Big, little, giants…we have an unintended theme for this show. Both groups feature soaring sounds — Big Little Lions feature strong vocal harmonies, while Outside I’m A Giant build on fiddle, pedal steel, and a deep baritone voice.
Big Little Lions are Helen Austin and Paul Otten — they work long distance (she’s in BC, he’s in Ohio), but sound like they’re always side by side. They’re currently touring in support of their fourth album, Alive and Well, released February 23rd. Like their previous album, Just Keep Moving, it is beautifully crafted, balancing a range of instruments (guitar, banjo, violin, and keys, along with whistles, handclaps, accordion, and harmonica) in support of their voices and lyrics.
Our opener for this show will be Outside I’m a Giant, a talented trio from the Gatineau side of the Valley. They released their first full-length recording, Point Comfort at the Black Sheep Inn this fall. Their folky sound is anchored by deep baritone voice of lead singer-songwriter Jérémi Pierre Caron, multiple instruments in the hands of Samuelle Desjardins, and the haunting pedal steel of Pascal Desgagné.
Big Little Lions Family Matinee – 3:00 pm, March 24 at the Almonte Old Town Hall
As a special treat for families, we will be offering a 45-minute, family-friendly afternoon show with Big Little Lions. The music will be much the same, but the beverages will be kid-appropriate, and dancing is definitely encouraged, as are clapping, singing along, and twirling.
Before Big Little Lions, singer Helen Austin had an award-winning career as a children’s songwriter (2014 Juno Award for Colour It, produced by Paul Otten, as well as a Canadian Folk Music Award plus a number of international songwriting awards). Big Little Lions’ cheerful songs can entertain kids without driving parents crazy. Whether you can’t find a sitter, or you don’t want to leave the kids behind, this will be a great afternoon outing. Admission is $15/person, or $50/family. Children under three are free. Tickets for this show will be available online on our tickets page at and at the door (cash only, please).
Their new single, Find Your Tribe, was recently on the CBC Music Top Twenty!
The Folkus 2018 season got off to a great start on January 27th. Pakenham native Brad Scott opened the show with his infectious style of playing, and Amanda Rheaume’s trio had the hall on its feet with an extended set at this sold out concert. What a great way to beat the winter blues.
Click to enlarge photos (by Rick Scholes).
Don’t forget to get your tickets to the Sussex show on Feb 24th. It promises to be another fantastic night of music.
Amanda Rheaume has been a stalwart of the Canadian Roots scene for a number of years, and she is a touring veteran, having played across Canada (coast to coast to coast), Europe, The United Kingdom, Faroe Islands, the USA, and Central America. She has even played for Canadian Forces troops in Afghanistan (three times!). Amanda Rheaume won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award was nominated for a Juno in the same year. She is blessed with a warm, pure, voice, an ear for a melody, and a strong sense of storytelling.
Her latest album, Holding Patterns, was in the player is one of our Artistic Director’s favourites from the last year: moving from the pure folk storytelling of The Day The Mountain Fell to the bluesy rock of Blood From A Stone, the music is consistently uplifting. The songs are touching, heartfelt, and delightful, and the production is outstanding.
Rheaume will be joining us shortly after a return from a songwriting trip to Nashville, and she promises a few new songs to share with us. We just confirmed that Rheaume will be joined by longtime sidemen Anders Drerup (guitar, pedal steel, vocals — you may remember him for his work with the Claytones, with Kelly Prescott and on the Grievous Angel project) and Leonardo Valvassori (bass and assorted sounds — Valvassori has been a Muffin, a Hawk and a Homewrecker!). This will be one of her last trio shows before her next tour, so it promises to be especially intimate.
Pakenham native Bradley D. Scott will be opening for Amanda Rheaume. He’s a versatile player, lending his talents to local bands, singing originals and covers all over the Valley, and writing scores for video games, among other gigs (such is the life of a modern musician). He released his first solo album, New Frontier, in 2017.
Individual tickets for this concert on January 27th, 2018 at Almonte’s Old Town Hall are now on sale.
By Sandy Irvin, Artistic Director
Folkus Concert Series is pleased to announce the lineup for our 2018 season. We had a tough job topping last season, but I think we’ve pulled together an amazing range of talented Canadian performers to surprise and delight you. I can guarantee no two shows will be the same!
January 27 – Amanda Rheaume
Rheaume has been a stalwart of the Canadian Roots scene for a number of years, and is a touring veteran, having played across Canada (coast to coast to coast), Europe, The United Kingdom, Faroe Islands, the USA, and Central America. She has even played for Canadian Forces troops in Afghanistan (three times!). Amanda Rheaume won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award was nominated for a Juno in the same year. She is blessed with a warm voice, an ear for a melody, and a strong sense of storytelling. She is currently touring in support of her fourth album, Holding Patterns, which is one of my favourites from the past year. The songs are touching, heartfelt, and delightful.
February 24 – Sussex
Sussex is the brainchild of Michael Emenau and Rob Lutes. The two were childhood friends and high school bandmates in New Brunswick. After graduation, they went their separate ways—Michael to Tokyo, San Francisco and Paris, where he made a name for himself as a world-class jazz vibraphonist and composer; Lutes to Montreal, where he has recorded six albums and earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest songwriters and roots performers. They round out their sound with a handful of musical friends. The music is vibrant, lively, and bluesy – they call it vibrafolk. This will be slightly rowdy, funky, swampy bluesy night.
March 24 – Big Little Lions
Poppy, bright, and delightful, Big Little Lions bring beautiful harmonies and infectious melodies. A cross-border collaboration, Big Little Lions feature Helen Austin and Paul Otten; they work long distance but sound like they’re side by side. The award-winning (Juno 2014, Canadian Folk Music Award 2015) duo can also be heard in movies, TV soundtracks, and advertisements, as well as on CBC Radio (they were favourites on the Vinyl Café). This is music that will lift your heart and set your feet tapping.
Our opener for this show will be Outside I’m a Giant, a talented trio from the Gatineau side of the Valley.
As a special treat for local families, we will be offering a short family-friendly afternoon show with Big Little Lions. The music will be the same, but the beverages will be kid-appropriate, and dancing is encouraged. This offering will be outside of our season’s pass.
April 27 – Kevin Closs
Kevin Closs is an independent artist from Manitoulin Island. Since 1990 he has worked as a recording and performing artist releasing eleven independent albums and touring across the country. His music has been featured in the soundtrack of Hard Rock Medical, Survivorman, The Jane Show and in a number of films. An excellent fingerpicker, and a clever lyricist, Closs is a versatile guitarist who has turned his hand to many styles. Closs has toured with Charlie Major, but his own style is far more folk than country. But we’re bringing Kevin in because of his latest project. In Deep reflects his time travelling up North as a musician-in-residence and Zodiac driver. He’s worked in sonic textures from the sounds of ice, ships at sea, and even the melody from a bird song. I can’t wait to see what his latest travels have inspired.
Our opener for this show will be Flying Hórses, a nouveau-classical solo pianist.