Interview – The Small Glories

Photo Credit: Stefanie Atkinson

The Small Glories is a new indie folk band from Winnipeg. They released their first studio record, Wondrous Traveler, on February 19. The Small Glories is a duo comprised of Cara Luft and JD Edwards. They released a live video of their lead single ‘Had I Paid’ on YouTube on February 3. They will be on tour starting February 27 that continues until April 14, with more dates to be announced.  Canadian Beats had the chance to interview them about their album and more.

How would you describe your sound?

The Small Glories sound is a fusion of folk. We bring a multitude of elements from both of our pasts to the music. Cara brings a deep connection to traditional music and a strong link to harmony singing and gutsy instrumental playing. JD’s background is gospel, blues folk with a solid feel for the groove. I like to think of it as traditional, lucid, crispy songwriting with a dose of fiction and mystery wrapped in truth and history. It’s approachable, warm and comforting, intimate and cozy.

Does Wondrous Traveler have a theme?

Although Wondrous Traveler suggests the idea of exploring and destinations, it’s really about home: our families, our life stories and the communities we live in now. Many of the songs reflect on home and where we come from. Cara and I both met and have settled in Winnipeg, but we grew up in other provinces – Cara in Calgary, Alberta ane myself in Oshawa, Ontario. I think the record speaks of our transitions from the places of our birth to the places we now call home. Wondrous Traveler is about the time we have had and what lies ahead.

Before the release, you were touring the UK. Can you talk a bit about it?

We toured through England and Scotland recently. We performed in Glasgow during the Celtic Connections festival, opening for NY based band The Lone Bellow. It was a sold out show at the Oran Mor, an ancient church in the heart of the city. It was a fantastic tour playing venues we had played before and found ourselves on new stages performing for new audiences. Indeed a success, and a wonderful introduction for the next time we make the trip to the UK.

What Prairie influence do you feel you showed strongly while travelling?

The songs reflect parts of our lives, not excluding the fact that we live in a huge country.  Canada is so vast and intimidating in some respects. People often mention to us after hearing our music that they can really sense the largeness of Canada and the wide expanse of the land.  ‘Time Wanders On’ is a great example of this. We speak of the mountains and prairies and everything from coast to coast to coast.

How did it differ from playing Canadian shows?

The audiences are a little different in their understanding of humour and references we sometimes use. Sometimes folks laugh at things we say that weren’t supposed to be funny and then not react when we want them to. But ultimately the music crosses all borders and language barriers, and we have wonderful audiences wherever we go.

When did you two come together as a duo?

Approximately three years ago The West End Cultural Centre, a venue in Winnipeg, had its 25th anniversary. The artistic director invited a number of Manitoban artists, paired people off and had each of these pairings sing two songs written by other Manitoban songwriters. Cara and I were partnered up and really enjoyed performing together, as did the audience.  We really felt that the singing, the melding of our voices, was where we could shine. A year had passed after that show and Cara found herself performing her own show at the WECC. She invited me to be in the backing band along with a couple other musicians. At some point during rehearsals Cara mentioned that she had a tour booked with a side guy who had to back out because of conflicting dates. So I yelled out, “why don’t you take me on tour?”. She said, “ok” and the rest is history. We finished the tour with amazing reviews and hit the studio that summer.

Which Canadian artist(s) do you pull inspiration from the most?

Gosh that is a tough one. There really are so many people who we love and find all sorts of inspiration from. One we both love and respect is Bruce Cockburn. He has been a huge force in Canada and the rest of the world for so long. Plus his music has touched us so many times over the years. His musicality, lyrics and presence, both on and off the stage, is amazing! We had a chance to share the stage with Bruce last year when we all played the Moab Folk Festival in Southern Utah. It was an incredible moment for us hanging with the legend himself back stage, joking and laughing about all sorts of things. We got a selfie with Bruce that I keep on my phone. I could continue listing off inspirational people in our life, but surely Bruce is up there at the top of our list of Canadian artists.

Do you have any random facts you can think of?

Cara and I share a fun fact in that our grandfathers both owned Funeral homes. On one of my parents’ first dates, my father picked my mother up at home in a hearse and not long after that they were married.

If you could tour anywhere you haven’t yet where would it be?

We would love to tour Australia and even further to Asia. I think there a folks everywhere in this world who would love our music.

If you had to change genres, which direction would you go?

Most likely classic rock. Cara teaches a school of rock course from time to time at music camps all over North America and I think we could pull off some sort of big hair and screaming vocals kind of thing.

Do you have any songs stuck in your head currently?

JD: I have a couple: Corrina Corrina & Watching the River Flow – Both played by Bob Dylan
Cara: I have Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” running through my head…

If you had the chance to interview anyone you looked up to, who would it be and what would be your first question?

I’d like to sit and chat with Martin Sexton. His voice and music has always captured me and I’d love hang and jam with him some day. I think I’d ask him how does he keep his voice so clean and clear while touring non stop year after year.

Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers?

We are so grateful for all the support we get from our fans, friends and families. We can’t thank you enough for getting on board The Small Glories train. We are so excited for folks to listen and experience the new record. Much love and many thanks.

Connect with The Small Glories:

Feb 27– Winnipeg, MB – West End Cultural Centre
Mar 5 – Dauphin, MB –  Watson Arts Centre
Apr 2 – Vernon, BC – Vernon Folk and Roots Club
Apr 14 – Cranbrook, BC – Winter Ale Concert Series at the Key City Theatre

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