The third and final night of In The Dead of Winter featured a few of the festival’s biggest names and was the perfect way to end a fantastic celebration of some of Canada’s best singers and songwriters. Rounding out the festival, Mixtape was out in true style, catching as many acts as possible – here is our review:
In the sea of guitar-playing singer-songwriters at IDOW, Kawaja and her keyboard are an invigorating palate-cleanser. With her powerful ballads she makes even the moodiest acoustic guitar players sound upbeat in comparison. Not afraid of heavy subjects or dark comparisons, her work is the kind of challenging fare you’ll turn over in your mind days after (her song “Husbands and Wives” examines unhealthy marriages and its images are strikingly apt). She isn’t a shrinking girl with a piano; her voice will shake you awake — even from the street.
This was a big show for Dana Beeler. “I’ve never played to people standing before,” she said. She was pretty psyched to be opening for Kathleen Edwards. Beeler has been volunteering with IDOW for a couple years, but this was a pretty exciting show for her first IDOW set on stage(and despite her connections, she found out her slot with the rest of us when the festival lineup was announced) She had a band to back her up, including her boyfriend on bass (several songs were written about him, which made things interesting). Beeler is a young performer, but she clearly has a knack for songwriting.
Legere had a busy day, starting off the day of the festival hosting the festival open mic and brunch, telling equally terrible and hilarious egg jokes. He played his second show of the festival (he played Thursday at Parentheses Gallery as well) and was joined on stage by special guests Kim Harris and Melanie Stone of the Heavy Blinkers.
This duo are a polished, professional act. Everything in their performance — from the beautiful harmonies to their all-black, matching-lace-tights get-ups — presents a stylish, easy listening package. Their sound was further rounded out by Sahra Featherstone on fiddle. One of the most country-leaning bands of the festival, they sing about love, loss and life in rural areas (Cindy is from northern Ontario, Andrea’s parents are of italian farming stock). Their fans (of which there were many) were happy to see them on tour after a winter where Cindy injured her arm (she played a bass ukelele like a dobro to compensate) and Andrea was sick for a month with SARS. But 2014 is clearly coming on strong for these two — they are expanding into the French Canadian scene and racking up fans with a new french version of Aching Heart.
Arguably the biggest name of the festival, Kathleen Edwards brought her audience the show she was hoping for. A packed Marquee sang along and heckled her in that way you do at a Kathleen Edwards show: not because you’re a dick, it’s just that you want to talk to her. She’s magnetic. She never takes her show too seriously — she’s happy to play around on stage, whether she’s getting tongue-tied or egging her band comprised of Jim Bryson and Gord Tough on to what she described as a “dude friendly” guitar solo with thirds. Yeah, that happened. The final song of her encore saw her sing a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Human Touch” with local hero Jenn Grant, a song dedicated to both of their dogs.
Photo: Mixtape/Jonathan Briggins
Words:Mixtape/Evelyn Hornbeck and Jonathan Briggins