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Small Glories Make the Most of Moments Others Might Skip
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The Small Glories will perform with their feel-good energy at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at The Argyros.
   
Monday, September 19, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Cara Luft and JD Edwards take their name—The Small Glories—to heart.

They revel in the small things, one time intentionally touring small halls that hold just 25 to 200 people in small, remote communities of Australia.

“We played in areas where Australians don’t go, and we met the most interesting people,” said Luft. “If we’d gone on a regular tour, we would have never met those people. We think about the small glories—all the beautiful moments in time that happened. And those are memories we will cherish forever.”

The Small Glories will look for more such moments when they perform their joyous, energetic two-part harmonies at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at The Argyros. Tickets start at $20 and are available at https://theargyros.org/calendar/the-small-glories/

Though based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Luft feels like her stop in Ketchum is part of a family reunion tour.   Though she grew up in Calgary, Alberta, her grandfather’s from Boise, she has an aunt in Coeur d’Alene and other family in Washington and Oregon, where her parents met.

She cut her teeth on the music scene early.

“My parents were a professional folk duo so we had a lot of musicians staying with us,” she recounted. “I was 6 when I got to watch Stan Rogers, a well-known Canadian folksinger, play. And I was very moved.”

Her parent, who made their living as educators, enlisted their daughter at an early age in the family band performing at a variety of festivals.

“It was inevitable I would choose music as a career. I thought I’d follow in my parents’ footsteps and get an education degree. But when I was in my third year at university, I decided I didn’t want to be a student. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a musician,” said Luft, who plays a clawhammer banjo.

Luft moved to Winnipeg, which was considered a hotbed of music and arts and culture north of North Dakota and Minnesota. She started a popular folk trio called the Wailin’ Jennys (a pun on the name of Waylon Jennings), and it went on to receive two Juno Awards. Eventually, she struck out on her own, but she soon realized she missed harmonizing and so took up with singer/songwriter JD Edwards.

“We recorded our first album but we didn’t have a name. The producer suggested small glories and told us, ‘If you don’t take it in the next 10 seconds, I’ll take it for another project.’”

Luft and Edwards jumped on it. And they began majoring in small glories, such as that of playing for the  Inuits on Nunivak Island off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea.

“We went to their schools, heard them sing for us in their native tongue, do some throat singing, play their drum, which is known as the qilaut. We shared songs and stories and it turned into a small glory of an opportunity.”

While they major in two-part harmony, Luft and Edwards also consider themselves storytellers.

“We’re never quite sure what to say so we joke. We’re very funny, very authentic and actually good musicians,” she said.

“We bring positive energy to an audience. There’s laughter, maybe some tears, a little bit of dancing. If you like acoustic music, you will like us. We’re under the folk umbrella, but we also do a little rock, Americana, country, traditional Celtic, even a little pick and holler melodies.”

The duo won the 2020 Canadian Folk music Contemporary Album of the Year, Ensemble of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. They were also named 2020 International Folk Awards Artist of the Year. Part of the reason for their success was their 2019 album, “Assiniboine & The Red,” which celebrates the Canadian Prairies, including the Assiniboine and the Red rivers.

“Alberta,” a song off that album, describes those who moved from the Maritimes to work in the oil fields in Alberta, sometimes away from their families for two months at a time.

“We write songs people can relate to,” said Luft. “The songs we do are about the different communities we’ve visited, where we played and the places we have lived. ‘Assiniboine’ is a very heartwarming album and a very joyous album.”

The pandemic proved difficult for a duo that thrived on taking their show on the road. They even had to cancel a show in Ketchum at The Argyros in Spring 2021.

“The lockdown in Canada was quite severe—we weren’t even allowed to play music together as a duo for four months. It was very lonely, very isolating and very, very painful,” said Lutz. “JD did a bunch of solo stuff. I did a bunch of solo stuff. We did a bunch of prerecorded numbers for various festivals. We made our way through it, but it definitely took its toll.

The two have been touring nonstop honoring their contracts from 2020 and 2021 since things reopened—in fact, they just got back from Denmark.

“Every time we gather together and sing together is a beautiful gift,” Luft said.

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