In the Dead of Winter
Positioned between the Halifax Pop Explosion and the Halifax International Jazz Festival, the In the Dead of Winter music festival has been keeping Haligonians warm with acoustic lullabies and baroque-pop vignettes for years. Primarily dealing with the acoustic guitarist/singer/songwriter spectrum of popular music, In the Dead of Winter delivers for those suffering from a lack of concerts in the wintertime.
2012 is no exception, with Grammy Award-winners, strumming songstresses and grungy acoustic rockers occupying the festival. Here are the shows not to miss from the festival’s run Jan. 25 to Jan. 28:
Shawn Colvin, Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Wed. Jan. 25
Since attacking the mainstream 19 years ago with her debut album, Steady On, Colvin has amassed an impressive number of awards, winning three Grammy awards during her eight-album career. Her 1996 single, “Sunny Came Home”, catapulted her into the mainstream, and Colvin has continued touring and recording over the past 15 years. For fans of Joni Mitchell or the alt-folk of Ryan Adams and Ani Difranco, catch the one-off Cohn performance of this year’s festival.
Mo Kenney, The Company House, Thurs. Jan. 26
Performing sparkling fingerpicked acoustic guitar songs with equal parts haunting crooning, Waverley, Nova Scotia’s Mo Kenney is a must-see at this year’s In the Dead of Winter. At only 21 years old, Kenney delivers fragile pop songs in the vein of Elliot Smith with the pop sensibilities of Randy Newman. If you can’t make it to this show, catch her opening for Ron Sexsmith on the Maritime leg of his tour. Look for her new album, recorded with Joel Plaskett’s New Scotland Records, later this year.
Moonshine Ramblers, The Bus Stop Theatre, Thurs. Jan. 26
With a name like Moonshine Ramblers, it’s no stretch of the imagination to realize that this band sounds country/bluegrass as fuck. Chances are you may have caught this five-piece opening for acts at local venues The Paragon, The Seahorse or The Carleton, but their upcoming performance at The Bus Stop Theatre offers a more intimate environment for the roots rockers.
Martha Wainwright, The Spatz Theatre, Fri. Jan. 27
The youngest of Canada’s favourite musical family (think Loudon, Rufus and Kate McGarrigle), Martha Wainwright is one of the more experimental artists playing the festival this year. Mixing acoustic rock with art-pop, Wainwright and her David-Bowie-meets-Brett-Anderson vocal theatrics grace Citadel High’s The Spatz Theatre for one of the bigger performances of the festival.
Steve Gates, The Company House, Fri. Jan. 27
The frontman of Halifax’s epic roots rockers Caledonia, Gates graces The Company House to perform tracks off of his recent EP, Hello Jesus, and songs from his upcoming full-length. If you like the music of Bon Iver and and Jon McKiel, this show is for you. And speaking of Jon McKiel…
Jon McKiel, 2053 Gottingen, Sat. Jan. 28
When it comes to sludgy Neil Young rock mixed with introspective acoustic Neil Young rock, Jon McKiel is the man to inherit the throne as the new Canadian folk dark lord. Broken keyboards and detuned grunge riffs occupy chunks of his new LP Tonka War Cloud, but that doesn’t mean he won’t break out his acoustic guitar to soothe the crowd of 2053 Gottingen. One of the provinces best musicians—this one is a must see.