Some might see JD Edwards and Cara Luft as a bit of an unlikely couple where musical collaboration is concerned.
She is a founding member of the renowned trio Wailin’ Jennys, and comes from a background steeped in classic folk and English music.
He’s a bit of a “bad boy” rocker, a guy who loves the blues, fronts his own band, yet also is trained in classical trombone
An unlikely duo, yes; but when these two artists decided to form The Small Glories, nearly three years ago, musical magic began.
The Small Glories, Cara Luft and JD Edwards, headlines the first concert of the exciting 2016-17 St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage season at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg. The show is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 8.
One of the first things I asked JD and Cara was how two artists, who appear to come from such disparate musical backgrounds, make their unique collaboration work?
“We’re both really authentic people,” Cara said, “and we don’t step on each other’s toes. Neither of us acts as a back-up: we work together. I think we are both strong instrumentalists, and both strong harmony and melody singers. We can switch up songs, switch leads, adapt our harmonies.”
“Both of us are ‘fronting’ this group,” JD explained. “We are definitely trying to create one voice out of two. We want to create something new between us while still trying to maintain our separate traditions. I say we’ve got one pair of pants between us, and we each have one leg in them,” he added, laughing.
The Small Glories’ first album is the recently released Wondrous Traveler.
“A theme we both explore in our music is the idea of home. One album song is actually entitled the “Home Song”,” JD said. “I’ve been married a number of years, and I have children. Cara has been on the move and steadily touring.” “In our album, songs revolve around belonging, groundedness, and the concept of having a place of your own,” Cara explained.
There is also a certain spiritual element in the music of The Small Glories. Both Cara and JD were “brought up in the church and sang in choirs. Singing and playing connects us with hearts and souls, with the spirituality that is part of music,” Cara said.
Neither is interested in being “pegged” musically.
Neither wants to produce genre specific songs that can lack depth and emotion, joining the ranks of what JD refers to as “morning or evening radio songs.”
The duo have been on the road a lot, crossing and recrossing the country. “We really are roving musicians and song-writers, actual troubadours I guess,” JD laughed. “So much is beautiful out there on the road, especially sharing music with the audiences.”
Cara talked about “finding families on the road. We gather with what I call our “road families” in the various cities and towns where we perform. We need these connections.”
JD and Cara are looking forward to performing at the St. Lawrence Stage on October 8.
Both are accomplished guitarists: he also plays harmonica, she the banjo. (“We believe that songs, good songs, don’t need a lot else,” JD commented.) Seasoned and acclaimed artists even before they formed The Small Glories, JD Edwards and Cara Luft will bring their new sound and a new excitement to their concert.
Opening for The Small Glories is Benjamin Dakota Rogers, an up-and-coming young fiddler, who is already racking up critical acclaim and award nominations. “He’s a powerhouse of a performer,” said Sandra Whitworth, “an incredible fiddle player with a deep, booming voice (a bit reminiscent of Jaron Freeman Fox) and a performer audiences will love.”
Tickets for The Small Glories concert are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. They are available at the Basket Case and Rurban Brewing or by contacting www.st-lawrencestage.com.