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Sophia Radisch at CityFolk 2022. Photo: Curtis Perry.

What to expect at CityFolk Weekend 2

By Stephane Dubord on September 15, 2022





What an amazing first weekend that was for CityFolk! The weather cooperated to create a perfect setting for unforgettable nights of live music—the type we’ve all been missing over the last few years. Best of all, this year’s edition of CityFolk has a second weekend full of great artists to help sate festival-goers’ appetites. Fingers crossed Mother Nature cooperates yet again!

Organizers have pulled together a solid trio of artists for each night, and this second weekend has a more cohesive feel than some of the randomness from last weekend.

Soulful Thursday

The Record Company (6pm)

You’d be forgiven if you assumed these guys were based in the Southern Rock backyard of the “old south,” but in fact they hail from Los Angeles. That said, their sound is unapologetically not Hollywood. Still soulful and bluesy, their latest album expands to a somewhat more modern sound, reminiscent of the Black Keys and their new spin on retro rock.

Matt Mays (7:20pm)

Hamilton’s (via Dartmouth, NS) indie rocker Matt Mays will follow up with his own take on rootsy rock, from hits like “Cocaine Cowgirl” and “Take It On Faith” to more alt-country and folk-tinged reworked songs that appeared on Twice Upon A Hell Of A Time. Whatever version he plays, the one constant is his soulful voice that grounds all his songs with an earnestness that draws listeners in.

Matt Andersen & The Big Bottle of Joy (8:45pm)

A fan favourite of Ottawa festivals, Andersen keeps changing things up with each appearance. Whether it was his appearance with the Mellotones providing a full horns section for his raucous set, or his last Bluesfest appearance in 2019 that was a mix of electric and acoustic blues, the mainstay is his emotive, booming voice. For this set, Ottawa is in for a treat as Andersen has assembled a group of musically gifted friends from his native Atlantic provinces to back him up in what is sure to be yet another memorable set.

Alt Friday

Tré Burt (6pm)

Putting the folk squarely in CityFolk, Burt follows in the traditions of Guthrie and Dylan, but blazes his own path for this millennium. The singer-songwriter’s poetic lyrics and raw vocals mesh with his acoustic guitar to create pure soundscapes that should flow perfectly with a setting sun on a fall Friday night.

Whitehorse (7:20pm)

While the Hamilton band characterizes themselves as “Ethereal folk. Space Cowboy twang. Psychedelic spaghetti western. Intergalactic Blues grooves. Pop noir”, at their core, the duo incorporate all of these unnatural-sounding genres into something that feels in fact quite natural. Their voices intertwine perfectly, reminiscent of the Civil Wars, but with a more varied musical palette to showcase them on. With a brand new album, I’m Not Crying You’re Crying, about to drop, fans can expect new material in their set.

Orville Peck (8:45pm)

No one has managed to successfully carve as “alternative” a path in alt-country as the masked Orville Peck. Rooted firmly in the country traditions that date back to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash, Peck has fully revitalized the genre with a modern flair, all while maintaining his core value of heartfelt storytelling. On his latest album, 2021’s Bronco, he incorporates even more vintage influences, such as ’60s Laurel Canyon on “C’mon Baby, Cry” and early Springsteen flourishes (including harmonica) on “Kalahari Down.” If you had any doubt about Peck, or dismissed him as a gimmick, give this performance a chance and you’ll be surprised at the talent hiding behind that mask.

Rock-ish Saturday

Shovels & Rope (6pm)

Another Americana-inspired duo, Shovels & Rope have expanded their sound from their early folk-rock and alt-country albums to incorporate a more garage-rock sound on parts of their Little Seeds album in 2016, and continue that expansion on their latest album Manticore. Constantly recording, they’ve released three full albums of covers (the Busted Jukebox series) in addition to their own originals, which will provide them a wide array of material for their opening set.

Sarah Harmer (7:20pm)

Burlington’s Harmer will be making her long-awaited return to the Ottawa festival stage. A mainstay on local stages throughout the 2000s, she released five albums by 2010 before a recording hiatus. She released her comeback album Are You Gone in 2020, which continues in her singer-songwriter tradition, with a slightly more subdued sound.

John Fogerty (8:45pm)

Closing out 2022 CityFolk is the legendary John Fogerty. Between his huge catalogue of hits with Creedence Clearwater Revival and his own solo hits, Fogerty has established himself as one of the most recognizable artists, starting with CCR’s incredible three-year run from 1968 to 1970. Over that span, they released six platinum albums, producing a dozen Top 10 hits, and have since become cornerstones of classic rock. After the band broke up in 1972, Fogerty went on to release another 10 albums, spawning hits such as “Centerfield” to add to an already impressive legacy. His closing set should provide a continuous stream of singalongs for fans of all generations.

CityFolk weekend 2 takes place Sept. 15–17. Tickets are available here