MORRISBURG – “Music is always going to be my life,” said Raine Hamilton, who will be performing with The Raine Hamilton Trio at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, March 7, at 7 p.m. “There really is no way around that.”
For audiences, the wonderful part of seeing and hearing this rising young artist live at Upper Canada Playhouse will be the opportunity of sharing this passionate love of music with her.
The Raine Hamilton Trio has already made a significant musical mark. They won the Canadian Folk Music Award, 2018, for Emerging Artist of the Year; they were in the top 10 of the Earshot/Roots/Blues for 12 weeks; they have performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; their concerts and album releases have dazzled critics and fans alike.
Raine Hamilton does not fit into any conventional category.
She is an artist whose song writing and vocals have been described as evocative of both Joni Mitchell and Sarah Harmer: yet Raine’s very unique style has actually created a whole new musical category, “chamber folk.”
“I actually use that phrase ‘chamber folk’ myself,” Raine laughed during a recent interview. “I always incorporate strings, cello and bass as well as guitar into my music. I’ve been a string player from my early childhood: my instrument is the violin. I feel that there really is a natural music bridge between a singer/songwriter and chamber instruments.”
On stage, she incorporates those fascinating classical overtones into her folk music. “I find that people who are intrigued by classical music will often come to hear us. I think we have a broader appeal with our ‘chamber folk’.”
Raine is adamant that “art is for everybody”: art needs to be available to everyone.
“The arts are fundamental to human experience,” she explained. “We all express ourselves in one way or another: I really want to see excellent access to the creative skills, to see outlets open to everyone, regardless of their backgrounds. People who want to explore feelings and emotions and to express them need avenues to do that. The arts are a strong component of wellness, and allow us to transform our internal worlds. They give us power, and I think they make the world a happier place.”
Certainly she has taken her own music in what some might call unusual directions.
Raine and her fellow musicians actually took their instruments 10 stories underground to a “Cavern Cathedral” in Alberta.
“It was a labour intensive concert and challenging,” Raine laughed. “We wore coveralls and harnesses and the cavers were with us every step. We were only the second Cave Concert ever held there.”
She found the experience of playing in the deep cavern cathedral exhilarating musically.
“There was a particular, stark resonant sound as we played, but not echoey. A setting like this added a new dimension to our sound. I loved it.”
The Raine Hamilton Trio released its first album Past Your Past in May 2015. Their latest album, Night Sky, came out in March 2018. A new album is in the works for 2021 following Raine’s 2020 tour with artist Gabrielle Papillon.
“Night Sky reflects themes of connecting, connecting to yourself, to others, to making spiritual connections,” Raine said. “I explore how to forgive and to let go. Music has always been my way of expressing myself, and my songs are very personal and thoughtful, a way of looking inward. I love to tell stories, and I set a context for my songs with the audience.”
She speaks of the “magic in a live performance,” where the audience is there to listen, to enjoy. ”My music is an authentic representation of myself. Comedy is part of this since I love to laugh. But when I write and sing I also interpret the hard things, look at both sides. Something may be hard to deal with, but you also accept the joy that can go with it.”
Sandra Whitworth, chair of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, put it this way, “The Raine Hamilton Trio are all first class musicians. The strings lend her music an ethereal sound and the storytelling in the songs is matched by her funny and engaging intros between songs.”
She will be joined at the March 7 concert by Evan Lamberton, strings, and Bill Simms, cello and bass.
“They are brilliant, authentic players,” Raine said. “We’ve been on tour together many times.”
She is looking forward to coming to the St. Lawrence Stage from her home in Manitoba.
“Listening, looking inside and outside are the sources of inspiration for my music,” said Raine Hamilton, of The Raine Hamilton Trio, coming March 7.