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Fortunate Ones Hold Fast

Newfoundland duo build a community with thier latest album

Coming off the heels of a lengthy festival circuit this summer, the Fortunate Ones are gearing up to get back in the van and drive across Canada with support act Mo Kenney.

“Touring is what we work for. We’re creating this music to share it with people, and the response so far has been great. We’re looking forward to translating that live for people,” said singer/guitarist Andrew James O’Brien.

For those who unaware, New Foundland’s the Fortunate Ones are comprised of O’Brien and singer/pianist/accordion player Catherine Allen. They perform beautiful folk-pop anthems that range from topics related to refugees moving to Canada to the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Their origin story: “During a rehearsal for a slot opening up for Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case in 2010, O’Brien asked Allen if she’d like to sing a few songs with him, on just a night’s notice. At the time, they surely didn’t know that they were laying down the framework for one of Canada’s newest and brightest duos.

After that fateful night, Allen joined O’Brien’s solo project, Andrew O’Brien and The Searchers, and performed on his first record Songs for Searchers. It wasn’t until his backing band were unable to able to go out on the road with O’Brien that they began touring as a duo, ultimately leading into the creation of the Fortunate Ones.” – The Sound (October 2015):

Five years later, the two recorded their debut album Bliss (2015) which was shortlisted for a Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year in 2016 and won them a Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year at the 11th Canadian Folk Music Awards along with a 2016 East Coast Music Award and four 2015 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards.

This past May, the group released their sophomore LP, Hold Fast – a beautiful collection of 10 songs that were recorded with their producer Daniel Ledwell at Lake Echo in Nova Scotia. With a handful of new networks and friendships made along the way, the duo enlisted fellow Newfoundlanders Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), Meg Warren (Repartee) and Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta!) to collaborate with them on the song-writing process and had Jim Bryson, The Good Lovelies, Alexa Dirks (Begonia) and Kinley Downling (Hey Rosetta!) perform on the record.

“The cornerstone of this record was community and collaboration. When it came times to bring those songs to the record we called on some of our new friends to help us out. It was an amazing opportunity to have world class musicians come in and add their stamp to the music. It brought the record to a whole new place,” explained O’Brien.

“Our first record, Bliss, was an insular project. It’s sparse and there’s a lot of space within it. With this new record we were less concerned about being able to duplicated it live and were more concerned about exploring where the songs could go in and of themselves without anything else in mind. If the song called for a certain direction, we followed that without any pretense or notions about what it should be live.”

Allen and O’Brien have played over 300 shows as a duo since the inception of The Fortunate Ones. With this tour they are bringing along drummer Nick Coutlas-Clarke (Repartee) who, according to O’Brien “has brought the percussion and rhythm of the songs to a whole new level.

“It is still very much the Fortunate Ones, we’ve just added another layer that we have brought to the songs. It’s been a great experience.”

Fortunate Ones perform at the Partridge Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on October 16. Tickets are available at the Box Office or at firstontariopac.ca

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