Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories are Cara Luft & JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg’s venerable West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories could almost make you believe in fate.
With a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink, and audiences feel as though they are right there on the stage with the band. It’s not uncommon for listeners to find themselves laughing, dancing, crying, or caught up in a good ol’ fashioned sing-along. Their material is welcoming in terms of subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss, and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. However, a Small Glories performance is really about what happens in-between the songs. “The feedback we get from a lot of audiences is that it’s not just about the music for them,” Luft says. “It’s the whole package.”
On record, Luft and Edwards take the musical synergy honed from hundreds of shows together, and expand it into a new soundscape amplified by pounding drums and other textural embellishments which only reinforce the magic of their innate chemistry — a chemistry labeled the “Lennon-McCartney syndrome,” by Americana UK, writing, “Some things just work together… to witness a performance by The Small Glories is a rare opportunity to experience that indefinable quality that creates perfection.”
Luft, one of the original members of folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and Edwards duplicate and reinforce each others’ many strengths and yet allow their distinct personalities to shine through, resulting in a live show that is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, as finger-picking proficient as it is relatable, and as Canadian as, well… it’s very Canadian. But that hasn’t stopped ‘em from winning over audiences from Nashville to the Australian outback. Their highly anticipated sophomore album “Assiniboine & The Red” comes out June 2019 on Compass/Red House records.
“The Small Glories’ Cara Luft and JD Edwards perform winsome, bluegrass-inflected folk-pop music that’s only deepened by their loose and lighthearted onstage chemistry. The pair’s concerts often double as comedy shows, wherein byzantine song intros somehow magnify the escapism of the buoyant songwriting.
But the music itself is no joke: Luft is a Wailin’ Jennys alumna whose work on the clawhammer banjo is to die for, while Edwards’ guitar and vocal harmonies deepen and enrich the duo’s sound.”
“Luft and Edwards sound right at home together, and they may soon join duos like Mandolin Orange and Shovels & Rope among the ranks of Americana prestige.”
“[One of the] 10 Folk Artists You Need to Know in 2019.”
GREIL MARCUS IN PITCHFORK
“From Winnipeg: Cara Luft plays banjo, JD Edwards plays guitar, and in moments they find the darkening chord change the best bluegrass—from the Stanley Brothers to Be Good Tanyas—has always hidden in the sweet slide of the rhythm, the tiny shift where the person telling the story suddenly understands it.”
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
“Can two singer-songwriters be better than one? Yes, emphatically, yes, if the two in question are Cara Luft and JD Edwards, playing and singing together as The Small Glories. It’s our loss they didn’t [join forces] sooner because Edwards and Luft are a folk-roots powerhouse... It’s magic. ★★★★”
THE AUDIOPHILE MAN UK
“'Holding On' is a thing of beauty... Floaty and sympathetic. Calming and tender. This is a song that, trust me, you really don’t want to end. Just one more verse? Another chorus? And another? Just one more? ... By the end of [this] second song you’re ready and eager for more... One of the best debuts I’ve heard in many a year.”
JENNIFER IVES, AD, LIVE FROM THE ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL
“The Small Glories are the ultimate: two amazing solo performers who somehow manage to melt into one entity, creating incredible harmonies that still raise the hairs on the back of my neck as I write.”
FATEA RECORDS UK MAGAZINE REVIEW
“… a powerful end product of what happens when wonderful artists, good tunes, great singing and inspiring energy gel, putting two of Canada's most loved and respected songwriters and performers together on one album is a masterstroke of pure genius, this album pulls out all the stops.”
“Singer-songwriters everywhere should examine this delivery of ballads and anthems dealing in the heartwarming fashion with love, ecology, and universal existential predicaments. The close vocal harmonies are clearly and beautifully intoned, and the instrumental work is virtuosic - not least Luft's clawhammer banjo.”