The Small Glories
MEL LEHAN HALL AT ST. JAMES i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
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Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft and JD Edwards, a dynamic duo planted on the Canadian prairies. They are a study in contrasts; Cara, all earth mother on her 21-speed bike, environmentally friendly and wholesome, ebullient and engaging; and burly JD, in scruffy beard, ball cap, t-shirt and jean jacket, slightly intimidating (until you meet him). At first glance few would peg them for a highly creative musical partnership. Yet these two veteran singer/songwriters have teamed up and are building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances.
Luft is a Juno Award winner and co-founder of the folk trio The Wailin' Jennys. She has earned her rep as a gutsy live performer and insightfully honest songwriter, with serious skills on the guitar and clawhammer banjo. Edwards is a riveting live performer and prolific songwriter, a soulful singer blessed with one of the most versatile and powerful voices in Canada. Both are musical road warriors who have racked up many miles on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Small Glories latest release is Assiniboine & the Red, an album that celebrates the Canadian Prairies. The album title references the junction of two rivers, the Assiniboine (pronounced ‘uh-sin-uh-boin’) and the Red, in the duo’s hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and celebrates the happenstance meeting of Cara and JD. The duo’s onstage chemistry and humor complements their energetic live performances and buoyant, Americana-inflected folk songs. Luft and Edwards’ exuberant harmonies bring to mind such duos as the Civil Wars and Shovels & Rope, but with a Northern spin.
The album’s songs are all inspired by places, from “Alberta,” the opener, to "Winnipeg", a spirited celebration of their hometown. “We’re folk singers, we try to write stuff that people can relate to,” says Edwards, whose looming stage presence and penetrating eyes find him the yin to Luft’s petite, snort-laughing yang. Already known in their native Canada as well as for their performances at festivals including SXSW and AmericanaFest, the duo, both of whom write, have captured the charm and chemistry of their live shows with Assiniboine & the Red’s collection of engaging, memorable songs. NPR wrote, “Luft is a Wailin’ Jennys alum whose work on the clawhammer banjo is to die for, while Edwards’ guitar and vocal harmonies deepen and enrich the duo’s sound.”
Make no mistake; The Small Glories is no one-off flash in the pan. “We could easily continue going our own separate ways as artists and be fine,” Cara acknowledges, “but doing this together right now is far better. It’s all about being fulfilled in life and I’m very happy with this combination.
“Luft is an absolute whiz on the banjo, and Edwards, who plays guitar, has the voice of a classic old-time country singer. Together, they crank out lively stories and songs rooted in long-held tradition and realism.” - Paste
“Luft is a Wailin’ Jennys alum whose work on the clawhammer banjo is to die for, while Edwards’ guitar and vocal harmonies deepen and enrich the duo’s sound.” — NPR
“To witness a performance by The Small Glories is a rare opportunity to experience that indefinable quality that creates perfection.” — Americana UK
“They deliver a mix of visceral bluegrass vocal harmonies and skilled playing, a sound that conjures up North American prairieland.” — The Guardian
"[Luft's] amiable vocals and simplistic, lush instrumentation follow that of the long honored folk tradition with a modern twist. Lyrically [she] is like fresh linen on a Brooklyn clothesline. Her writing [is] redemptive, earthy and rooted in realism.” - No Depression
"It can’t be done, so don’t even try to turn away from the affecting insistence of Canada’s Luft who sings like an angel named Joni or Alanis..." - The Globe & Mail.
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