Small Glories having big success in United States

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Winnipeg based the Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club.Small Glories make their Lethbridge debut, Feb. 9. Photo by Arron Ives
 They come hot on the heals of winning artist of the year at the International Folk Awards and getting four Canadian Folk Association Awards.
“ Winning the artist of the year at the  International Folk Awards was a real coup for us because you can’t apply for that like you do for the Juno Awards or Canadian Folk Alliance. And there were only two Canadians nominated for the whole thing — Dave Gunning and he’s amazing,” enthused Cara Luft, one half of the Small Glories, who is no stranger to winning accolades in the business as she won two Juno Awards with the Wailin’ Jennys.


 After leaving the Wailin’ Jennys, she recorded a solo album with 54 40’s Neil Osborne, then recorded the Small Glories’ debut with them as well as the current album’ “Assiniboine and the Red,” which celebrates the Canadian prairies. The Small Glories also have released two EPs.


 She enjoys working with Neil Osborne.
“Even though he’s a rock and roller, he has the heart of a folk musician,” Luft enthused.
“ He really embraces the importance of the song. He doesn’t try to turn you into someone you’re not. He’s all about getting the best performance out of you that you can and for us, after the song, performance comes second,” continued Luft, who along with multi-instrumentalist J.D Edwards, make up the Small Glories.


 There is a lot of banjo and fiddle on the CD. Luft plays the banjo, which is a relatively new instrument for her.
“ I’m a banjo player now. I’ve only been playing banjo for nine years. And my dad is a great banjo player, so I’m surprised it took me this long to get into it,” she said.
“I played guitar and some mandolin in the Jennys and when you’ve been playing the same instrument for a long time, you get into a bit of a dry spell creatively. So I picked up the banjo during one of these dry spells,” she said.
“But JD and I play some dual guitar which is a lot of fun. And we sing together,” she said.


 Trent Freeman from the band the Fretless adds extra fiddle to a couple tracks as well as members of Irish band Socks in the Frying Pan are also on the album.
“We met them at a festival in Denmark , and we had a song that just had to have Irish fiddle playing on it, so we asked them to be on the album and they said yes,” she enthused adding it will just be Luft  and Edwards  performing for the Folk Club.
“ That’s our configuration. And we make a lot of noise for two people,” she said.


“I still believe an album and a live show should be two different experiences. Though we do have stripped down music if people want to have something that reflects the live show,” she said, adding it doesn’t make sense financially to bring a big band on the road.

 “J.D. is married with three little kids at home, so I can’t just take him on the road for 10 days unless it makes sense because it is expensive for two people to be on the road,” she said.

 The Small Glories have been spending a lot of time touring in the United States.


“We can’t do these slog tours anymore from coast to coast. So we just do regional tours now,” she said.


“We really love playing the United States. When  Donald Trump got elected, we weren’t sure whether to boycott the United States. But these are the times when musicians should be busy,” she said.
“We live in tense times. People are afraid and stressed out. We can take them away from all of that, she said.


“American audiences are lovely. It‘s different. It’s a breath of fresh air. They’ll listen and they’ll cry and cheer and give us standing ovations in the middle of the set. And they’ll tell us stories,” she said.
 “They’re looking for something honest and genuine and real. And that’s what we embody,” she said, adding Lethbridge  can expect a similar show.


“We’ll be playing a lot of the new album and songs off the other album. And we’ll be telling lots of stories about the songs,” she said.
“ J.D. and I are really grateful we get to do this. It’s different when you’re in your forties than it is when you’re in your 20s and even 30s, because you don’t care what people think anymore/. We just want to keep playing. We‘re glad our music resonates with people, ” said the 45-year-old.


“We’re grateful we’re not only getting  support from our families and a fans, but the industry now as well.”


 The Small Glories play the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club, Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.


 Tickets are $30 for non members (including a year’s membership), $25  for member and $10 for students.
 Or get two complimentary tickets  by being the first to e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and tell me what Juno Award winning band was Cara Luft a part of before forming the Small Glories.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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