Craig Cardiff knows his audience

By: Meghan O’Neil

Craig Cardiff has released a new album almost ever year over his 16-year career.

“I’ve just been lucky to work on projects and continue to release them as often as I have,” said Cardiff over the phone from Yellowknife where he’d had a performance.

“An enormous benefit is not over thinking. The thing that made you excited to start the song… to not kill it with second guessing and worrying, and just let the song grow into something.”

His latest 16-track release, Floods and Fires, was released in November of 2011. This album earned him a Juno Award nomination for the 2012 Best Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo.

The Ontario-based singer-songwriter has recently started recording a double album, Love is Louder (Part 1 & 2), with an expected fall release.

Cardiff’s splitting his time between the studio a national tour. He’s in Fredericton tonight, performing at the Cedar Tree Cafe.

Along with recording, Cardiff also does many workshops at schools, camps, churches and festivals across North America.

“[...] encouraging people to write songs and make art, and all I’m doing is saying stop failing the song before it even has a chance to become something.”

A theme in Cardiff’s career seems to be going where the people are. Along with leading workshops, he’s also known for performing in alternative venues.

Earlier in his career, Cardiff soon realized traditional venues don’t always make the most sense business-wise.

“I was so excited to play my music and connect with audience and had conversations with venue owners who have to pay rent and make sure the room was filled,” said Cardiff. “If I was a new person in town, it’s not fair to them.

“Instead of worrying about a traditional venues, I would organize house concerts or [shows in] schools or churches.”

These live performances don’t halt his recordings, but instead the venues themselves tend to serve as his studio.

“I try to be mindful of costs and look at different ways of doing [recording]. A lot are live recordings and there’s an energy that happens, like comedy. Stand up wouldn’t work without an audience and it’s the same as music too.”

He begins each performance by passing around what he calls the “Book of Truths.” This serves as a public diary of sorts. In it, each member of the audience is asked to write whatever’s in their hearts. The result is a collection of stories, confessions and ideas.

In 2011, Cardiff printed his first edition of the book.

“[Some entries were about] poor decision making and unrequited love, and realizations that everyone in the room can relate to what they’ve been through.  Some truly beautiful to sometimes ugly and terrible.”

When asked if there was one entry that stuck out to him, Cardiff said, “There is one. All is well that ends well, so if all is not well its not the end.”

Craig Cardiff plays the Cedar Tree Cafe tonight at 7:30pm. 
Tickets are $14.99 in advance (taxes/fees included) available online HERE or at the Cafe. 
To download/stream Floods and Fires, click HERE 

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