La Sera - Break My Heart

Sic Alps - Glyphs

This is Pop Download-o-rama

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And Now We Sing

There is something about the fall that I find particularly stirring. Perhaps it’s the explosions of unrefined colour that swathe every treed landscape around here; perhaps it’s the sense of urgency so many silvery clouds and cold frosty mornings imbue within me. I know what lies around the corner and these days feel like a series of gifts. The very ones you have to lock in your heart for safekeeping because by mid-February you’re going to need them. That is always the way.

And Now We Sing, the new record and second full length from London’s own Olenka and the Autumn Lovers feels like a succession of gifts too. Fourteen exceptional songs each comprising a small treasure that will twist around your heart and seize it from the get go. These songs, some of the best I have heard from anyone this year. (Hyperbole be damned.) This is simply one fine record from start to finish. Don’t be surprised if this one figures prominently on the Polaris Prize list of nominees next year.

Olenka Krakus, along with her band of Autumn Lovers has delivered a fine blend of Eastern European tinged folk and urban Canadiana. And Now We Sing, a collection of folk ballads and celebratory songs succeeds because of its grand diversity- Quiet as can be in one moment and rollicking in the next. I imagine this record performed around a roaring campfire- Violins and guitars drawing the listener in and around, warming and enlivening the soul with perfect harmonies. Topping it off, Krakus’ extraordinary voice and wise beyond her years lyrical capacity will leave you more than a little awestruck. With a voice that rivals the sweetest of singers (“Lark”), next delivering poetic words that cut as deep as a sharpened knife (“No Coins”). For the uninitiated, think Gogol Bordello fronted by Patti Smith with Wilco playing in the background.

Standout tracks “Motel Blues”, and my current favourite “Go” showcase the stellar guitar work of Autumn Lover Blair Whatmore. His pedal steel and guitar skillfully weaves its way in and around this record. The results add an original and entirely playful layer to augment the rich sounds of the band. 
Produced by Olenka Krakus, And Now We Sing is a powerful achievement that demands repeated listening. Your favourite song will change with every listen.  The record is a  perfect heartfelt antidote for cold nights and burning soul fires.

Lock this one in your heart too. You never know when you just might need it.


Olenka and the Autumn Lovers:

Olenka Krakus - classical guitar, lead vocal
Sara Froese - violin, vocals
Simon Larochette - trumpet
Daniel Mancini - drums
Kelly Wallraff - cello, vocals
Blair Whatmore - electric guitar, lap steel, mandolin, accordion

Occasional contributions from:

Shawn Clarke - saxophone, glockenspiel, vocals, guitar

Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, Pop Montreal 2010
Uploaded by brooklynvegan. - See the latest featured music videos.

Olenka and the Autumn Lovers have been gradually releasing And Now We Sing on a recent tour of Eastern Canada, premiering the disc in every city they visited. Now its London’s turn as their homecoming show and record release happens this Friday night at the Aeolian Hall.

From Olenka and the Autumn Lovers:
first and foremost, some of you may be aware that Friday will be Blair's last show with the band. it's sad news, but we wish him well in his future musical pursuits. we hope you guys will make an extra effort to come out and see him off.

secondly, our dear friend and bass-guru, Kevin Brasier, is taking the train all the way from Sackville, New Brunswick to join us for the show. we had the fortune of playing with Kevin during a few of our recent Maritimes dates, and we can't wait to share the stage with him again this Friday.

also joining us at Friday's show will be Shawn Clarke on saxophone, Kelly Webb on trumpet, and Christian Hegele on keys/piano. that's right! a fairly large brass contingent and a dollop of keyboard sweetness!

also, Kite Hill will amaze you. we've played a bunch of shows with them over the past few weeks, and each night they get better and more inspiring. we can't wait to share their music with you guys.

finally, Marc Gammal at APK Live has invited us all over to his lovely new venue for an afterparty. bring your tickets to bypass the line, and i think if you mention something about the show to Marc, you get a treat... or a trick, not sure. you'll have to try your luck.

WHERE: Aeolian Hall 795 Dundas St.
WHEN: Friday Oct. 29, 8:30p
HOW MUCH: $15 adv, $20 @ door

thanks for your love and support,

O and AL
And Now We Sing will be available for sale the night of the show.

Concertgoers are invited to the official after party at The APK Live (340 Wellington St. at York, downstairs). Kite Hill is also on the 9 p.m. bill at the 795 Dundas St. (at Rectory) hall. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, plus applicable charges.

Visit or or call 519-672-7950


Deb L said...

Thanks Shawn! I will be there and I might just get two cd's.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sean, with this thoughful review, you've managed to captured the poetry and the sense of season of this beautiful album. And it is a stunning album, truly showcasing the growth of this very talented band. You are right when you say that each listen brings a new favourite track. The sweeping violins, the elegant guitar-work, that versatile voice, those heartbreaking harmonies - they all work so beautifully together to make this a stand out effort.

Well done, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers!

Wandering Coyote said...

I totally am adding this to my list of "must check out."

Sean Wraight said...

Deb - Buy three and knock off some of your holiday gifting!

Barbara - Thank you so much. It is indeed a stunning album. A huge achievement for all concerned. We just need to keep getting the word out. Great music like this NEEDS to be heard!

WC - By all means. Let me know if you have trouble finding anything. We have several local record stores with it in stock. I suspect you would like this one a lot.