Home Feature Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day one (Thursday)

Dispatches from the Edmonton Folk Music Festival day one (Thursday)

Photo by Keith and Heather Nicol.

The Edmonton Folk Fest is off to a great start this year, and if Thursday night is any indication, the weekend will be jam-packed with some fine folk talent. The show kicked off at 6:45 p.m. sharp when William Prince took the stage. He delivered a fine set as always and included a tribute to Buffy Sainte Marie, who was originally scheduled to perform this year but had to cancel due to recovering from Covid-19.

On top of a fine set from William Prince, listeners were also treated to a set by Kaleo (best known for his Grammy award winning song “Way Down We Go”), followed by a high-energy set by Nathaniel Rateliff. Rateliff had the crowd on its feet the entire set and it was great to see the hill full of dancers.

I got to sit down with William Prince backstage and ask him a few questions:

RMC: William, would you be able to explain your songwriting process to me?

WP: It changes all the time. I value the words, so I try to put pencil to paper all the time. I’m always playing guitar so the melodies kind of come, and it’s kind of unpredictable at times.

RMC: I know you’ve mentioned Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson as being big influences. Is there anyone else who you feel has greatly influenced you?

WP: I attribute a lot of it to my parents’ listening. I was under a whole umbrella of great music. All the greats!

RMC: I have to ask: was John Prine an influence?

WP: It took a while to find John Prine. It was the Tree of Forgiveness album where I found him. I like to listen to music historically anyway. Unfortunately, he’s passed now but I’m really getting to know him. He was a profound and incredible writer.

RMC: Is there anyone you’re listening to right now that you think people should know about?

WP: I’m a fan of Katie Pruitt. I love her music. I feel like I listen to my peers the most. I really appreciate the writing of Donovan Woods. I always go back in time and listen to Neil Young, but I like to explore new things. I like well-produced pop music as well. I really like Dua Lipa.

RMC: Now that the world seems to be reopening, what do you think has changed the most for you?

WP: We were lucky enough to find roads during the pandemic. I try to be grateful as is. Singing songs and sharing music is a great privilege for my life. You have to really want to be here. It really affirmed for me that this is what I want to do. I don’t know if it’s changed as much as it’s doubled down on wanting to play festivals, share songs, and meet people.


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