Laura Cortese (USA)8pm, SundayOctober 7th '07St. James Hall3214 West 10th Avenue
The Gruff (BC)
at Trutch St. in Kitsilano
Singer, songwriter and fiddler, Laura Cortese lights up the stage with a radiating smile, dazzling musicianship and uninhibited delight. She deftly strums, plucks and chops her fiddle behind her raw and rootsy voice. Cortese's Irish American grandmother first handed her a fiddle at the age of 4. Eight years later, she discovered folk music in what seems like an unlikely place, the bustling metropolis of her hometown San Francisco. "I found an exceptional community of singers, musicians and dancers at the Valley of the Moon Fiddle Camp," she says. "People from age 2 to 80 that just love making music together. It's strange to say, but I think that was the year I decided that music was IT."
The Gruff inspired and talented young band out of Victoria, BC challenges you to pin a label on their music. The Gruff filter numerous folk traditions through the sieve of modern experience to create a truly unique sound. From old-time to country; from bluegrass to good old rock 'n' roll; these young songwriters harmonize, sing and shout songs of joy, sorrow, and everything in between; with astounding energy and passion. With their easy, comfortable stage presence and their obvious delight in performance, The Gruff bring a smile to every audience. Their extensive experience shines through songs of love, heartache, travel, and hard work, interspersed with traditional tunes picked up over their various journeys. The Gruff's instrumental prowess is unusual in such a young group and they have traveled from coast to coast, stomping stages as far away as Halifax. They've amazed audiences from Victoria's Rootsfest to the Ottawa Folk Festival to the Hillside Festival in Guelph.