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This article was published 23/5/2019 (369 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As the old idiom goes, home is where the heart is, and if that’s the case, the entirety of Canada feels like home for Winnipeg-based folk-roots duo the Small Glories.
The Small Glories
● Friday, 8 p.m.
● West End Cultural Centre
● Tickets: $20 at the WECC and Eventbrite.com
On the road to creating their new sophomore record, Assiniboine & The Red, the pair of songwriting and performing veterans Cara Luft (formerly of the Wailin’ Jennys) and JD Edwards kept circling back to that idea of home and what it means in a larger context.
"These songs, when they were written, there was a theme that was offered to us, or presented to us, and the idea of home expanded not just about where we are from, where we were born and raised and the city we live in now, it really expands to all of the places across this whole country really," says Edwards.
"I think Cara can probably agree, we feel pretty much at home pretty much anywhere we are in this country, I’d say. Because we do a lot of travelling outside of the country, I think we often think back to not just Winnipeg, but everywhere in this country as being home. I feel that way, anyway. I grew up in southern Ontario and I’m now in the Prairies, and same with Cara, she was out west. Canada is home really, I can feel at home in Halifax or in Iqaluit."
The pair has been on the road a lot during the past couple of years after the release of their 2016 debut, the aptly titled Wondrous Traveler. Fans seemed to attach themselves quite strongly to the record, so Luft and Edwards decided to ride the wave and make a second full-length, which is officially released later next month.
"We were pretty grateful for the response we received with Wondrous Traveler and JD often says that’s the album that has taken us around the world, and it really has. It opened a lot of doors for us and it seemed silly not to continue to go through those doors and explore those opportunities," says Luft.
The new record continues on in the same sonic vein as Wondrous Traveler; lush with bright banjo and sturdy acoustic guitar, emitting both the usual grit of the genre but also a certain cleanliness in the arrangements. Above all, Assiniboine & The Red highlights the beauty that is the partnership between Luft and Edwards; their voices harmonize perfectly together, reflecting the harmony they’ve found in their songwriting process.
"There’s no real one way that we write; we’re kind of like miners, we go out and mine for good songs and the songs that come back, we nurture them. It’s not overly important as to where or who has written them. We’re heavy on the arranging; we’ve taken old songs from the past and filtered them through the Small Glories filter," says Edwards.
"We put our stamp on it. So if I’ve written a song with somebody and I’m bringing it to the Small Glories, it’s really critical for JD’s imprint to be on that song in order to become a Small Glories song, and vice versa," adds Luft.
"We really want to be... we don’t want to say this is a Cara Luft song or this is a JD song. It’s a Small Glories song."
Winnipeg fans eager to hear the new music will be getting a little gift in the form of an album release show Friday at the West End Cultural Centre, a full month ahead of the record’s international launch. The Small Glories will play all of the new tracks live, and copies of Assiniboine & The Red will be available for purchase.
"Really the only people who will be able to access the album before the rest of the world are Winnipeggers who come to the show and then anybody who wants to do our crowdfunding preorder campaign," says Luft.
"We rarely play Winnipeg; we’re usually out on tour, so that’s also what makes this concert very special for us."
Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.
Updated on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 8:28 PM CDT: Fixes typo