Monday, 8 April 2013

Maverick Festival Preview Part 1 - Canadian Artists

Over the weekend of 5th, 6th and 7th July, a select group of excellent Americana artists from either side of the 'Big Pond' will assemble once again in the rural and agricultural setting of Easton Farm Park in deepest Suffolk. The laid back ambience and wholesome feel to the event can often belie the depth of quality emanating from the makeshift stages. The mainstream music industry is invited but they come on the terms of the festival’s ideals. Many of the acts have a substance that outweighs their perceived standing but compliance is not on the agenda. So welcome to Part 1 of the 2013 Maverick Festival preview. This is the first of a trio of articles looking at some of the artists booked for this year. The structure is going to be geographical so stay tuned for the UK and the US, but first up is the 2013 Canadian contingent.

With the festival usually falling fairly near the July 1st Canada Day celebrations, artists sometimes combine their trip with the Trafalgar Square festivities. Anyhow close musical relations and a shared heritage between the two countries usually sees an abundance of summer visitors and this year is no different. So hot on the heels of last year’s attendees – Sarah McDougall, Cara Luft, Amelia Curran, Rose Cousins, Ladies of the Canyon and Corb Lund, in 2013 we have Ruth Moody, Good Lovelies, Old Man Luedecke, Leeroy Stagger and Dennis Ellsworth. Three of the artists have already been subject to features on this site and there is little doubt that this will be corrected for the other two by the end of the summer.

Ruth Moody is no stranger to these shores with both solo visits and trips with her band the Wailin Jennys. Winnipeg raised Ruth is currently on a hiatus from the Juno award winning band and this summer’s visit is a follow up to last winter’s highly successful solo tour. In fact she was the first artist to be featured on this blog when playing Warwick School and earned a favourable review The success of the those UK dates led to Ruth being invited to join the Transatlantic Sessions line up and she delighted large hall audiences up and down the country with her classically trained – folk influenced vocals. She has a brand new release to support this summer’s dates and hopefully THESE WILDER THINGS will be as good as her previous album THE GARDEN. So look out for Ruth’s other dates as well as her no doubt prestigious spot at the Maverick Festival. Recommended Track: We Can Only Listen - Ruth Moody

The Good Lovelies, from Toronto, are also blog favourites with their 2012 Ross-on-Wye show earning 4th place in the end of year gig list. The roots influenced multi instrumental harmony trio of Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore will certainly add to their growing list of admirers after this festival appearance. The band has recently returned to the road after Caroline’s family addition and they will be accompanied by a live album to give you an experience of their performing talents. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the band follow up 2011’s LET THE RAIN FALL with an offering of new original material. The Good Lovelies are playing a host of other UK dates in June and July including a terrific pre-Maverick double header with Ruth Moody in Oxford on the eve of the festival. The set by this exceptional Canadian band is one not to be missed. Recommended Track: Crabbuckit - Good Lovelies

A very recent addition to the festival line up and all the way from the north eastern extremes of Canada is Nova Scotia troubadour Old Man Luedecke. This first class singer-songwriter is in the UK for a number of dates in May before returning for the early July festival. His latest album TENDER IS THE NIGHT received a highly complimentary review from this blog in March and this Juno nominated artist is set for a lot more coverage here in 2013. Old Man (or Chris to some) raised his UK profile a little last year especially with an appearance at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival and hopefully can continue this momentum with his forthcoming visit. Festival goers will adore his catchy songs, thoughtful lyrics and excellent banjo playing. Old Man Luedecke is a worthy addition to the list of fine Canadian artists to grace the stages of Easton Farm Park. Recommended Track: Song for Ian Tyson - Old Man Luedecke

Canadian roots rocker Leeroy Stagger hails from the western province of British Columbia, a very long way from Nova Scotia! However his brand of alt-country defined music is set to woo Americana fans who like a little bit of edge to their sounds. Leeroy is a new artist to me but anybody who adds a Birmingham date to their tour schedule has got an increased chance of coming across my radar. His stock in the UK is set to rise following his signing with Clubhouse Records for the UK promotion of his forthcoming release TRUTH BE SOLD. Clubhouse will be featured more prominently in the UK review but if their taste in artists is anything to go by then we will be in for a treat with Leeroy Stagger.

The Canadian contingent for this year is concluded by prolific singer-songwriter Dennis Ellsworth. While it has to be admitted that little is known about this artist the beauty of any festival especially Maverick is the opportunity to discover and embrace new acts. The judgement of the organisers has an exemplary track record so there is little doubt that Dennis will fit in well with the surroundings of this festival.

So this year’s maple leaf contingent is another stellar line up and set to further the cause of country, roots and Americana music north of the 49th Parallel in the UK. Next up will be the US artists in May followed by the UK contribution in June. Stay tuned.

Note: These artists are listed to perform on the festival’s website as at date of publish.           

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