Bow. Feet. Vox. A trifecta of talent, keeping tradition feisty.
While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world-class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion.
One might suspect a performer with as many talents as Verch would pause to take a breath, or need to somewhat compartmentalize her skills during a live performance. But on stage, Verch is almost superhuman, flawlessly intertwining and overlapping different performative elements. She stepdances while fiddling. She sings while stepdancing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
With humour, grace, and warmth, Annie Lou takes the stage with banjo and guitar, inviting you into a world of original music rooted in melodic traditions. A childhood in the heart of downtown Toronto didn’t stop this city gal from finding her country voice. Old folk, old-time, country and bluegrass is the palette with which she paints vibrant landscapes. Here we laugh, cry, dance, reflect and connect with ballads, tunes, and songs inspired by our lives and times, our ups and downs. All of this is delivered with Annie Lou’s vocal warmth, evocative of the sweet tones of Kate and Anna McGarrigle blended with the raw emotion of Hazel Dickens.
This is new music, made for a modern audience, but finding its inspiration in a time when there was little separation between performer and audience – where everyone played something, or danced to it – and where music was clearly connected to the everyday lives of the people who played it.
Annie Lou has just released her fourth album, End Zone, a gorgeous collection of new songs; most written during the last months of her mother’s life. The title track is a deeply moving exploration of that time when the end is near, but not quite. This is not a sad record – if anything it is celebratory, and full of moments in which listeners can recognize themselves.
Produced by Andrew Collins, the album features a guest cast of Canadian acoustic innovators, including Collins on mandolin and guitar, Max Heineman on upright bass and vocals, Sarah Hamilton on fiddle and vocals, John Showman and Trent Freeman on fiddle, Frank Evans on banjo, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, and Ivan Rosenberg on dobro. Real, raw, and deeply honest, End Zone is a magical addition to the Annie Lou catalogue.
A multiple nominee for CFMA, WCMA, and Juno awards, Annie Lou has toured across Canada and Australia to major folk festivals, theatre venues, and showcases. She is a skilled instructor of vocals, guitar, songwriting, and clawhammer banjo, and she regularly teaches at music workshops across the country. She is also a fine caller of southern style square dances – good times are had by all, and not a toe goes untapped!