By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
The 24th annual Four Corners Folk Festival is coming up at the end of this month, taking place Aug. 30-Sept. 1 on Reservoir Hill.
Tickets are selling quickly for this year’s event, no doubt due to the epic lineup that includes The Earls of Leicester, Billy Strings, Amy Helm, Molly Tuttle, The Mammals, Darrell Scott, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, Lindsay Lou, JigJam, Mile Twelve, Wild Rivers, The Arcadian Wild and this week’s featured artists: Maybe April and The East Pointers.
Maybe April is a country Americana group made up of Katy DuBois (Bishop) and Alaina Stacey. Hailing from Jonesboro, Ark., and Chicago, Ill., they met in the summer of 2012 at a music industry camp in Nashville. They wrote a song that would later take them to Los Angeles to play at a Grammy week event, along with Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, Allen Shamblin, Gavin DeGraw, J.D. Souther, Joy Williams from the Civil Wars, and many others. Since then, amongst hundreds of shows, the girls have opened for Brandy Clark and Sarah Jarosz, played Pilgrimage Music Festival and IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, and had their video “Last Time” premiered on CMT.
Maybe April is recognized for their harmonies, strength as instrumentalists, original songs and shared roles as frontwomen, each adding something different from their musical backgrounds to create a unique sound somewhere in between Americana and country. Their love for each other and their music continues to push them in their endeavors in Nashville, where they have been based since 2013.
FolkWest favorites Kate Lee and Forest O’Connor will be joining the ensemble for their appearances at the Four Corners Folk Festival on Aug. 30 at 3 p.m. and Sept. 1 at 11:30 a.m.
The East Pointers
There’s a reason, beyond their dazzling musicianship and wildly entertaining live shows, that The East Pointers have connected with audiences right across the globe, making new, original roots music the hippest, most vibrant thing going.
The reason? The East Pointers — fiddler/singer Tim Chaisson, banjoist Koady Chaisson and guitarist Jake Charron — write about real life, sketching out its joys and sorrows in vivid strokes. That palpable authenticity makes their instrumental tunes practically cartwheel and infuses their lyric-driven songs with poignancy. And it’s why listening to The East Pointers’ brilliant and hotly anticipated second album “What We Leave Behind” — produced by superstar East Coast-bred songwriter/producer Gordie Sampson — is akin to meeting up with an old friend.
As a follow-up to 2015’s internationally acclaimed, JUNO Award-winning debut “Secret Victory,” “What We Leave Behind” shares stories previously unheard but framed by a familiar context. The album reflects on the traditions of Canadian Celtic music, where it comes from, and what it means to the people, but also strides in new directions. With a captivating balance between their traditional-sounding instrumental tunes, and catchy radio-ready songs, The East Pointers reach out with open arms to a wide range of listeners, inviting them to discover a new love of folk music.
Never before have The East Pointers so deftly leveraged the whole spectrum of human emotion, drawing inspiration straight from the world they live in. That’s especially evident in a pair of striking new songs featuring Tim Chaisson’s lead vocals: the trembling first single “82 Fires” and the melancholy “Two Weeks,” co-written with Sampson amid recording sessions last winter.
“While in Penguin, Tasmania, we spoke with an older gentleman, a lifelong resident, who said that there were 82 wildfires currently on the loose in Tasmania, the most in over half a century. It hit home the severity of what we were all experiencing,” said Koady Chaisson. “It was a restless few days for us. Small human decisions about where to live, or whether or not the show would go on didn’t matter, Mother Nature would always have the final say. Being in the middle of that brings an immediacy about it, you can feel powerless.”
The plaintive “Two Weeks,” meanwhile, documents a passage depressingly common in the bands’ home province of Prince Edward Island and played out the world over in economically challenged communities: the need to leave home and travel far away from friends and family to find work.
“When I played that song for my mom, she said ‘That’s going to hit home for a lot of people,’” Koady Chaisson explained. “Many families are forced to split their time, with at least one member having to go out west — usually to Alberta — to make ends meet. It’s so hard. I did it, though luckily not for long, but there are people in my community going through it month after month, year after year.”
The flip side of “What We Leave Behind” — and indeed, of The East Pointers’ electrifying concerts — are scorching instrumental tunes that yank the freewheeling, Celtic-goosed past into the present, defying anyone to sit still in their chair.
“Traditional music has always been at the core of what we do as a band,” added Jake Charron. “There’s something powerful about a style of music that has been passed on for generations around the world.”
A new take on this tradition is evident in the spry “Party Wave,” inspired by a thrilling surfing experience the band enjoyed in New Zealand, one of many countries The East Pointers visited during 10 months of touring last year. The tunes, written this past year on the road, take you on a journey, building with excitement before transforming into a full-on dance party.
Rounding out the album, the melancholic “John Wallace” — about a 19th century shipwreck off the coast of Prince Edward Island — and the mournful “Hid in Your Heart” uphold the band’s devotion to documenting real life, tragedy and all.
“What We Leave Behind” carves a new path for The East Pointers, as they continue to blur the lines between traditional and popular music and develop a devoted fan base around the globe.
Get ready to move when the trio takes the stage on at 4 p.m. on Sept. 1.
We’re looking for our last few volunteers to round out the schedule. Volunteers age 17 and up can earn complimentary three-day festival admission by working two four-hour shifts before, during or after the festival. Tickets and additional information about the festival, including the main stage schedule and information on all of the artists, can be found online at www.folkwest.com.
The Four Corners Folk Festival is supported in part with matching funds from Colorado Creative Industries.