In light of the releasing of their new album, Wondrous Traveler, Small Glories is traveling all over Canada promoting the folk/roots music and will be stopping in Lacombe on their journey.
Small Glories, an acoustically-inclined duo made up of JD Edwards and Cara Luft have been performing since 2014, where they met in Winnipeg during a chance performance pairing.
“The story is that in Manitoba we have the West End Cultural Centre which is an iconic venue in Winnipeg, and on their 25th anniversary, Jason Hooper the (artistic) director invited a bunch of artists from Manitoba together and paired a bunch of us off,” Edwards explained. “He paired Cara and I together off just randomly and we were asked to sing two songs written by artists also from Manitoba.”
The two ended up choosing 1000 Stars by Greg McPherson and Don’t Let it Bring You Down by Neil Young.
“People really enjoyed it, we really enjoyed it too and thought we sounded really great together. We kept it in our back pocket for a year and when that year came up, we decided to go on the road and be the Small Glories. It’s been really nice, we’ve had a lot of people saying that they really enjoy this duo and the music that we’re performing so we’ve decided to stay together.”
Edwards was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario where he grew up around gospel music, as his parents were always involved with singing in choirs. From there, he took up the trombone along with an interest in classical and jazz music that eventually turned into the love for acid jazz and rock. He began to learn how to play the six-string, which he predominately uses in his sets with Luft.
Luft, on the other hand, was born and raised in Calgary where she grew up around folk music and began to learn how to play the acoustic guitar and experimenting with her talents regarding the banjo, which Edwards said paid off.
“Cara’s been playing guitar for many years, is a sick player and plays a mean banjo.”
With these two vastly different mediums of music, the duo found that regardless of their backgrounds, their differences are what make their sound so special.
“I think we both bring a lot of experience and music in our careers but although we both came from (musical) upbringings, both our families were very much into music and we sang a lot of with our families. We have a lot of different influences and inspirations, so we bring different kinds of music together from each of our sides,” he said.
The Small Glories stray away from putting a modern sound in their albums and even their performances, explaining they enjoy the sound of the music when it’s raw, acoustic and natural.
“We love that acoustic tradition, we’re not completely opposed to bringing other instruments in, we have talked about a little of bass or percussion even trombone into the duo but we always really enjoy the acoustic music and find that it’s the best medium.
“We really like singing that, it’s a tune that people don’t really hear a lot of; it’s bringing it from the past and bringing it to the present,” said Edwards.
The duo bases their performances on their harmonies, and their voices, which sometimes play a different part in the sets, according to Edwards. Sometimes he will sing the harmonies while Luft sings melody, but their voices have the range in order to switch the vocal arrangement in order to give the audience a much more varied show.
Now, although the band’s album features mainly covers of old folk songs, the duo has collaborated in regards to original music which they use in their repertoire, however the original music brings a unique feature to the music, according to Edwards.
“We try to do as much (writing) as possible, if I have a good song that fits the set and our style and makes sense then we’ll do it, but we really work with each other’s music to have a fusion of our sound and our styles. We don’t want to just be two artists singing each other’s songs, we want to have more of a symbolic sound and work with each other’s music.”
Original songs including Edward’s Had I Paid and Luft’s Fast Turning World are only just some of the songs which showcase both artists’ unique sounds. They are accompanied by fiddle and are described as ‘powerful musical statements’ and ‘funky traditional’.
The Small Glories released their new album in February and Lacombe is only one of the many stops the duo has to make in their two year tour. Edwards said although the recording is great and the band is very happy with how it turned out, it really doesn’t compare to how it sounds live.
Edwards and Luft will be performing at The Homeplace on April 23rd at 8 p.m. Directions to the Homeplace are available at http://thesmallglories.com/live. For tickets call or text Jason at 403-505-6965.