Feature

Songs from the Heart award-winners Tragedy Ann release debut next week

Photo by Alex Lam.

With an electric chemistry and quick-witted sense of humour, Guelph-based award-winning duo Tragedy Ann (Braden Phelan and Liv Cazzola) have woven their colours and textures together to create the compelling, wholly original debut full-length album Matches.

Out Sept. 21, the album will be available on Spotify, Apple Music / iTunes, Tidal, and wherever
music is streamed or downloaded.

In support of the new music, the duo is touring Canada with stops in Toronto, Hamilton, London, Oakville, Montreal, Vancouver and more (see below for the full list of dates).

On Matches, Tragedy Ann delivers a wide-ranging blend of well-crafted, cleverly-arranged songs with passion and authenticity. Rooted in strong vocal harmony, the music on Matches is simultaneously familiar and fresh, inspiring chills, provoking smiles, and reminding you to breathe.

Liv’s multi-instrumental menagerie and Braden’s dynamic guitar flavours provide a lush backdrop for their powerful narratives. The songs are utterly captivating and range from simple to complex, from heartwarming and light to frightening and dark.

For example, they move right from the slyly humourous, uptempo vibe of “Neon and Velour” – a perfect description of every dive bar you’ve ever visited – to the slow, mournful “Regulars,” an
unflinching lament for the sad characters who spend far too much of their lives there.

Elsewhere on their debut LP, Tragedy Ann examines the vagaries of romance (“The Last Thing,” “One in Two,” “Snooze”), the commitment required for true friendship (“Odysseus”), how to maintain optimism in the face of grief (“Too Soon,” “The Light We Have”), and the environmental decay of our planet (“Holy Water”). In the darkest and most vulnerable song on the album, they bravely re-tell the story of a childhood assault (“Young Man in a Middle School Washroom”).

Matches is as diverse sonically as it is in subject matter. While acoustic-guitar-and-accordion folk music is Tragedy Ann’s wheelhouse, they travel far and wide from that home base. The stark “One in Two,” for example, is fueled by a distorted electric guitar and stomping feet for a garage-band feel, while the 25-second palate cleanser “Kids” mines similar territory. The minor-key shuffle of “Neon and Velour” would do any klezmer band proud or satisfy any mid-period Tom Waits fan. The strings applied to “Odysseus” and the children’s choir on “Holy Water” also take those songs in unexpected, but entirely satisfying, directions.

It’s worth noting that, although their debut full-length album hasn’t even been released yet, Tragedy Ann have already received two 2018 Folk Music Ontario Awards: The Songs from the Heart Awards (SFTH) in the blues category, for “Neon & Velour” and in the humorous category for “Snooze.”

Matches was produced by James Paul, owner of The Rogue studio in Toronto, who’s manned the boards for four albums that have earned JUNO Awards. Perhaps Matches will be his fifth.

2018 Canadian Tour Dates:

  • Sep. 15 – White Water Gallery, North Bay, ON   
  • Sep. 16 – House Concert, Gatineau, ON 
  • Sep. 18 – Brasserie Beaubien, Montreal, QC
  • Sep. 19 – House Concert, Sherbrooke, QC
  • Sep. 20 – Live! On Elgin, Ottawa, ON     
  • Sep. 21 – Old Church Theatre, Trenton, ON 
  • Sep. 22 – House Concert, Kingston, ON     
  • Sep. 23 – The Garnet, Peterborough, ON   
  • Sep. 27-30 – Folk Music Ontario, Toronto, ON 
  • Oct. 3 – The Moonshine Café, Oakville, ON   
  • Oct. 4 – Artword Artbar, Hamilton, ON  
  • Oct. 6 – Mahtay Café & Lounge, St. Catharines, ON  
  • Oct. 10 – House Concert, Everton, ON   
  • Oct. 11 – House Concert, London, ON   
  • Oct. 12 – Elora Acoustic Café, Elora, ON
  • Oct. 13 – Burdock, Toronto, ON
  • Oct. 14 – Silversmith, Niagara On the Lake, ON 
  • Oct. 18 – Brownstone Café, Orillia, ON   
  • Oct. 19 – Haliburton Folk Society, Minden, ON    
  • Oct. 26 – The Tipper, Vancouver, BC 
  • Oct. 27 – House Concert, Salt Spring Island  
  • Oct. 29 – Duncan Garage Café & Bakery, Duncan, BC  
  • Oct. 31 – Ground Zero Acoustic Lounge, Parksville, BC   
  • Nov. 2-4 – The Woodstove Festival, Cumberland, BC
  • Nov. 8-11 – NERFA, Stamford CT                
  • Nov. 11 – House Concert, Moncton NB
  • Nov. 17 – Grimross, Fredericton, NB      
  • Nov. 19 – Paddy’s Pub, Wolfville, NS
  • Nov. 20 – House Concert, Halifax NS
  • Nov. 22 – Grains de Folie, Caraquet NB     
  • Nov. 25 – House Concert a la Hannigan, Montreal, QC   
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