Amidst a plethora of rising international indie stars, infectious reverberating beats and the fantastic favorites, cached on my iPod is a continually growing selection of some softer down-to-earth tunes for all those times when I feel like mellowing down. The next best thing to a good book, a cup of tea and a cozy blanket, there are tons of Canadian folk artists out there that satisfy my needs when I need to take a step away from living life in the fast(er) lane.

What’s great about folk music is the complete lack of pretensions. Often, folk artists are very ‘what you see is what you get,’ whether in their songs, playing shows or face to face. That said, there is one folk artist in particular I would like to introduce everyone to; one of these artists whom, to know their music, is to know them.

Present: Craig Cardiff. It’s not often that one gets the pleasure of meeting someone as genuine, open and honest as Ontario native folk-singer Craig Cardiff. I met Craig for the first time outside of Kingston’s Grad Club on a warm spring evening about a year ago, gearing up to play an intimate show as part of a fundraiser. I can still remember how, relaxed as anything and with pint in hand, he told me about spending the day with his then two-year-old daughter picking up dog droppings from the yard. He said she would trudge around in her rubber boots, stop, point and say “poooo.” He said “pooo” too, in the same pure high-pitched childlike voice.

The way that Craig relates to his listeners, preferring to play intimate living-room shows or in prison cafeterias than to a packed pub, is the same way he writes his music; he holds absolutely nothing back. His music is simple, beautifully melodic and honest. As I’ve heard it described, it can bring you to tears on one song and have you smiling ear-to-ear on the very next.

Craig’s latest album Easter Eggs is a selection of live recordings from his tours through Canada and the States. True to form, the album includes bits of stage banter such as in ‘Circus’ where he tells hilarious stories of (his?) teenage shenanigans and various covers including Dan Bern’s ‘God Said No’. Armed with little more than his guitar, harmonica and loop peddles, Craig brings the atmosphere of his intimate live shows to your headphones. The album does not, however, include beer. Other tracks of particular note include: ‘Grandma’, which I definitely need to listen to with my Grandma, ‘Year of Funerals’, which isn’t actually as sad as it sounds like it would be and ‘Dancing Like Pierre’ which reminds me of impromptu kitchen dance parties.

Craig Cardiff – Dance Me Outside
Craig Cardiff – God Said No

However, as much as I enjoy Easter Eggs I personally prefer (or maybe I’m more used to?) Craig’s latest studio-recorded album Goodnight (Go Home) released in 2007. Goodnight is a very intimate album that brings fuller depth and musical complexity to already phenomenal and heartfelt lyrics.

Craig Cardiff – When People Go

He’s just finished his Canadian tour but if you’re in the need for some down-to-earth chillin’ time, I’m willing to bet you’ll be able to catch one of his shows in your area before too long.

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— , March 30, 2009    5 Comments
Comments:

My favorite time of year to soak in some folk is early-Spring through early-Summer. Thanks for showcasing such a great artist Megan.

— Sal, March 31, 2009

Megan this is lovely, thank you for sharing Craig Cardiff. “When People Go” has a fantastic, mountain child frolicking through the wild flowers feel to it. Hopefully it helps shoo away the cold in Halifax.

— Jan, March 31, 2009

I hope it shoo’s away the cold for all of us Jan! Thanks both of you for the wonderful feedback. It’s a privilege to be joining your ranks!

— Megan, April 1, 2009

Very nice Megan. Very well written. might even get me to start listening to a little Cardiff.

— David, April 3, 2009

Megan, good to have you on the team! Cardiff is such a live staple every year at Queen´s, I´m glad that you wrote a piece on him.

BriD, April 6, 2009