Festival of Small Halls Thursday 4 April 2019
Newfoundland Canada has a storied history of stunning songwriters, poets and players. Over the course of the last decade The Once have writ and knit themselves into that story.
The story of The Once is one of growth, propelled by the rare chemistry that comes from a decade of writing and touring together. Their songs have been placed in international film and television, they have YouTube videos with millions of hits, and there’s a trail of trophy nominations and wins from the East Coast Music Awards, the Canadian Folk Awards, and the JUNO Awards in their wake.
SInce first hitting the road in 2009, The Once has earned one of the most loyal followings in the country. Ask their fans why they love the band and watch their eyes widen as the words flow. It becomes clear that The Once ain’t regular folk. They’ve built something unique within their genre, and something rare within the fan base that keeps them growing and going strong and they do not take that fan base for granted. “We give all we got to them because we know we can’t do what we want to do if they’re not with us,” says Hollett of those who have shown endless support for the group. It was this resonance with fans that launched their career and it is this deep relationship that continues to inspire the band to travel new paths, explore new territory, and create new music.
Geraldine Hollett’s voice is a large part of the band’s ethereal sound, and there is nowhere it would sit better than in between the rhythmic and supportive voices of Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale, and the lush soundscapes they build.
The trio’s instrumentation and vocals meld together like gold, building something stronger together than any one songwriter could muster alone. Their harmonies grab you by the heart, and their music melts what’s left of it.
Building on the wave of creative energy that defined their last album, Time Enough is a striking and subtle sea change for the band.
“Leaves me in a perpetual state of wistful, anthemic longing. An innocence that nevertheless leaves me with the sense that we are flirting with tragedy.”
— Jeff Reilly, CBC
“Simply put, they’re a joy to witness. Dazzling three part harmonies and a capella arrangements stoke a nostalgic longing for idyllic rural memories regardless of one’s own past. In hearing them perform, you feel like you’re a part of an alternate reality in which negativity never existed.”
— Neil Van, Live in Limbo
“THE ONCE get 3 of 4 stars in Canada’s Globe and Mail
Just as the sea refuses no river, the Once turns back no listeners. These three Newfoundlanders gracefully and evocatively offer gem-like maritime music – foot-stomping shanties, heart-rendering ballads, salt-aired interpretations (of Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen tunes) and a cappella three-part harmonies thicker than Mama Cass’s midriff. The drinkable Geraldine Hollett is the pure-voiced starlet, riveting on the soloed Marguerite. Something singular is happening here, you bet.”
— Brad Wheeler, Globe And Mail