Craig Cardiff at Petit Campus
Awe-Inspiring was He | Jesse Creatchman
It's not often that a lone guitar-slinging, remarking folk singer can captivate an audience of one hundred and thirty people to such degree that they would hesitate to make even a whisper of sound that could disrupt the silent attention being paid. Such was the case last Saturday night when Craig Cardiff took the witness stand to serenade Petit Campus with songs from the Canadian highway. The artist kicked off his 2013 winter tour in Montreal, promoting his Juno-nominated album, Floods & Fires.
One selling point of Craig Cardiff's show was his witty banter between songs. Sometimes a story from a previous tour, other times an introspective testimony, his good-spirited humour was endearing. The manner in which he would follow his musical performances with charismatic commentary and disclaimers for songs to come is a clear reflection of his musical genre. Independent troubadours who travel without a band and thus present a humble performance, must find way to hold on to a rooms attention. Craig charmed the audience with his words and took everyone on an adventure of his thoughts and experiences.
Cardiff passes around "The Book of Truths" at each of his shows. He encourages audience members to fill the pages with whatever their heart desires. Many of his songs are inspired by stories and re-occuring themes in the Book. One particular song inspired by Truths took note of all the repeated letters of unrequited love. Introducing the song, he joked of their inevitable turn into Facebook stalkers. The song I'm speaking of is "No More Love Letters"."
After the show, I had the chance to speak with Craig and asked him about his upcoming tour. He will be travelling across Canada performing fifty-five shows in sixty nights. When asked about what inspired his new album, he responded that many of the writings he found in The Book of Truths correlated with his own life experiences, especially dealing with maturing, the happiness of parenthood and being a single father. I was going to ask him for a quote to share in this review but he offered me one when discussing the inspiration for his album.
He invites audience members to write what’s in their heart in these books, and it becomes one more way to connect with audience members that he doesn’t always get a chance to talk to." Wikipedia.org
A strong singer, he manipulated his natural soft tone, understating it and at times letting it drop to no more than a whisper. His voice reminded me of a young Peter Gabriel and at times when I closed my eyes, the resemblance was uncanny. He played solo on his acoustic guitar. Mostly fingerpicking, balancing well between traditional and non-traditional chords and progressions, what stood out most from his musical performance was his use of digital loops. Recording on the spot, tapping his guitar, vocally "piffing" and "tacking" into the mic; he created grooves, beats and ambient sounds that added yet another dimension to his performance. "When people go", his second to last song of the night, utilized the loops to replicate the many layers of a catchy pop song. Always the comedian, he brought up an audience member to performance interpretive dance during the song.
"Fear is the cheapest room in the House. I wish for you better quarters."
It's a quote by Hafiz. Craig Cardiff found it in The Book of Truths.