Six acts to catch at this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival

iskwé is one of the 2018 Polaris Music Prize nominees playing this year’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

The Vancouver Folk Music Festival continues its tradition of eclectic lineups mixing established, mid-career and rising artists.

Among the heavy-hitters at this year’s VFMF are indie singer/songwriter Neko Case, country singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell, and guitarist Ry Cooder. The lineup also includes some emerging Canadian talent that has made the long-list for the annual Canadian music critics’ choice Polaris Music Prize.

The 41st Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival happens July 13-15, with evening concerts all three days and day-time shows on the Saturday and Sunday. As usual, it all takes place in scenic Jericho Beach Park, a stone’s throw from the beach. Here are some shows we think are worth catching.

Kacy and Clayton—Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum are cousins who grew up a small town in Saskatchewan. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco discovered them at a festival and produced their third album, The Siren’s Song. The album evokes ’70s folk and country records. The album is on the Long List of 2018 Polaris Music Prize nominees.

Video—Kacy and Clayton, “The Light of Day”

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco produced the latest record from Saskatchewan cousins Kacy & Clayton.

Los Estrellas de Vancouver—Vancouver’s only all-female mariachi band is comprised of players from classical, jazz, and world music. La Estrellas have participated in the first International Women’s Mariachi Festival in Tlaxcala, Mexico, and have hosted two Women’s Mariachi events in Vancouver.

Video—Las Estrellas de Vancouver

Las Estrellas de Vancouver, an all-female mariachi band.

Rodney Crowell—Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Bob Seger and Keith Urban are among the people who have covered his songs. In the late 1980s, his album Diamonds & Dirt yielded five #1 hits. His latest album is Close Ties. It features the song “It Ain’t Over Yet,” which includes a guest turn from Crowell’s ex-wife, Rosanne Cash.

Video—Rodney Crowell, “It Ain’t Over Yet”

Rodney Crowell’s 1988 album Diamonds & Dirt spawned five hit singles.

Ry Cooder—The guitarist has played with Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson & the Textones. He also produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997. The Prodigal Son, released earlier this year, is his first solo album in six years. His appearance at the VFMF comes as part of his first tour with his band, the HamilTones, since 2009. The album includes a mix of covers of songs from Blind Willie Johnson, Carter Stanley, and the Pilgrim Travelers’, along with originals.

Video (live in studio)—Ry Cooder, “The Prodigal Son”

This guy knows everyone.

Art Bergmann—A pioneer in the Vancouver punk and post-punk scenes of the late eighties and into the nineties, Bergmann surprised many with his 2016 record The Apostate. After years of radio silence, the singer emerged with a powerful album that recalled his past glories, while pointing in a new direction.

Video—Art Bergmann, “A Town Called Mean”

Art Bergmann’s Sexual Roulette was one of the best albums to come out of Vancouver in the 1990s.

Iskwé—The Winnipeg-born Cree/Dene/Irish musician backs up her socially conscious lyrics with electronic trip-hop beats. CBC Music has named her one of the top 10 artists to watch, and her album The Fight Within has been nominated for Polaris Long List.

Video—Iskwé, “Nobody Knows”

41st Vancouver Folk Music Festival

When: July 13-15
Where: Jericho Beach Park
Info & tickets: and 604-602-9798

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