Day 3 at Ottawa Folkfest

Day 3 of Folkfest began with my discovery of a new favourite band, The Wooden Sky. This is a great combination of musicians as team players, a solid singer/songwriter in Gavin Gardiner all the while a modern day sound that reminded me of the Red Rider’s hugely underrated Neruda album.  Hailing from Toronto and having travelled from there earlier in the day, Gavin Gardiner provided a nice gesture in dedicating the third song to Jack Layton while lamenting the fact they were unable to watch the state funeral on CBC because they were on the road to Ottawa. The Wooden Sky introduced 4 or so new numbers from an upcoming album they figure will be done in 1 or 2 more weeks and based on the quality of said songs I plan to pick up the cd (hopefully they offer it on vinyl) whenever it becomes available. They are the type of band you only hope is offered a life that permits them to keep on keeping on. I very much look forward to seeing them again and again. 

Following that fantastic set I bounced around all over the place like a pinball being sent about by a novice flipper player. I was drawn to the tribal rhythms on the main stage that the Street Drum Corps were seemingly pummelling their audience with.  It didn’t take me long to figure out it was far too early in the day for my mind to handle this music let alone my sobriety level. Either they scared me away or I scared myself into believing I needed to find solace. I ended up running amuck again and found another section I didn’t know existed. If you are facing the RavenLaw stage you can continue on to your left and discover smaller stages that are rather interesting in their offerings. I didn’t really catch much of anything but there was a stage who’s back faces the falls and I watched a tiny moment of two women teaching their crowd a sing-along. Next to that stage is the Heron Stage and I had just missed an interview with Colin Hay. Its unfortunate the timing coincided with The Wooden Sky’s set.  The Legacy Stage probably offers some great music as well, where I am hoping to take a moment out of my day on Sunday to spend some time.   

On the recommendation of numerous friends I decided to make my way to Rural Alberta Advantage over Matt Costa and I kind of wish I hadn’t because their music didn’t really jive with me in that setting. The main problem could have been sound issues because I felt some of it was abrasive and loud for the first 5 or 6 numbers. It seemed to improve for me as I made my way towards the back but that may have been because I had to get out and away from the mouth of madness. I had a similar experience for Tom Morello’s set but I finally chose to leave the main stage, never to return that night. I wasn’t connecting with that stage on this day which was a blessing in disguise. I caught a few tracks from Kim Churchill on the Fall Stage and really enjoyed his showcase of the burgeoning popularity of a one man band sounding like a band without the need of wearing a bass drum on ones back with cymbals between the knees.


I made my way from one Aussie to another you would swear was and as I approached Colin Hay’s set on the RavenLaw stage he was appropriately performing Land Down Under.  He ended the tune, told a story of how it was the most popular song he has ever written and then launched into a bit about being in Ringo Starr’s band. It was constant laughter and I could have listened to him tell stories for the next 2 hrs but luckily he also gave us his wonderfully crafted songs. In between he added stories that could put some of the best comedians to shame. Any bit involving a Beatle was a keeper, particularly his tale of meeting Paul McCartney and it moving along until he sat back and realized Sir Paul was doing the dishes at Colin Hay’s place following a dinner he essentially invited himself to. Colin’s gratitude to Zach Braff was provided just before he launched into what I felt was the most beautiful song of the day, I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You. Once the set ended, I felt the same way about Colin. His is just a set you don’t want to miss if you ever get the chance to see it. Belly laughs in between great songs.  What more can one ask for?