Folk music with an edge

Joanne Goodall

photo courtesy of myspace
photo courtesy of myspace


Do you like to folk?

Do like chilling in your room, listening to the sweet melodies of the acoustic guitar, the piano, and the hints of banjo and drums?

If you do, head down to Crumbs Café on Nov. 11 and hang out with the Ladies Who Like to Folk. Made up of three Alberta natives–Amy Thiessen, Kaley Bird, and Sidney York– the trio started touring Alberta over the summer and have continued since.

“When we are together, we work really, really well,” Thiessen said. “Our styles really balance each other so, we get along really great. … We are all independent singer-songwriters but then we all come together, doing all of our own things and working with each other and playing off of each other.”

The group started out as the Women Who Folk, but audiences were receiving the wrong impressions.

“We changed our name because with Women Who Folk people expected us to be a little bit more traditional folk music,” Thiessen said. “So, we wanted something a little more contemporary and edgy.”

Music is nothing new to the girls, who have been writing independently for three years. Bird was discovered after taking a gutsy move in university.

“I began playing guitar in high school and I would write songs kind of on my own, like in the basement. It wasn’t really until after my first year in university [when I started to play a lot], because I was just really unhappy for whatever reason,” Bird said. “I was unhappy with never having enough time to work on my music because I was always studying and doing other things.

I never performed in front of an audience but I thought, you know, I wonder if I even have enough balls to get up in front of a crowd and play a song? So, I went to an open mic and turned out after I played my first open mic, there was a gentleman who was booking acts in the city and he just asked me if I could do a 45 minute set and offered me a string of 8 gigs. So it just kind of snowballed from there and I’ve been doing it since.”

Music is more than just playing an instrument and writing songs to Thiessen. It is more about the emotional connection she can create by using her guitar and the words she writes.

“If you are going through something or if life is challenging, or whatever comes up, when you write you can clear it,” she said. “You can actually get into the emotions of things and say them. …I’m also really involved in yoga and healing and I find that music does that and I can take what I learned through yoga and bring that through in music.”

Bird also shares the same musical experience.

“For me, it comes off as a bit therapeutic. It’s a way for me to kind of sing what I have trouble saying,” she said. “It was initially for me but then, when I started performing it, people were responding to it. People were saying ‘I felt the same way’ and they could relate to it. It just gave it another meaning.”

Thiessen hopes students will be inspired by their show at Crumbs, but also pushed intellectually and make a connection with the songs.

“They can expect to see a fun show,” Thiessen said. “It’s like three girls that like to play folk music in different styles and you get to be inspired, which is more like my music. I tend to do inspirational kind of stuff. It’s also ironic, because you get Sidney who is really clever with play on words. This intrigues the audience more on an intellectual way. And then you are going to hit Kaley who is really going to do the dark side of life in a really beautiful melancholy way.”


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