Sunday, October 14th, the Sid Williams Theatre will rock to the high energy string music of The Fretless, the Canadian fiddle foursome that is leading the way in the movement that’s mainstreaming traditional Irish folk music.

Starting with its debut album in 2012, the band has steadily pushed further into the public eye, winning Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Instrumental Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Its 2014 tune “Waving To Ryan” has topped a million Spotify plays, and in 2017, The Fretless took home a Juno™ award for Instrumental Album of The Year for its full-length CD, Bird’s Nest.

Now, just when you’d think that the band could rest on their laurels a bit and savour the Juno, they’ve struck off in a different direction with an instrumental album of tunes recorded live in a barn in upstate New York before an intimate audience assembled only a few feet away from the players. Live From The Artfarm is the raw result of this performance. This CD demonstrates why traditional folk music is finding an audience among the non-traditional and The Fretless is leading the charge. Among the album’s “sets” (the term used in traditional Irish music for groups of three or more tunes arranged and played together) are three new originals by The Fretless.

“We’ve made a record of our favorite pub tunes and have transformed them into our world of tight arrangements and intricacy.” says fiddle and viola player, Trent Freeman. “Now we are hoping to bring the current pub crowd audience, along with a new crowd, to the pub. We want everyone involved and there’s no better way than to have you in the room with us.”

Trent is delighted to be able to play with The Fretless before a hometown audience in the Sid Williams Theatre. He has, of course, performed there before as a young fiddler in the annual Telethons, but he has never stood on that stage with his own band. The plan with this show is to make the audience the fifth member of the group so that, as the enthusiastic response from the crowd grows, the band will respond in kind.

“I just want to rock as hard as I can with my friends,” says The Fretless cellist, Eric Wright, often thought of as the band’s ‘drummer’! “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt.” With three fiddle players rocking equally as hard as Eric, the Sid Williams will definitely be vibrating.

The Sunday evening show will be opened by Twin Bandit, an exciting Vancouver-based duo of singers Hannah Walker and Jamie Elliot. These delightful women will also join The Fretless for some of their songs. Check out their beautiful harmonies on Youtube.

This show will be a new experience for The Fretless as they will be playing new arrangements as well as weaving in vocals throughout their repertoire. The audience at the Sid Williams will be in for a rare treat and the boys are keen to make it their best show ever. So, sashay on down to the Sid Williams on October 14th, greet a hometown musician and take in a concert that you’ll probably talk about ad nauseum. Tickets are available at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com or at the door ( if they don’t sell out). For information check out www.thefretless.com, or Craig at 250-339-4249.

Craig Freeman