News & Updates
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When Red Haven’s Brendan Steele and Jennifer Charters visited New Orleans in February 2014, they were struck by the spontaneity and simplicity expressed by the roving swing bands of Frenchman Street, stopping traffic every night of the week. They returned home with a notebook full of songs, and a concept for a band that would encompass the vitality of a New Orleans street party with the west-coast Canadian folk and indie music they were raised on. Long-time collaborator, songwriter Nathan Turner, picked up an upright bass, and the three began to hone their sound. One year later, Red Haven's raucous, spirited brand of folk music received funding from FACTOR, and was featured on stages at folk music festivals such as Arts Wells, Quadrapalooza, Tiny Lights Festival, and Hootstock. Jesse Thom (Dirty Grace) accompanied the band on drums for a tour, and has since joined in the songwriting process. "While also a folk band, Red Haven’s sound is decidedly different,” says Carolyn Nikodym at the Fernie Fix, “it’s more whiskey soaked and vaudevillian – a perfect Monday evening pick-me-up. The trio, inspired by a trip to New Orleans, blends gypsy jazz and indie pop melodies.”
2015 has proven to be an exciting year for the band as they completed an artist residency and recording session in Wells, BC, home of the Arts Wells Festival. During this three week residency, the band recorded their first full-length album, which was released this May. The new recording showcases the maturing style of songwriting from Charters, Steele and Turner after a year of performance and touring together across BC and Alberta. The supporting tour for the record took the band across Canada and back in collaboration with Victoria’s Dirty Grace in May and June; playing 33 shows in 8 provinces in just under 6 weeks.
Lead singer Jennifer Charters, also on sax and accordion, brings a gypsy-jazz edge to the textured folk of guitarist Brendan Steele, drummer Jesse Thom and double-bassist Nathan Turner.The lyrics dissect complex characters, relationships, alternative lifestyles and critical thinking, to a style of music that is all at once reminiscent of 1920’s jazz, 1960’s folk and twenty first century composition.
With a new record, a catalogue of over 40 original songs from 3 songwriters, a cross-Canada tour and participation in events such as the Folk Music Ontario Conference, Arts Wells Festival Jasper Folk Festival and the Island Mountain Arts artist-in-residency program, 2015 has been an exciting year of growth for Vancouver’s newest contemporary folk band. Their newest recording, “Vilified” delivers a more sophisticated sound for the group. “We’re stepping outside of our comfort zone for this album,” says Turner, “we have a little of what you would expect from us, the swing, the whisky-folk, but we’re pushing our songwriting way beyond that. We’ve all started to sound more cohesive as a group, and have learned to work with each other in a more mature way, I think it’s really going to make a difference for this record.”
Vocals, Sax, Accordion / Jen Davidson
Vocals, Bass / Nathan Turner
Vocals, Guitar / Brendan Steele
Drums / Jesse Thom