They mix Celtic, folk and chamber music and called it “rad trad” – and last night, that unlikely blend made the Fretless the big winners at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
The group, whose members come from Victoria, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Los Angeles, and who met at the Berklee School of Music and on the Celtic competition circuit, won instrumental group of the year as well as ensemble of the year for their album Waterbound. The Fretless’ Trent Freeman also won for instrumental solo artist of the year.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s the Once took home the award for vocal group of the year for their album Row Upon Row of the People They Know, which was also nominated for a Juno.
Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Rose Cousins landed contemporary singer of the year, an honour she also won in 2010.
Indie favourites the Deep Dark Woods, who earlier this year were nominated for a Juno and were awarded roots group/duo recording of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, won contemporary album of the year for The Place I Left Behind.
The awards were handed out Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John, New Brunswick, and East Coast favourites including the Atlantic Ballet Theatre and blues guitarist Matt Andersen were among the performers.
Nova Scotians Cindy Church and Susan Crowe, who had been scheduled to perform with Raylene Rankin before she passed away earlier this year, also payed homage to the late Canadian star.
Here is the full list of winners:
Traditional Album of the Year
Metis Fiddler Quartet – Northwest Voyage Nord Ouest
Contemporary Album of the Year
The Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind
Children’s Album of the Year
Henri Godon – Chansons pour toutes sortes d’enfants
Traditional Singer of the Year
Lenka Lichtenberg – Songs for the Breathing Walls
Contemporary Singer of the Year
Rose Cousins – We Have Made A Spark
Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year
Trent Freeman – Rock Paper Scissors
Instrumental Group of the Year
The Fretless – Waterbound
English Songwriter of the Year
Catherine MacLellan – Silhouette
French Songwriter of the Year
Mes Aïeux – À l’aube du printemps
Vocal Group of the Year
The Once – Row Upon Row of The People They Know
Ensemble of the Year
The Fretless – Waterbound
Solo Artist of the Year
Michael Jerome Browne – The Road Is Dark
World Group of the Year
Sultans of String – MOVE
New/Emerging Artist of the Year
Pharis & Jason Romero – A Passing Glimpse
Producer of the Year
Rob Szabo – A Natural Fact (Steve Strongman)
Pushing the Boundaries
Sagapool – Sagapool
Young Performer of the Year
Lucas Chaisson – Growing Pains