Elliott Brood.

I saw Elliott Brood today at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I thought it was one guy but it was three guys with two of them singing, one of them banging away on the backside of his drumsticks and the three of them completely rocking. I thought maybe they were some kind of play on Elliott Smith but they’re not – they’re the real thing – Canadian rock musik. Part of a new breed folk-rock musicians that sometimes gets labeled “death country,” I thought these guys got it – no hillbilly, finger-picking, snot-eating, chicken-drizzling, ho-boy, cowboying country for them. It was a bit like watching the Violent Femmes be all mad at the fact that they were built on country music. Moreover, Elliot Brood was extremely gracious and acknowledged that they were thrilled to be at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and appreciated the huge turnout and support.
The Festival itself rocked as well. I saw a “workshop” of about 7 folkies who ranged in business from folk-satire to falsetto blues and, as always, I kind of fell in love with all of them. The beautifully cool Romi Mayes gave a variegated, traditional performance of a few of her sad-tinged songs of loss and love. Death Vessel‘s Joel Thibodeau brooded (pun intended) amongst the fanfare of the workshop; but his strange, truthful falsetto voice matches anything by Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan. It was the angelic, sublime voice of local girl, Keri McTighe, of Nathan that seemed to capture my sonic brain.
Individual tunes varied in quality but it was a good, strong sampling of the kinds of things folk can and can’t do. Actually, folk can do pretty much anything; as my wife said, if it acknowledges its roots in some way, it’s kind of folk. Right.
And there’s some sadness in all of this as well. Amidst the hubbub and the cheering, the clapping and whooping and calling and sad songs and crazy eyes of the dancing fans and the 31-degree heat beating down on my Tilley’d hat-head, you’re only new once. This was my first experience of the Winnipeg Folk Festival and I can only say that once. Things go and things pass and that’s it, they’re gone. No more. It was my day in the sun.