On Sat., Nov. 17, Craig Cardiff will find out if he won a Canadian Folk Music Award as 2012 Contemporary Singer of the Year.
Whether the singer-songwriter from Ontario with the soft voice wins or not, it will be a celebration of great music in Ladysmith when Ryan and Cathleen McMahon host Cardiff in an intimate house concert at the Short Close Song Shelter Nov. 17 at 8 p.m.
Cardiff’s Canadian Folk Music Award nomination comes for his latest release, Floods and Fires, an album that was also recognized with a Juno Award nomination as Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo this past winter.
For Floods and Fires, Cardiff and producer/engineer Ben Leggett of North Bay, Ont., spent 18 months working together to record the album in Cardiff’s home studio in Arnprior. This was the longest period of time Cardiff spent recording any of his releases, which are often recorded live or off the floor.
“I wanted to take the time these songs deserved and not rush them,” he says.
The title Floods and Fires alludes to Biblical plagues which bring both destruction and opportunity. The album’s 14 tracks examine love and love’s leaving, celebrate parenthood and, ultimately, explore the balance between heartbreak and joy.
“The songs on this album were crafted during a difficult period of my life,” says Cardiff. “When hard things happened, I kept reminding myself to choose joy instead of choosing to be afraid and closing up. That’s what I kept coming back to — Fear rents the cheapest room in the house. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”
The exciting news about the Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination came just weeks after Cardiff’s work was featured in the soundtrack for an independent Canadian film that won the Audience Choice Best Feature award at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival.
Cardiff teamed up with Leggett once again to work on the soundtrack for the indie film In Return, and the film features music by Cardiff and Ontario bands The Famly and The Faraway Neighbours.
“It’s a dark romantic comedy,” says Cardiff. “Ben and I composed both existing songs from Floods and Fires and also the ambient soundtrack. It was a lot more fun than an album was because it was kind of freeing to be able to support someone else’s idea rather than nibble your fingernails, always second-guessing. I’m proud of how it turned out and am looking forward to collaborating with Ben more on projects like this.”
Hailed by Gordon Lightfoot as a “songwriter who needs to be heard,” Cardiff is known not only for his musical style, but also for the close relationship he has with his fans.
Cardiff has been nurturing that close relationship all across Canada throughout his 15-year career by performing wherever people want to see him. A long-time advocate of alternate venue touring, he has played in boathouses, backyards, churches and many, many living rooms.
Cardiff will perform songs from Floods and Fires and many of his previous releases in the McMahons’ living room Sat., Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. at the Short Close Song Shelter. Tickets are $20. Call 250-245-4440 for more information and to reserve tickets.