from a fellow Folk Fester that, unfortunately, you missed because you were at another stage.
Tonight’s Mainstage highlighted the music of David Wax Museum, Trampled by Turtles, Corb Lund, and Amadou & Mariam. David Wax Museum provided an energetic and eclectic performance, which was fitting for their “Mexo-Americana” sound. They managed to unite the folk voice of the acoustic guitar with the percussive sound of the quijada, a traditional Mexican instrument. They provided refreshing musical offerings and displayed their generosity by offering five of their songs for free legal download.
The bluegrass group, The Trampled Turtles, played a set of rollicking tunes, each one with a tempo on the verge of becoming frenetic. They were tearing up the strings on their instruments in a consensual accelerando, transforming the outdoor amphitheater into an intimate jam session. As I predicted, Amadou & Mariam brought the hill to their feet. There was so much funky groove and soul to their entire set; I could see how inhibitions could easily be cast aside. Under the veil of darkness, each 8 x 10 tarp seemed to be transformed into a series of crinkly personal dancefloors. Yet another reason why the EFMF is magical.
However, by far my surprise artist of the evening was Corb Lund. I do not have a past history of listening to cowboy musicians but Lund changed my mind with his innate showmanship. I have never heard such variety for a cowboy-country-rock star since his tunes ranged from cowboy swing to soulful prairie love ballads. Lund also capped off his set with a classic country tune, Rye Whiskey, which was met with much agreement from Folk Festers. I know this because there were a lot of audience members with their eyes closed and their thumbs in their belt buckle swaying to the song. In addition to Lund’s performance, the audience enjoyment factor convinced me that I should consider adding a country playlist to my music rotation.
While I continue my quest for my new favourite artist this weekend, be sure to check back here at the Sound and Noise for posts and interviews throughout the weekend from myself and other writers. As well, S&N writers will be providing #efmf Twitter updates throughout the weekend so follow us for more news.