Date: February 21, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm
It’s big. It’s back. It’s Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Block Heater 2020!
7:00 pm – nêhiyawak
8:35 pm – Future Standards: Carsie Blanton, Son Little, Marlaena Moore, Villages
10:25 pm – Sunglaciers
About nêhiyawak (via Block Heater)
Sweeping, like the wind blowing across the northern prairies; grand, like a solemn ceremony — the emotional indie-rock of nêhiyawak is perfectly situated in the place of its origin. It’s modern while retaining roots in music far older than rock ‘n’ roll, and 100% home-grown. Drummer Marek Tyler and guitarist-songwriter Kris Harper are cousins from the Onion Lake Cree Nation. They and bassist Matthew Cardinal are Edmonton and national indie rock scene veterans. nêhiyawak, pronounced neh-HEE-o-wuk, is the Crees’ eponym. Naming your band after your nation is a big, bold move, but they are up to the challenge. By taking a traditional approach to their process — requesting permission to play in other cities or going to a sweat lodge to inform their creative decisions — they infuse their modern, urban aesthetic with their forebearers’ deep cultural memories and traditions. The resultant resonating synth tones and edgy guitar riffs sound completely at home with the organic sounds of cedar wood noisemakers and hand drums. It’s bridge-making where culture meets chord, melody and rhythm, work so respected that they’ve recently signed to Arts & Crafts records.
About Carsie Blanton
Carsie Blanton is completely, deliciously irresistible. Witty and wicked, smart and sexual, coupling 21st century attitude with vintage fashion and rhythms to consistently provocative effect. Her vocal delivery is reminiscent of Eartha Kitt’s unrepentant ballsy mischief, transgressing boundaries in every direction and daring you to admit that you love every second of it. Blanton’s brand of playful pop, shot through with sass and attitude, comes with some pretty hefty musical bona fides. Accompanying herself on guitar or piano, Blanton has been writing and playing music since age 13, whether the influence was funk, swing dance or folk-pop, and touring more than 100 dates a year for over a decade. Blanton jams her freak flag in the ground and dares you to come and play.
About Son Little
He’s a shapeshifter and cross-genre musicologist who makes nu-soul, not neo-soul. From sparse plaintive vocals to loud foot-stomping blues, listening to Son Little is like taking a journey through the past, present and future of R&B at once. Aaron Livingston emerged on the music scene over a decade ago, providing guest vocals for Philadelphia area hip hop acts, notably the Roots (“Guns Are Drawn” from The Tipping Point). He now has two full-length releases and a new EP under his stage name, Son Little. An actual son of a preacher man, Son Little is a multi-instrumentalist who takes his vintage soul roots, blends hip hop sensibilities and pushes his sound into new territory with the help of electronic beats, digital manipulation of sounds and intricate vocal layering. But underneath the fascinating swirls of music are the core of guitar, bass and drums—rooted to the blues and soul, but not prisoner to them.
About Marlaena Moore
We’ve all worn it. The mask of someone we’re pretending to be; propping up a smiley face while inside we’re dying to gouge someone’s eyes. Marlaena Moore gives voice to that, smashing the mask, laying out actions and feelings like hanging soiled, bloodied, torn laundry on a line in the town square to let the gossips be clotheslined. It should make for some uncomfortable moments, but it doesn’t, especially because Moore’s voice is alluring suited for the task.
This kind of honesty can only be holy, draw one in, make us bask in the “ah ha” of the moment as we recognize ourselves in a mirror around a corner we didn’t expect to turn. Whether we walk with her, left by a lover, in the 24 Hour Drugstore on Christmas Eve while serenaded by feral grungy guitars, or float on a piano stream wishing with her we would be in love again, her indie spirit — take what I write or be damned! — seizes us like a good novel where the small asides capture all of us in our weakest, most screwed up moments, the ones that don’t usually end up on social media.
A burst of nostalgia for their Cape Breton home while jamming on Rankin Family songs led Halifax pop-rock act Mardeen to form a musical alter ego, Villages. Brimming with traditional reels and Irish-influenced Celtic folk, Villages sing about life in the Maritimes as they pine for their rural home from cold urban landscape of the big city.
Villages released a self-titled, eight-song debut album in the spring of 2019, and while it is full of the traditional sounds of Cape Breton, they’ve added enough of their own pop sensibilities and non-traditional instruments such as synthesizers to put a singular mark on their heritage.
Sunglaciers produce reverb-soaked, guitar-driven psychedelic pop tunes balancing propulsive post-punk rhythms with warm, dreamy vocals. Starting as a solo project of singer/guitarist Evan Resnik (who also plays in local semi-supergroup Lab Coast), they have since expanded to become a four-piece band, allowing for fully fleshed-out and layered songs that maintain their dreamy atmosphere and pop sensibilities, even at the most noisy and frenetic moments. With the release of their first full length LP Foreign Bodies last fall, Sunglaciers are ready to prove themselves to be one of Canada’s most captivating psych acts.
Find more information about the timing and lineup here.