Preview: Artists from near and far flock to Shivering Songs

(Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Familiar folksy tunes will start floating around downtown Fredericton this Thursday as part of the city’s annual Shivering Songs Festival, which takes place from Jan. 18 to 20.

The festival will feature headliners like David Myles, Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta! performing his first solo performance and The Hypochondriacs.

Nova Scotia singer Reeny Smith will be performing at the Boyce Farmers Market on Sunday at 10 a.m. as part of the festival.

“It’s going to be cool to get back to Fredericton and play some tunes,” Smith said.

This is her first time back in Fredericton since performing at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in September. This is her first time both performing at and attending Shivering Songs.

She’s looking forward to sharing her music. This time around, she and two others will be singing with her, rather than the whole band she had with her at Harvest.

“It’s just a different kind of atmosphere and vibe … so I’m excited about coming down and showing people something different.”

The 25-year-old singer has been referred to as the Alicia Keys of Canada.

“It’s definitely a great feeling when people see your work and they think that it’s at a level that’s just as high as some people who are very, very popular in our times, but for me, this is just something that I love to do … I just love to make music,” Smith said.

Prince Edward Islander and singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan, who will be performing at Wilmot Church at 8 p.m. on Friday, said she’s excited to return to Fredericton.

“It’s definitely one of my favourite festivals and definitely my favourite winter festival. It’s just so lovely,” MacLellan said. “I can’t wait to come back to Fredericton.”

She’s excited to put on the show she’s performed all summer — the songs and stories of her father’s life. Catherine MacLellan is the daughter of famous Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan, who died when Catherine was in her mid-teens.

“It wasn’t until I started playing music that I realized he was casting such a long shadow,” MacLellan said. “I didn’t really think of him as a musician — I just thought of him as my dad.”

There will be 26 performers at three main venues: Wilmot United Church, the Charlotte Street Arts Centre and the Fredericton Boyce Farmer’s Market.

The festival will also feature an outdoor stage outside the library — something it has not done in previous years. The Hypochondriacs and Sleepy Driver will be performing a free show on the stage from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Brendan MaGee, co-producer of the festival, said they always aim to attract more people each year.

“Each year that’s the goal — to get new people involved in the festival and reach out to different demographics,” MaGee said. “Probably the most important thing to us is trying to get people from all different backgrounds, all different income levels … try to be as inclusionary as possible.”

Shivering Songs started off as a small folk festival to celebrate the album release for a local music group and is now sliding into its eighth year.

“It’s always been inspiring to come to Fredericton and a festival like Shivering Songs really brings the community together, especially at a time of year like this when people are more prone to stay inside their houses,” MacLellan said.

“I think it’s really important to get out and be with one another and listen to music.”