Sat, Mar 2, 2013.
Mandolin music here, but hardly strictly bluegrass. It's the main axe of Vancouver's Lydia Hol, currently touring her EP Boats through the Maritimes. Accompanied by her group The Barefoot Boys, this is acoustic music, with the mando, banjo and upright bass of b-grass, but there's piano, violin, accordion and interesting percussion as well. And instead of the high and lonesome harmonies, the gang gets into some choral sounds. And there's quite a few minor chords in the moodier ballads.
So it's not a flashy-picking bunch. Instead, the music is centered around Hol's moody voice and lyrics, sometimes keen, sometimes blue. And it's not far off from the Mumford or Avett sounds, more spare and less frantic for sure. The energy doesn't come from trying to be big; rather it's subtle and heartfelt.
Catch Hol and company around the area in the coming days:
Saturday, Mar 02 - The Dunk, Breadalbane PEI
Monday, Mar 03 - Plan B, Moncton
Thursday, Mar 7 - Fables, Tatamagouche, NS
Friday Mar 8 - Economy Shoeshop, Halifax
Thursday, Mar 14 - Baba's Lounge, Charlottetown
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).