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The Chat Room: Flint & Feather

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Albertan folk/roots duo Flint & Feather are celebrating harvest season with their debut single “The Very Thing I Fear.” Best described as Rocky Mountain folk-pop, the song documents the introspective journey of a traveling troubadour who has lost themselves amidst an ever-changing world.

“The Very Thing I Fear” offers a preview of Flint & Feather’s first full-length release for Sojourner Music, Rebirth, a collection touching on themes of love, loss, hope, and redemption, with more information to be announced soon.

Flint & Feather is the musical project of Joal and Lauren Kamps, a free-spirited husband and wife team who are passionate about cultivating community through folk/roots music, storytelling, and laughter. Joal—who served as Alberta’s artist in residence and arts ambassador from 2020-2021—and Lauren draw upon Western Canadian history, Rocky Mountain folklore, and their own colourful life journeys for inspiration, the result being original songs that convey stories with an uncommon charm.

Now based in Calgary, Joal and Lauren first began performing together while attending Canada’s Music Incubator’s Artist Entrepreneur Program in Toronto. Soon afterwards, they performed across Canada with VIA Rail’s Artists Onboard program and played over 50 dates in the U.K. and western Europe. They have since performed hundreds of concerts in communities throughout Canada.

Flint & Feather’s intimate combination of delicately woven harmonies and vivid lyrical imagery often evokes comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, and The Civil Wars. This classic sound is where the Kamps have found their truest voices as singer-songwriters, allowing their engaging live performances to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Flint & Feather’s “The Very Thing I Fear” is available now at Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music. They perform Saturday, Sept. 30 in Calgary as part of Nickelodeon Music Club‘s concert series, with more dates in Alberta throughout October. Go to flintandfeather.com/shows for more details.

 

Joal, you’ve made music on your own prior to collaborating with Lauren. Obviously, the two of you clicked personally, but what made you click creatively?

Joal: I accidentally discovered that Lauren was a closet artist of sorts. She had composed instrumental pieces on guitar, played the piano in her youth, and had created a large body of sketches and fine art drawings that had never seen the light of day. I asked Lauren if she would sing with me for the first time, and we both realized our voices blended quite naturally.

You’ve explained that your new single “The Very Thing I Fear” was written at a moment when you didn’t have a clear direction in your life. Is there any particular message you hope the song conveys to people who might be in a similar situation?

Joal: Well the song isn’t necessarily meant to give people clear direction per say. I guess that’s why we purposely left the song somewhat opened ended with the unresolved lyrical refrain.

Lauren: Yeah, our intention was more to let people know that they aren’t alone in their state of uncertainty. I think even that feeling of common experience or “belonging” in a way is helpful in and of itself.

The song has almost a Simon & Garfunkel quality about it. Was that the vibe you were trying to get in the studio?

Lauren: Well first off, thank you for that incredible compliment! Our goal was to try and create an inviting classic sound for this song since the subject matter had the potential to connect with a wide range of listeners.

Joal: Yeah, we wanted the song to have a certain familiarity in style and sound to other folk music heroes of the past, and I think we’re really pleased with the sound we captured. A huge part of that was thanks to our coproducer and good friend, Jason Hofer. We talked a lot about the vision for this record and he was instrumental in helping us see it come to life.

How has your live show been developing as a duo?

Lauren: People just want the real deal so we’ve been trying to be our honest selves at shows and not get caught up in pre-packaged performances. I have played mandolin, ukulele, and udu in the past, but more recently I’ve been focusing on playing the piano and dancing with scarves as new creative outlet.

Joal: Lauren’s also been trying out leads on a couple of our newer songs. We’re just interested in experimenting with our sound and figuring out where we feel most comfortable to be creative.

What can you share right now about your forthcoming release Rebirth, and any other upcoming plans you have?

Joal: Rebirth is all about transitions, since we all experience them at some point, and right now, our life is loaded with them. When we reflect on our musical journey together it includes many big transitions – most recently having aging and ailing parents and in-laws entering new and difficult chapters in their lives while welcoming the arrival of our own three daughters over these past years.

Lauren: We have a lot of different styles happening on the record as well – especially some of the new pieces we created at the Banff Centre, so the whole idea of rebirth seemed fitting. At the moment we’re getting ready to release another single this fall and wrapping up our tour dates in Western Canada before the snow falls.

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