Sail Cassady, Lonesome Ace Stringband, Casati
Sail Cassady – “Got the Pace” (Release date: Nov. 29, 2019)
Sail Cassady is the pseudonym of Victoria singer-songwriter Colin Craveiro, who appears to write some quite lovely, lush indie folk by the sounds of this track. Colin is possessed of a deep, haunting and resonant voice, and his dark dark lyrics are enhanced by rich instrumentation: piano, acoustic and electric guitars and possibly even a theramin or at least a reasonable computer-generated facsimile thereof. It’s moody and evocative and makes me want to hear more.
Lonesome Ace Stringband – Modern Old-Time Sounds for the Bluegrass and Folksong Jamboree (Release date: Nov. 15, 2019)
A lot of the stuff that arrives in the virtual mailbox here at Roots Music Canada is the work of brand new artists – some of them sending us their first iPhone demos – or promising up-and-comers hoping for an introduction to our readers. Lonesome Ace Stringband, however, is an act as veteran as they come. Chris Coole is one of Canada’s leading clawhammer banjo players whose resume includes playing in David Francey’s band and as a member of the Foggy Hogtown Boys. Fellow Foggy Hogtown Boy John Showman is a leading fiddler known for his work with New Country Rehab and the innovative string ensemble the Creeking Tree String Quartet. And upright bass player Max Heineman, also a Foggy Hogtown Boy, is a versatile player who lends his talents to all sorts of projects in Toronto and beyond. This new album, the band’s fourth, showcases the super tight playing, innovative arranging, and gorgeous three-part harmonies the members perfected through seven years of residency at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto. The cross-section of covers ranges from old-time classics such as the Stanley Brothers’ “Stone Walls and Steel Bars” to reimaginings of songs from other genres such as Lhasa’s “Fools Gold” – so beautifully rendered here that you’d think it was written as a country song. A particular stand-out for me is the trio’s cover of the Carter Family’s “I Never Will Marry,” which showcases its ability to create a massive holy sound with just three voices and acoustic instruments. If you’re already a fan of the Lonesome Aces, this album will only reinforce their reputation as a rock-solid outfit with impeccable taste. In the off chance you’ve not discovered them yet, this new album will remind you what truly great old-time music is supposed to sound like.
“I Never Will Marry”
Casati – This is Just to Say (Release date: Sept. 20, 2019)
Not gonna lie. This is not what I expected from a band called Casati (Latin jazz, maybe?) It’s charming indie folk featuring the beguiling vocals of Grace Hrabi, who previously fronted a jazz trio featuring these very same musicians – namely multi-instrumentalist Quintin Bart of Raine Hamilton’s ensemble and guitarist Jesse Popeski, who also provides vocals on a couple of tracks. When they decided to focus on original music, the sound that came out was surprisingly folky with just subtle traces of their jazz and classical influences. It’s a trio with a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing what they do next.