Show Review: Folly and The Hunter at the Cedar Tree Oct. 17

By; Will Pacey

It was a beautiful autumn day in Fredericton: the skies were clear and blue, and the shadows of leaves being blown about by the wind danced across the walls of downtown houses. Conditions were perfect for an evening of dreamy autumnal folk at The Cedar Tree Café. Montreal indie-folkers Folly and the Hunter would be playing later that evening, with local songsmith Cedric Noel slated as the opening act.

By sundown, the weather had cooled down substantially, and the thought of warm espresso and cold beer paired with introspective folk offerings made for a perfect excuse to head downtown. At the café, the scene was dimly lit and intimate, and though it was unlike the intimate setting of a lover’s bedroom at night, the music and lyrics of the night’s performers would at times bring that setting to mind. When everyone had checked their instruments and voices, the stage was adorned with Christmas lights, and it was soon time for Cedric Noel to play.

Noel started his set in a confident yet subdued manner, jangling out chords on his electric guitar while his vocals soared and dipped over the droning rhythms. He showcased a song he wrote for an upcoming short film, and performed a set that included many newly written songs. The set seemed to follow a natural crescendo that culminated in the resounding “Sit and Stare,” and the gentler, lamenting “The River.” At the end, he humbly thanked the crowd, and it was out into the cold fall air for those who wanted a smoke break, while Folly and the Hunter began setting up.

Check out Cedric Noel’s latest record below:

Folly and The Hunter’s set began with an ambient drone and the sound of a home organ. The vocals of Nick Vallee and his bandmates soon took the forefront, drawing the audience in. It was clear that this band’s music would be something magical. After a quick microphone swap, it was on to the second song. Guitar and banjo made their first appearances of the night for the captivating and catchy “Raising the Dead.” The stripped-down sound of this band on the road was perfect for the space. Drummer Nick Scofield played his parts on a floor tom and cymbal with mallets, brushes, and the occasional egg shaker. Three-part harmonies blended well with the effected guitar and glockenspiel playing of Laurie Torres, and the banjo and reed organ work of Christopher Fox, who perfectly rounded out the four-piece as instrumentalists and vocalists. At times, the banjo could almost be mistaken for a piano in its timbre, and although the band was without a violin or cello player, the sound was nonetheless orchestral.

The band was very thankful to be back in Fredericton, and between songs the soft-spoken Vallee was sincere, while at the same time being playful with the audience. The band talked of watching A Night at the Roxbury on the DVD player in the van on their way to Fredericton, and told the audience they would be able to recognize the final song of the evening – a haunting and unhurried version of the club hit “Call your Girlfriend” by Swedish recording artist Robyn – if they were “cool enough.” And while some searched lyrics on their smart phones, it became apparent that this band had taken a song that was not theirs and very much made it their own. The lyrics were such a flawless match for Folly and the Hunter’s signature style of folk that one had to wonder how it was not one of their original songs. With one final chord, the dreaminess of the evening was over, and the audience was left to bask in its afterglow, slowly spilling out into the night.

Have a listen to Folly and the Hunter’s debut record below:

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