I often wonder about the timing of things. Whether it is meeting a certain person or a particular occurrence, ‘timing is everything’ as the saying goes.
Last summer I stayed at a lake house for a week and spent one night writing about the Folk Road Show who I had recently seen perform at Serenity Performing Arts Centre.
One year later, here I am at the same lake house reflecting on the same band (I saw Folk Road Show perform almost two weeks ago in Kelowna).
The timing of this only just occurred to me as I sat down to write in my journal tonight. I re-read the blog piece I wrote about them last summer and remembered sitting in this exact spot recalling our conversations shared and the impact those first impressions of them had on me. A year later and my affections for them have only grown.
When I read that Folk Road Show were commencing another Canadian summer tour I immediately contacted one of my editors at BeatRoute to pitch covering it and got the green light. To read that piece which was published in the August issue of BeatRoute magazine, click here: http://beatroute.ca/2016/08/15/international-collective-of-songwriters-forge-lasting-bond-at-folk-road-show/
Of course, with any writing assignment I had to leave out many details, some of which were my favourite parts of my conversation with Benjamin James Caldwell when chatting with him from his home in Australia leading up to their tour. For starters, his description of their mutual admiration for Canadian singer/songwriter David Newberry basically made my year. “He is an absolute genius,” said Benjamin. “Not a day goes by that David Newberry is not mentioned when we are on tour together.” This extends to writing songs about Newberry and also referencing Newberry’s song titles in their own song lyrics. The sharing of this solidified that these guys are my kind of people, the type who indulge in and deeply appreciate the pure brilliant lyricism of a fellow artist.
There is something so damn feel-good about this band that it’s almost hard to describe in words, which says a lot coming from me. As Benjamin shared, “we are just a bunch of musicians who really like touring and get along well” (and happen to compliment each other perfectly on stage and rip your heart out with their harmonies). But being around them the other night got me thinking about why I feel such affection towards many of the touring musicians I have met over the years.
On this night in particular, I was with my mom and sister. It was the eve of my mother’s 65th birthday and my sister and I had taken her away to spend some quality time together. That evening we hired a photographer to capture some images of the three of us at a local garden and down at the beach and then we went out to Fernando’s for some exceptional Mexican food and music. Being greeted by the hugs, smiles and stories from the band made the night incredibly special, including having a song dedicated to my mom which made her entire night.
Folk Road Show put on one hell of a performance. Seeing their growth together over the past year was thrilling, especially the addition of drummer Nick Petrowich who is hands down one of my favourite musicians on the planet. Nick takes their sound to a whole new level, every song felt like an anthem of folk music. From Dominique Fricot’s unmistakable voice that I could listen to on repeat for a lifetime, Pieter Van Vliet’s trombone solos, Olaf Caarls’ sweet harmonies and Benjamin James Caldwell’s multi-instrument showcases, each song built at just the right time and kept the audience hungry for more. It’s also worth mentioning the Dominique transformed himself for a very unique performance of R Kelly’s “Ignition” that sent the entire room into hysterics of awe-filled joy. It was ‘epic’ if there was ever a reason to use the word. Adding to the fact that the boys of Devon Coyote were in full swing in the audience, include Devon himself who crashed the stage to play tambourine for the tune “Helena.” Devon shared with me that it is his favourite track off their new album, “I just keep playing it over and over again!” he said with much enthusiasm.
More than anything else, it is the sense of connection, almost like family, that you get from the Folk Road Show, but a family that is fleeting, so you need to get in all the love you can before they’re gone. It’s a sentiment I deeply relate to, and is why I think I gravitate so strongly to many of the touring musicians I have met on the road.
I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba surrounded by extended family. 21 first cousins for starters and many aunts and uncles who provided us with endless love and a sense of belonging. It was bliss.
My mom’s closest sister moved to BC when I was 6 for the warmer climate which the doctors thought would be better for her health. We spent every summer visiting her and my cousins after they moved. When I was 10 we made the decision to move so they would have family closer to them. My aunt died just a few months after we arrived.
It was the first time I experienced what death really meant for those left behind. Since then, I have said goodbye to other family members including both sets of grandparents and another one of my mother’s sisters, all who were incredibly close to us.
Even though my family is spread out now throughout the country, when we come together for family events, the ties that bind us remain strong and we make significant connections in small amounts of time.
Folk Road Show create this same sense of family with each other and those around them. It is the shared knowledge that you only have a few hours together that drives the moments to be more meaningful, to skip the small talk and get right down to the feelings that lie just beneath the surface. There isn’t time to waste.
And isn’t that one of the greatest lessons to learn in life. It doesn’t pay to wait to tell someone you care about them, to give someone a compliment or to share a word of affirmation and encouragement. To give love is also to receive it.
Thank you Folk Road Show for providing such a beautiful evening of music and energy to share with my family. You have my heart.
Folk Road Show performed at Fernando’s Pub in Kelowna, BC on August 22, 2016 as part of their Canadian tour. They released their first studio album on August 23, 2016 through Classic Waxxx Records. Their Canadian tour concludes in early September and their European tour begins in October.