I have received my work schedule for my volunteer stint in the record tent, and it is pretty sweet. I am able to put in 6 of the 16 hours before the festival even begins which leaves me with more time to take in the concerts and - my personal favourites - the workshops. There is nothing quite like sitting in the dappled shade on a hot summer afternoon, luxuriating in the comfort of that festival chair that you so cleverly purchased last year, and absorbing the sounds and the sights of an often very diverse mix of musicians coming together onstage to make music as it's never been heard before and never will again.
And to celebrate the impending arrival of these magical days, I would like to periodically offer up a look at some of the 60+ musicians who will be gracing the stages of Prince's Island Park this summer. And not just the big names either, but some of the up and comers and some of the ones that I have been struck by while checking out their music in preparation for my record tent gig.
I'd like to start off this series with a Calgary band, who are making steadily increasing waves with their dark and dreamy atmospheric sound. Listening to these beautifully building songs (and you know that I am a sucker for a song that builds), I am reminded at times of the vocal qualities of the Twilight Singers with perhaps a touch of Wayne Coyne at 4:00am, while the musicality of the songs is a trifle reminiscent of Hylozoists in the way the melodies climb to a crescendo. But none of these comparisons are really that apt, ultimately, as this band definitely has their own unique sound. And hey, they are on Flemish Eye Records, the same record label as everybody's homeboy, and local wunderkind, Chad VanGaalen.
-and the name of this band -
The Cape May.
And now I'm going to let Ian Russell of Flemish Eye Records tell you more about the Cape May:.
About the band:
In 2005, The Cape May released their debut album Central City May Rise Again, which brought them attention across Canada. That year they won the Calgary Folk Fest songwriter competition, winning a spot on stage at the festival. They followed up with Glass Mountain Roads; recorded by acclaimed engineer Steve Albini (Smog, Low, Pixies) and layered with strings, keys, Theremin and accordion, the album breathes with Albini’s trademark earthy approach..
In fall 2006 they were invited on tour with celebrated New York songstress Nina Nastasia, performing both as opener and as her backing band across the United States & Europe, playing to sold out crowds and building a fanbase across Europe on CODA's "Twisted Folk" tour. They have shared the stage with Grizzly Bear, The Weakerthans, Chad VanGaalen, Magnolia Electric Co, The Constantines & Jeffery Lewis, recorded a March 2007 CBC Session and played a showcase at SXSW 2007..
Glass Mountain Roads comes out in the US in August of this year. The band has been busy recording a follow-up - a record combining their mighty talents with that of Victoria, BC's Run Chico Run, recorded and written over the course of two weeks in the studio. The band will be on tour in the US and Canada in the fall..
The Cape May have played across Canada, the US and Europe in support of Nina Nastasia, and this month will share the stage with more acclaimed indie musicians at this year's Calgary Folk Festival - including a workshop with 2006 Polaris Prize Winner Final Fantasy and Eleni Mandell, which should be pretty incredible..
In addition to their multiple workshop shows and Sunday afternoon concert, frontman and principal songwriter Clinton St. John will be playing a couple of songs before The Sadies on the Main Stage! Bring your lawn chairs & binoculars early for that one. See the full Cape May schedule below..
Clinton St. John
Thurs 6:15 – 6:25 pm @ Main Stage
( before The Sadies ).
Sat 3:35 – 4:35 pm @ Conoco Stage 2
with: Final Fantasy & Eleni Mandell.
“Long Story Short” session
Sun 11:25 am – 12:30 pm @ Conoco Stage 2
with: Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, William Eliott Whitmore & Brett Dennen.
“Talkin’ Bout…” session
Sun 12:50 – 1:55 pm @ Mercury Stage 4
with: Sadies, PF Sloan, Oh Susanna.
Sun 3:25 – 4:05 pm @ Sunterra Stage 5
Acclaim for Glass Mountain Roads
"people who take the time will not be disappointed ... (Glass Mountain Roads) is a band realizing it’s true musical might."
-Sound The Sirens
"the Cape May could be not just Calgary's next big thing, but Canada's as well."
- NOW Magazine.
"Filled with haunting arrangements and songs so epic they border on the mythological, Glass Mountain Roads is gorgeous in its stark simplicity."
- Jason Lewis, FFWD
"Glass Mountain Roads demonstrates the skills of a beautifully entangled group of musicians, with thoughtful vocal melodies floating about over carefully constructed polyrhythmic post-rock jams (mix a dash of Bonnie Prince with the moodier side of Pinback and you're kind of in the ballpark)."
- Neil Havert, VIEW Magazine.
"Glass Mountain Roads" is the type of album that you just can't seem to take out of your CD player. ... listen to it under headphones from beginning to end you will not be disappointed."
- Paul Borchert, MOTE Magazine
"Channelling angst, sensitivity and artistic acumen into their latest record, Calgary's the Cape May are sure-footed on Glass Mountain Roads."
- Vish Khann of Exclaim!.
"an energetic and evocative experience which leaves the listener level to the clouds."
- Marc Boudigno of Chart Magazine.
"This band's peculiar, unorthodox progressive pop flows like ocean waves...constantly evolving and reinventing itself in the process."
"Glass Mountain Roads is a dark and ethereal unsettling dream. Too beautiful to be a nightmare, but too sinister to be a 'fantasy.'”
Ian Russell, Flemish Eye Records