Floating away ~ an evening of folk song

It’s the Port Fairy Folk Festival this weekend and I’m not there. (cue sad face)

But one of the good things about the Port Fairy Folk Festival is that some of the international — and indeed local — musicians also perform gigs in Melbourne. Yay!

A few days ago I was lucky enough to see Ruth Moody of Wailin’ Jennys fame at an intimate gig held at the Caravan Music Club in Oakleigh.

I was pretty excited to go see Ruth. I first saw the Wailin’ Jennys (a Canadian band) at Port Fairy some eight years ago and they remain one of my all-time favourite memories. And folk bands.

Three women. All multi-instrumentalists. Exquisite harmonies.

Ruth Moody is touring solo with a supporting band this time around. Her solo music is different from the Jennys’ style, but wonderfully sweet and lyrical. Ethereal. Gorgeous voice, which one can appreciate more when she sings solo. (Although I do love her as part of the Jennys.)

She was predominantly performing music from her most recent solo album, These Wilder Things. It contains all original songs, except for one: a mellow version of Dancing in the Dark. I listened to most of her performance with my eyes closed, just floating away. The band was wonderful too: double bass, guitar, slide guitar, mandolin/mandola/fiddle/viola.

Ruth Moody’s supporting act was young local group, The Mae Trio. What a revelation! Three women. All multi-instrumentalists. Exquisite harmonies.

(see a pattern here?)

I loved them. They’re young and raw and their voices blended amazingly well. Plus the arrangements and harmonies were really challenging and interesting and unpredictable. And they sing in an Australian accent. Brilliant stuff.

Unsurprisingly, they cite the Wailin’ Jennys as one of their key influences; but two of the Mae Trio at least (sisters? cousins?) also come from a line of folk musicians. It’s clearly in their blood. I could have listened to them all evening.

It’s one of the things I used to love about the Port Fairy Folk Festival when I was going regularly… discovering unknown (to me) acts and falling in love with them.

These days, I’m also interested in finding folk songs I can learn to sing — preferably with interesting harmonies for duets and trios. The Wailin’ Jennys have proved very popular among SoulSong harmonisers over the past year (and indeed we had two tables at the gig on Thursday night!).

And now I’m already listening to my new Mae Trio CD with definite intent: Can I sing that? Can we pick out the harmonies and learn them?

Sitting back with a glass of wine and the company of friends, listening to exquisite music, was surely a fabulous way to spend an evening. It’s always good to get some creative input once in a while.

Do yourself a favour and have a listen to Ruth Moody, the Wailin’ Jennys and/or the Mae Trio on their websites.

11 comments

          1. I typed “Nighspirit” instead of “Nightspirit.” I suppose it’s easy enough to do when spellcheck highlights certain words even when they’re spelled correctly–including words such as “spellcheck,” apparently 🙂

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