The Fugitives, established in 2007, have released four records, which have been nominated for multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Western Canadian Music Award. Their previous album, Everything Will Happen, spent ten weeks on the top ten Canadian folk charts, and
earned them a support slot across Western Canada with Buffy Sainte-Marie and an appearance at UK’s Glastonbury Festival. Their follow-up, “The Promise of Strangers”, is set for release on January 26th on Borealis Records.
Many of the tracks on “The Promise of Strangers” are dedicated to people the band has never met. “No Words” is a raw outpouring of grief, written the day after Leonard Cohen’s death. “Lights Out” is dedicated to Adam Capay, the Indigenous inmate held in solitary confinement in a Thunder Bay jail for four years with the lights on. There are two songs to fictional characters – “Till It Feels Like Home”, written for the protagonist of the hit Canadian show Orphan Black, and “Wild One”, written for the adolescent lead in acclaimed director Randall Okita’s feature film debut, The Lockpicker.
In the songs dedicated to friends and family of the band, the concept of strange navigates to the situation involved. “See This Winter Out” deals with a close friend navigating the tricky waters of cancer treatment, “London in the Sixties” deal with immgration, and “My Mother Sang” deals with the age old predicament of a mother raising three sons – which both Adrian and Brendan’s Moms have in common.
While steeped in the similar traditional instrumentation of banjo, violin, guitar, piano the band employed on Everything Will Happen, the ambition of the songwriting stretches further, and so too do the musical arrangements. “No Words” features a gospel choir breakdown, “London in the Sixties” has an off the hook baritone sax solo, “Orlando” employs synths and effected drums, “Come Back Down” brings the tubular bells-gang vocal party, and “Lights Out” features a sweeping string outro. The musical goal here is the same as the storytelling one – to use proper intention and energy to close the distance between disparate elements in order to move forward with a brand new story.
Praise for The Fugitives “Despite their all-acoustic lineup, the Fugitives bring enough energy to the stage to light up a small city… The East Van quartet conjures up a sound that’s like the missing link between Leonard Cohen, the Pogues, and the immortal Shorty Shitstain.”
“The Fugitives are capable of achieving dizzying, Arcade Fire-ish crescendos, replete with parallel melodies, complex harmonies and brimming torrents of emotion.”
“This show is simply brilliant.”
“The four part vocals are sensational…each of these Fugitives has the talent, voice and charisma to front their own band.”
“A sold-out crowd was fed harmonious chants and folksy carols…the music had us glued to our seats”
“No one word really captures everything the members can do”