To the North is Lora Bidner’s first album, but she’s no stranger to the local music scene. The Ottawa native has performed at Ottawa Folkfest and Musik Ottawa, and collaborated with local musicians such as Raphael Weinroth-Browne of Flying Hörses and The Visit, who accompanies Bidner on the record. The album contains nine tracks, including a collaboration with JustJamaal ThePoet in “Ignite.”
The Carleton University music program graduate is clearly a multi-talented artist, who plays piano, guitar, ukulele, and synth on top of her vocals. The album, which was produced entirely in Ottawa, is an impressive feat for a solo singer-songwriter. While the songs vary slightly in speed and tone, each track flows seamlessly into the next. The more upbeat songs have the modern folk vibe of Young the Giant or Of Monsters and Men, but produce a more earthy sound caused by prominent strings. The distinct presence of violin adds to the haunting elements of many tracks.
What’s most impressive of the record is Bidner’s ability to manipulate her voice to perfectly suit not only her accompaniments, but also her lyrics and the general tone of each individual song. She has a soft, eerie voice, similar to Béatrice Martin’s of Coeur de Pirate. While the record is definitely emotive, her singing is calming and helps to create a highly intricate album that remains perfectly whole. Bidner’s seamless collection of tracks feels both emotional and uplifting, that is sure to give any listener a cathartic musical experience.
Ottawa Folkfest 2014 will take place in beautiful Hog’s Back Park again this year. It will be the Great Escape we’ve all be waiting for and caps off the summer, from September 10 to 14. It will feature several great local groups & solo musicians, not to mention a remarkably large amount of free scheduling and many big names of the industry. Here is a list in alphabetical order to help you support local at this year’s Folkfest!
The Cardboard Crowns
First place winners of the 2013 Live 88.5 Big Money Shot, The Cardboard Crowns are a mix of ska-beats, reggae and punk rock. Their shows are always super upbeat and bring people to their feet. Make yourself a cardboard crown at home and wear it to the show if you really want to fit in. Dance under the sun with them Sunday Sept. 14 at 3:30 p.m. at the Valley Stage.
This Juno & CFMA-nominated artist has built a dedicated following through the art of storytelling, with countless shows and 18 albums under his belt. According to Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot, Craig Cardiff is a “songwriter who needs to be heard.” Come see and hear for yourself September 14 at 5 p.m. on the Valley Stage.
High Waters are an art-rock quartet that deliver harmonious vocal arrangements and sombre melodies with hints of folk-rock. Kick off your Friday evening with them at one of the many free stages at 6:15pm on the Hill Stage.
Ottawa’s own soulful Jill Zmud is fresh off the release of her first album in four years, Small Matters of Life and Death. Get ready for songs of heartache and hope September 11 at 8:15 p.m. on the Valley Stage.
This year’s Galaxie Rising Star Award Winner is a passionate young singer-songwriter with a lovely voice and even sweeter lyrics. Laurent will be performing his fun folk pop sound twice, first on September 11 at 6:15 p.m. on the Hill Stage and September 14 at 9:15 p.m. on the Eh! Stage.
Lora Bidner is an incredible multi-instrumentalist, composer and performer. Her music takes you on a trip ranging from darkness to upbeat folk thanks to her her haunting vocal melodies, loop pedals and great use of guitar, ukulele, hang drum and piano. Come be wowed September 13 at 3 p.m. on the Eh! Stage.
If you haven’t been the Chateau Lafayette, shut it all down and go there now. Lucky Ron, a country legend in Ottawa, has been performing his show there for over 28 years. Grab your cowboy hats and get your vocal chords ready to sing at his free show September 11 at 8 p.m. on the Hill Stage.
The duo formed while busking on the streets of Ottawa. They just got out of the studio so expect some great new indie/folk music as well as some sweet covers from the pair. They play a free show September 13 at 3:15 p.m. on the Hill Stage.
The Noisy Locomotive
Not based or formed in Ottawa exactly, but Mountain, ON is just below the Rideau on the way to the 401. The Noisy Locomotive is brothers Trevor and Corey Pool and friend Ben Nesrallah. They play old-time, knee-slapping, dinner-party-style folk and bluegrass. Get folky with it and them September 11 at 7 p.m. on the Valley Stage.
Bringing dark themes and 21st-century social commentary squarely into the pop realm, the funky nine-piece, The PepTides deliver super moveable and fun electro-synth pop. Their shows are always full of eye-catching costumes, a lot of dancing and theatrics. Come dance and flashback to gogo dance days of the summer for a free show September 12 at 8:45 p.m. at the Hill Stage.
One of Ottawa’s somehow still hidden gems, Pony Girl will amaze with their briliant art-rock. Capping off an east cost tour with their performance at Folkfest they are a must see act. Come get locked into a trance and float off in the beautiful sounds of Pony Girl September 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hill Stage.
Saturnfly are one of the most intriguing and interesting bands of the festival. Armed with a cello, electric guitar, moog and drums, the four-piece play spacey rock. Their debut album, set to be released in October, is a science fiction concept album which tells the story of a cyborg who leaves her home on Earth to search the universe for humans who have left the planet long ago. Come be part of the otherworldly experience at the ever free Hill Stage on September 13 at 4:30 p.m.
Another one of Ottawa’s finest multi-instrumentalist, Spencer Scharf will dazzle you with his abilities on six & 12 string, 8 string baritone, resonator/slide guitar, electric guitar, cigar box guitars, piano, keyboard, banjo, harmonica, ukulele, and mandolin. His finger picking is hypnotizing and his sound draws from the likes of Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson and Neil Young. Get yourself a dose of twangy folk and a delicious craft pint September 14 at 5 p.m. at the Craft Beer House.
Electro-pop siblings David and Rylee Taggart are at the head of The Strain from Wakefield, QC. Their infectious pop sound that won them the 2012 Big Money Shot will get you out of your camping chairs and get you clapping and dancing. Come see what all the fuss is about and don’t forget your dancing shoes, September 11 at 6 p.m. at the RavenLaw Stage.
This DJ crew, Zattar and Memetic, have made a name for themselves since forming in Ottawa in 2008. Although their former home at Eri Cafe is no longer, these guys continue to keep Ottawa a hell of a fun place to live. They motto is soul moving soles, and they never disappoint. Come move and be moved September 10 at 8 p.m. at the Craft Beer House for a free Timekode!
The Wicked Mercy
Good cold beer and rock n roll. That is what you are in for when you check out The Wicked Mercy at Folkfest. The show is free so you can spend your extra coin on craft beers while you groove to their blues-infused rock. Try not to spill too much September 13 at 5 p.m. at the Craft Beer House.