Ottawa CityFolk Festival September 2019

Lucinda Williams-City Stage-September 12, 2019

By Abbey Wolf

CityFolf Festival Lucinda Williams September 12, 2019. Photo Abbey Wolf

Country music singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams folk-rocked the stage last night with a warm and laid back performance. 

Williams has a long-standing career in the music industry starting with her debut back in 1979 with her album Ramblin. Her accolades include multiple Grammy nominations and three wins. 

She also earned a lifetime achievement award in 2011 and its no wonder, as she is a genuine “musician’s musician”, touring with legends such as Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. 

CityFolf Festival Lucinda Williams September 12, 2019. Photo Abbey Wolf

Her songs are stories and commentary and it was clear that her mission on the stage tonight was to spread love and compassion rather than hatred and indifference when she changed some of the lyrics in her song to convey the current political tensions in the USA.

Williams mixes some grassroots country-style blues, with classic rock and even a hint of grunge. She rocked a slick black leather jacket and wielded a Gibson J 45.

Stewart Mathews – Bass
David Sutton – guitar
Butch Norton – Drums

Set List:
Can’t Let Go
Drunken Angel
West Memphis
Those Three Days
Steal Your Love
Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings
Changed The Locks
Honey Bee

Ottawa CityFolk Fest – The Strumbellas-City Stage – September 12, 2019

By Abbey Wolf

CityFolf Festival The Strumbellas, Isabel Ritchie, Simon Ward, David Ritter, September 12, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

With over 60 million hits on Youtube for their song “Spirits”, I would bet that even if you are not familiar with the name of the band, you have heard that song and probably sang along. 

Originating from Toronto, Ontario, the Stumbellas is an Indie-folk-rock band with a hint of country.

CityFolf Festival The Strumbellas, Simon Ward, September 12, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

They have a unique sound, with a multitude of influences mixed in the batch, as each member brings something different to this musical table of country, folk-rock-indie delight. 

CityFolf Festival The Strumbellas, Isabel Ritchie, September 12, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

They first hit the mainstream spotlights and hard with their sensational release  Hope in 2016 and with the success and adrenalin from that album, they continue to rise. 

CityFolf Festival The Strumbellas, Jon Hembrey, Isabel Ritchie, Simon Ward, Jon, September 12, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

This is such a fun band to see and sing along with. They certainly do know how to interact with their fans and they shed positivity and energy onto the crowd. 

Frontman Simon Ward was barefoot and comfortable on the stage wearing a loose white shirt and a brown leather vest. He is a 21st-century hippy (covered in tattoos) encouraging his fans to do the “ hippy dance” with him. Simon was friendly and humorous when he mentioned some of his music influences by saying, “ where I grew up there were two kinds of music country and hip hop”, then he incorporated some rap in the song The Sheriff with a nod to Wu-Tang.

They ended their set with “Spirit” to leave us with one of the best ear-worms of the year! 

Simon Ward- Lead vocals, guitar.
David Ritter- vocals and keyboard.
Isabel Ritchie – vocals, violin, and synth.
Jon Hembrey- on lead guitar
Darryl James – Bass 
Jeremy Drury – drums

Set List:
We Don’t Know
Young & Wild
In This Life
Left for Dead
Running Scared 
Sailor’s Blues
One Hand Up
We Were Young
The Sheriff with an added tribute to Wu-Tang Rap
I’ll Wait
Wild Sun

Ottawa CityFolk Fest – Live-City Stage – September 13, 2019

By Abbey Wolf

CityFolk Festival, Live, September 13, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

Live are celebrating 25 years since the launch of their debut and they are wrapping up their summer tour with Bush, ( also celebrating 25 years) at CityFolk. The band all looked and sounded sensational and they jammed up a storm, “lighting crashes” and all!

CityFolk Festival, Ed Kowalczyk frontman for Live , September 13, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

They started the set with Selling the Drama, off of their second album. Frontman Kowalczyk expressed how he was enjoying the vibe in Ottawa and complimented the city. He said it wasn’t at all like his home town, which was not as “ clean and pretty”. 

They proceeded to play Shit Towne and images of their town were projected on the screens behind the band. 

CityFolk Festival, Live , September 13, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

Kowalczyk’s iconic voice sounded sensational and strong as ever. The whole band was tight and the fans were giving them all their attention, singing and calling out to them.

CityFolk Festival, Patrick Dahlheimer with drummers Chad Gracey and Robin Diaz, September 13, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

 The band had two drum sets which added a nice thickness to their already perfect sound. 

CityFolk Festival, Patrick Dahlheimer guitarist for Live , September 13, 2019. Photo: Abbey Wolf

Like many other musicians who have been using their platforms to comment on the current political situation in the USA,  Kowalczyk’s statements were about the need to love one another.  He passionately said,” With everything that is going on now, (referring to the political tensions in the USA) we need to love each other as human beings.”

Ed Kowalczyk, lead vocals, guitar.
Chad Taylor
Patrick Dahlheimer
Chad Gracey

Set list:
1 Selling the Drama
2  Shit Towne
3  The beauty of Grey
4  Lightning Crashes
5  I alone
6  Operation Spirit
7  White, Discussion
8  Paint it Black (Cover Rolling stones)
9 Lakini’s Juice

Ottawa CityFolk Fest – Our Lady Peace-City Stage – September 13, 2019

By Abbey Wolf

CityFolk Fest, Our Lady Peace, September 13, 2019

A blast from the past, this 90’s group are on their way to becoming rock legends, as thousands of fans sang their songs word for word and at the top of their lungs. Maida’s voice is so unique and sweet. That edgy falsetto we all try to pull off but can’t quite. 

CityFolk Fest, Raine Maida frontman for Our Lady Peace, September 13, 2019

Maida was spirited and humbled by the turn out when he looked out at the crowd saying “ wow there are a lot of people here, this is going to be fun!” He was impressed with the city and the general atmosphere, “its a nice place to play and love in Canada.”

He mentioned his first visits to Toronto for a festival, and it was there where he was so inspired by the Tragically Hip, he said he knew then within the first 10 minutes what he wanted to be; an artistic and not a performer.

CityFolk Fest, Jason Pierce, drummer for Our Lady Peace, September 13, 2019

It is close to election time in both the USA and Canada, and as most artists have, Our Lady Peace has taken a stance and are using their platform to voice out on current issues and debates about the political administration in the USA. 

CityFolk Fest, Duncan Coutts, bassist and keyboards for Our Lady Peace, September 13, 2019

Maida noted that “we are living in dangerous times, we really fucked ourselves up.” And he urged that we all need to get back onto a better path.