The Head and the Heart’s set on Saturday night is proof of this: Calgary Folk Music Festival is perennially changing the way this city views music. Somewhere in between the numerous experimental morning workshops and needed reminders of just how influential some throwback Canadian acts are (this year it was k.d. lang, for me), the festival still heeds pressure to showcase a certain irreverence in order to attract new fans.
The Seattle six-piece took stage at 7:20 with the field folks in front of them seemingly content just to lounge in their folding chairs, cross-legged, and fully expecting to give this performance a good, long eyebrow wag. However, the crowd’s energy shifted to cheering early on - during sound check, in fact, when the vocalists of the group: Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, and Charity Rose Thielen each sang an original.
Folk Fest audiences are traditionally withdrawn by nature – in Calgary’s case, the epitome of success at the Fest often relies on setting up a sitting tarp close to main stage – so it came as a pleasant surprise that a relatively unfamiliar talent could have such an instant effect. Before the conclusion of the first song, dancing masses compressed toward the stage and reset the tarp occupying rules altogether.
To wrap up a brilliant weekend of tunes, music, food and friendship we did what anyone in that situation ought to do – we had a pool party on the 20th floor of the Westin Hotel and shot a video in the top tier of the stairwell. Kenny Hensley strums in this soaked version of Winter Song from their 2010 self-titled release.