By MARY DICKIE Chill at Winterfolk – Thu, February 2, 2006 Popular weekend music festival will help you get out of the doldrums
Local singer-songwriter Brian Gladstone started Winterfolk in 2003 to bring together people who love acoustic folk, country and blues music at a bleak time of the year. Obviously, he was onto something because this
weekend the festival's fourth edition will fill five venues in the Broadview/Danforth area — the Black Swan, Dora Keogh, The Willow, the Bad Dog Theatre and the Danforth Cafe — with music and talk from 100 rootsy artists. You can buy a pass for $55 and wander around, or pick and choose from the impressive lineup. Perhaps you will discover Linda McLean, a singer-songwriter based in Huntsville, Ont., who kicks things off Friday at The Willow. McLean's second album, No Language, has been attracting attention for its forthright lyrics and likable, countryish tunes, as well as her lovely Harmer-esque vocals. Also playing Friday are higher-profile country singers Cindy Church and Russell De Carle, whose gorgeous voice put the sparkle in Prairie Oyster, as well as Gladstone himself, Jory Nash, Greg Hobbs and Digging Roots, the duo of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish who draw from aboriginal music traditions as well as blues and jazz.
On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the festival offers workshops and discussions on subjects like road stories, songwriting, influences and six-string mastery, as well as a children's show. Saturday evening's highlights include the beautiful, sharply observed country songs of two-time Juno winner Jenny Whiteley, Cape Breton-bred roots-rock singer Michael Brennan, country swing band the Bebop Cowboys and up-and-coming vocal duo DALA. On Sunday, check out the Sisters Of Sheynville, an all-female band led by Lenka Lichetenberg and Isabel Fryszberg, who came together two years ago to play music influenced by Eastern European Yiddish traditions, Czech musical theatre and American country blues. Greg Wyard, Maury Lafoy and Jason Fowler are also on Sunday's lineup. For details, go to winterfolk.com.