Juno-nominated Craig Cardiff is back in Atlantic Canada this weekend, playing shows in Fall River (today), Halifax (tomorrow) and St. John’s (Sunday).
An excerpt from the troubadour’s bio reads, “…Cardiff is considered a pioneer in alternate venue touring, often appearing in churches, camps, prisons, basements, festivals, kitchens and even taking to the streets…” This weekend’s gigs are a case in point. Tonight Cardiff will be performing in a living room as part of Point Rock’s house concert series; one of his Newfoundland shows will be at Moksha Yoga.
Last year I attended one of Cardiff’s performances at The Company House in Halifax. I had always been a fan of the singer-songwriter’s soulful voice. Hearing him live was naturally even more gratifying—one of those rare times when quality music prevents your thoughts from racing towards the future or past.
What I was not expecting—and what added the gig to my list of most memorable concert experiences—was Cardiff’s half side-splitting, half sentimental interaction with the audience. It was the day after Valentines and the romantic musician encouraged strangers to meet, and shall we say, “fall in love.” I’m quite sure I witnessed Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts, or loins, of at least one newly-introduced couple.
It was this night that I also saw audience members writing in the ‘Book of Truths’. For the last few years, Cardiff has been passing around notebooks at each of his gigs, inviting fans to share anonymous confessions and secrets—“something they might be too afraid to say out loud.”
Cardiff says around 150 Books of Truth have been filled from his shows so far. Confessions have ranged from a guy feeling nervous about his first ever threesome to someone having suicidal thoughts but feeling a little more hopeful after seeing Cardiff perform.
Cardiff posts some of the nameless notes on his Facebook page, like:
“…my worst kiss was kissing a guy with his mouth full of dorito chips. Weird!”
“You look like a bearded, folk-singing Matthew McConaughey (except better looking).”
“Truth is I have no idea what the hell I’m doing with my life…”
“I often give discounts at the retail store I work at to spite the corporation. I don’t see this as shoplifting but as a way of meeting the needs of the customer while simultaneously meeting my own.”
"My husband and I are on the verge of divorce but tonight we went on our first date in 5 months to your show..."
Cardiff’s latest album Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2 (November 2013) “has turned into a response to those stories,” says the artist’s bio. “The stories can be heartbreaking, and they can leave Cardiff wanting to do something, to find the person who wrote in his book and tell them to hold on for tomorrow, that things will be OK.”
If you attend one of Cardiff’s performances this weekend, you’ll undoubtedly here some of the tracks from his latest album, a recording completely different from his previous discs, a fusion of energetic full band-backing tracks with soothing, still soulful ballads. You might also contemplate your own truths…and maybe even write them down. ~MB
Craig Cardiff performs…
February 7: Point Rock Concerts (Fall River, NS)
February 8: The Company House ~ 2 shows (Halifax, NS)
February 9: Rocket Room & Moksha Yoga (St. John’s, NL)www.facebook.com/TheCraigCardiff