‘Canadian Folk Heroine’ is the tagline on Cara Luft’s web site. That’s a pretty cheeky claim to live up to, yet it’s a perfect way to describe Cara. She’s an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter, a plucky performer with an impish sense of humor and a founding member of two Canadian folk super-groups: The Wailin' Jennys and The Small Glories. To quote the roots magazine No Depression, “Luft has a rich tradition in folk music – it’s safe to assume that she knows her stuff – and upon listening it becomes quite clear that she is indeed a formidable songwriter and performer... [The] lovely Ms. Luft continues to hit her stride and sets the bar for the talented few who’ll follow in her footsteps.”
Born into a folk musical family in Calgary, Alberta, Cara played with dulcimers and autoharps while her peers played with Barbies and Nintendo. Music was an integral part of her growing up experience. Her great-grandfather was a vaudevillian tenor, her grandfather a jazz/big band guitarist and music teacher, her mother and aunt performed professionally in their teens, and her parents as a duo. These roots inform and charge Cara's musical being, and underscore her depth and commitment to music and to song.
Over the course of her career she has been asked to represent Canada in various international songwriter exchanges and collaborations. From touring with one of America's top bluegrass guitar players to co-writing with Britain's Folk Singer of the Year, from representing Canada in the annual Banjo Babes Calendar celebrating female banjo players to collaborating with her own folk-singing father. Cara has covered the gamut of interesting musical experiences.
In 2011 she branched out into instructing at music camps for adults and teens, discovering an immense joy and skill in helping others tap into their own creativity. Since then she has become a sought-after instructor on the North American camp circuit, often having to turn down offers due to touring schedule conflicts.
Luft has a spirit that drives her to connect with people, and for this she is loved everywhere she goes. She is one of Canada's hardest working musicians, armed with amazing tenacity, vision, energy and a contagious hilarity. Reviewers of her live shows talk about her superb musicianship, her humourous anecdotes, her ability to switch between styles, her accomplished songwriting, and the charm of her stage presence. Cara’s the real deal, there’s nothing pretentious about her. And that sense of honesty, integrity, personality and spontaneity permeates both her music and her live shows. “Long may she reign!” (Lonesome Highway)
CARA LUFT QUOTES & REVIEWS
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
“It can’t be done, so don’t even try to turn away from the affecting insistence of Canada’s Luft who sings like an angel named Joni or Alanis…”
“Luft is the perfect blend of lightness and gutsy rock chick.”
“Yes, Luft is a Wailin’ Jennys founder but so much more too, head and shoulders above most. Think Julie Miller meets Gillian Welch on a lot of this, with an occasional bit of Linda Thompson tossed in.”
"[Luft's] amiable vocals and simplistic, lush instrumentation follow that of the long honored folk tradition with a modern twist. Lyrically [she] is like fresh linen on a Brooklyn clothesline. Her writing [is] redemptive, earthy and rooted in realism…. Darlingford conjures visions of blooming flowers in an apocalyptic wasteland, gold flaked tumbleweeds on the Trans-Canadian highway at dawn and a glimpse into the fractured and glowing soul of a talented writer and performer.”
VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE
“Co-founder of the vocal trio The Wailin' Jennys, The Light Fantastic has a more rock-and-roll bent. But even with a more hard-edged veneer the basic sweetness of Luft's songs shines through. Original compositions are spiced with Celtic and Anglo/Canadian inflections that harken to her folk roots. If you liked the Jennys' first two releases, you'll love this.”
WHITSTABLE SESSIONS (UK) LIVE REVIEW
“Consummate musician and engaging raconteur, Luft is the ultimate travelling minstrel. Packing an emotional punch as she sang songs delivered straight from the heart, Cara easily connected with her audience... All of this was served on a bed of superb musicianship: a backdrop of brilliant guitar playing and many delightful moments of simply wonderful banjo playing.”
“...the strongest and most interesting release that Luft has put out yet, either as a member of the Wailin’ Jenny’s or as a solo performer… [Darlingford] showcases the myriad aspects of Luft’s musical personality, be it spiritual singer-songwriter, the folk rock guitarist or the traditional (and neo-trad) folkie… a powerful, uplifting album...”
FOOTHILLS ACOUSTIC MUSIC INSTITUTE
“Cara Luft was FANTASTIC! You would be foolish not to snap her up!”
BUDDY MILLER, MUSICIAN & PRODUCER
"Cara's record [The Light Fantastic] is great, real, and heartfelt - as she is. No fluff or extra notes - just the good stuff!"
FATEA RECORDS (UK)
“The intimate yet understated feel of [Darlingford] accentuates Cara’s own intense degree of accomplishment... this is an album you need to hear and treasure while seeking out the next opportunity to catch Cara’s incomparable presence in a live setting.”
JAMES PARTRIDGE, PRESENTER (UK)
“When Cara Luft breezes into the room and positions her multi-coloured vibrant self onto centre-stage, you somehow know that you are in safe hands by her presence and grin alone. After a musical trip taking in everything from Alaska to the Blackwater, insistent riffs still jangling in your ears and melodies stuck with you forever, you are a now a part of her world and she a part of yours.”
“Cara Luft [has written] the best album of her career... [Darlingford] is a journey from heart- break to recovery, treading the line between the personal and the universal. The rawness of Luft’s emotional state is plain, but it is framed in terms anyone can understand. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Luft’s talent stretches beyond writing and singing. She is by any measure a fantastic guitar player, and Darlingford is a how-to manual for aspiring folk players.... [it’s] a showcase for Luft’s considerable talent, and one of the best folk records of the year.”
WORLD BEAT CANADA
“One third of the founding members of the Wailin’ Jennys, [Cara’s] delivery is too gutsy, her material too close to the bone for the Jennys’ fluffy repertoire... Most impressive are the consistently excellent sonics of Darlingford. The recordings are warm and filled with the resonant isolation and emptiness of old wooden sacred spaces, betrayed only as each last note rings out, decaying into the natural ambiance. Cara’s Darlingford story should generate interest… she sure doesn’t wait to deliver the goods.”
“Darlingford is so much more than anything Luft has done before... she turns a bit of personal tragedy into songwriting gold, exploring themes of love, loss, faith, recovery and choosing a new direction with lyrical aplomb and a near-perfect understanding of musical setting, mood and composition. It is easily one of the finest collections to cross this desk in 2012, and can be nothing less than a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc. 5 stars”