Concert series brings best of Canadian folk
Music: A Room Full of Sound to be held at Okotoks United Church Feb. 9
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 11:33 am
A delicious combination of Canadian folk music talent from across the prairies is on the menu this weekend at Okotoks’ A Room Full of Sound Concert Series.
The next installment of A Room Full of Sound Concert Series includes Longview couple Jim and Lynda McLennan, Calgary Juno award-winner Cara Luft and Winnipeg folk singer Amy Thiessen at the United Church Feb. 9 at 7 p.m.
Jim and Lynda don’t have far to travel and look forward to performing in the community they have lived in for the past 30 years.
Lynda, who for years taught high school music, worked with choirs, bands and directed the Big Rock Singers, is looking forward to showcasing her own talent as a singer.
“I always had my back to the audience, now I’m looking at the audience,” she said. “It’s been a fun year learning how to perform and what my voice can do. Music is something we both love to do.”
Lynda’s vocals add to Jim’s finger style guitar arrangements, which he also performs solo.
“I will be up there by myself part of the time playing instrumental finger style guitar pieces,” said Jim. “Lynda will join me with standard tunes like ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ as well as some newer things and a tune written by Dave Wilke from Turner Valley.”
Jim was a finalist for the Western Canadian Music Award last year and is currently working on his next album, following the 2011 release of “Six-String Gumbo.”
Performing in A Room Full of Sound Concert Series is an opportunity the couple is looking forward to, said Jim.
“This whole series is a great thing for the town,” he said. “It really showcases Alberta talent and people are starting to realize what an enormous pool of musical talent there is in Alberta.”
Juno award-winning folk/roots singer-songwriter Cara Luft is drawing from her third album “Darlingford” for Saturday’s performance, but with a different energy and mindset than when she wrote the album.
“When I perform these songs I don’t feel what I was feeling six months or even a year after I wrote them,” she said. “My performances are still very real and very honest regardless of whether I’m in that headspace when I first wrote certain songs.”
The songs reflect the heartbreak the Calgary-born songstress was going through at the time.
“I purposely chose to write it with other songwriters to keep me on track and call me on things because I was pretty raw when I was writing it,” she said. “I tried really hard to write the songs in a way that also offered hope. As artists we tend to write our best material when we are in the pits.”
Despite being labeled a folk singer, Luft’s music reaches out to more than just folkies.
“A lot of people like my music who don’t like folk music,” she said. “People will come up after and say we love you and we don’t even like folk music.”
Luft likes to mix things up by interpreting rock songs on the banjo and surprising her audiences with her other influences.
“I have an inner rock child and she likes to come out,” she said. “I can fit in the folk market, the Americana market and the rock world too. I can hold my own. I have a very big sound for just one person.”
Calgary folk musician Amy Thiessen brings a spiritual component to her music, developed through her love of yoga and interest in the beliefs of other cultures.
“My music has an undercurrent of this philosophy to it and I tend to go in those spaces when I sing,” she said. “I tap into those deeper places in me through self-study, practices and song.”
Thiessen, who will be joined by Russell Broom on guitar, writes about her philosophies in life.
“They are almost places of healing and places of revelation,” she said. “If I can go into that place it allows others to find it in themselves and maybe there’s a self-recognition there.”
The farm girl turned vegetarian hippie said she loves the folk genre for its ability to share stories.
“That’s why I went into the whole folk thing was the storytelling,” she said. “When a story is told really well I like that because it connects the person tangibly and there is something they can relate to.”
It also helps that people find her voice captivating.
“Vocally, one of the key comments I have since I was young is that I have a voice that tends to grab people,” she said. “I can go into a really big voice really loud and really powerful. I have a big voice for a little person.”
Tickets to see Jim and Lynda McLennan, Cara Luft and Amy Thiessen at the Okotoks United Church cost $25 at the door and $26 online at www.aroomfullofsound.com