Rabbit holes lead contributor Cat L'Hirondelle to Aussie Jen Cloher, Wye Oak and Cigarettes After Sex while John Mabbott looks at multi-talented and hard-to-label Vancouver band The Fugitives
Readers’ Choice 2020
  • Cat L’Hirondelle‘s shares three discoveries from her musical meanderings in 2020: Australia’s Jen Cloher, American indie band Wye Oak and Texas dream pop band, Cigarettes After Sex when they did their 15-minute live concert at NPR’s Tiny Desk in 2017.
  • John Mabbott examines multi-talented, Vancouver-based folk music collective, The Fugitives. The group recently recorded Trench Songs a compilation of WWI soldier’s songs and poems that they set to new music.
  • THE READER’S CHOICE 2020 PLAYLIST: On YouTube and Spotify. The playlist samples a selection of the songs mentioned in this year’s 10-part series.
Kurated is a music sharing project. This is the third annual Readers’ Choice January series featuring subscribers’ top listens of the past year.
Stay tuned and enjoy,
Kris Sig Plastic V3

17 January 2021

Cat L’Hirondelle
Vancouver BC

Australia’s Jen Cloher. (Filippo L’Astorina photo)

My picks for this year are:

Take Something Beautiful by Jen Cloher. Found by accident.  An Australian singer – I love her voice!
Civilian by Wye Oak
Cigarettes After Sex: NPR Tiny Desk Concert. My day assistant turned me on to this band  – we were looking into David Lynch and he recommended them – rabbit holes, you know how they work!

I have always been drawn to fab voices and musicians who are poets.

About Cat: Crazy crip artist who loves music and rabbit holes!

John Mabbott
North Vancouver BC

Vancouver’s The Fugitives recently released Trench Songs, a collection of songs sung by First World War Canadian soldiers.

The Fugitives: Escaping easy labels

The Fugitives are a Vancouver-based folk music collective joining together to primarily perform the songs of principle members Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod.  While they mostly play acoustic instruments and sing in a contemporary folk style, folk music is not a label that easily applies to them, any more than it did for poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen, for whom they wrote I Have No Words. Glynn performed in the Cohen-inspired musical theatre show Chelsea Hotel, so the influence of the Canadian bard is clear. Poetry, music, storytelling and theatricality are signature elements of their work.

The Fugitives are sometimes referred to as spoken word cabaret, slam folk, or folk hop, but these labels too don’t sum them up adequately. McLeod is a former Canadian SLAM Poetry Champion and won the 29th Annual 3 Day Novel writing contest for The Convictions of Leonard McKinley. He’s also an actor and playwright. Glyn won a Leo Award for Best Lead Actor in the Canadian film Volition and has acted in other films including The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. So, these two multi-talented performers bring artistic diversity to the table when writing and performing with The Fugitives.

They have toured extensively across Canada as well in the UK and Western Europe where they were well received, especially in Germany where their sold out shows garnered glowing reviews and The Promise of Strangers (2018) won the German Record Critics Award for the Best Folk Album. Several of their other albums have been nominated for the Canadian Folk Music Awards and Western Canadian Music Awards.

Most recently, they‘ve recorded Trench Songs a compilation of WWI soldier’s songs and poems set to new music by the group. These songs were featured in the Brendan McLeod penned monologue Ridge, filmed at The Chan Centre and first streamed on Remembrance Day last year. An especially poignant acapella song from the show is The Next Man To Die that is reminiscent of Stan Rogers’ Northwest Passage. This show is homage to the soldiers who have risked and lost their lives for our freedom. But, it is also an anti-war polemic. It confronts the many contradictions that wars present. It highlights how patriotism is used as a corrosive political force, how corporate interests often take precedence over the safety of soldiers and amplifies the racism towards indigenous and ethnic minority soldiers.

The full Trench Songs album

The Fugitives are currently Adrian Glynn, Brendan McLeod, Chris Suen (also of Viper Central) and Carly Frey (also of The Coal Porters). All members contribute vocals and are multi-instrumentalists.  Others who have come and gone include Mark Berube, C.R. Avery, Barbara Adler and Steve Charles.

About John: John Mabbott is retired. He was enjoying his time playing music – bass and mandolin – in the local alt country roots rock bar band YarDog, when COVID-19 ended live music. He’s been diligently studying and practicing, waiting for a chance to make a comeback. Woodworking is his latest obsession.