You can never really escape music.
I went to Canada on a family holiday recently (suffering extreme jet lag on my return), and try as hard as I might to give my ears and brain a rest from music – it found me (and in a very peculiar place indeed).
Picture this scene: you and your family are in a big, empty room in a golf club, clubhouse that is covered in snow in beautiful, March-time Canada. You’ve come to gorge yourself on masses of fondue on this: one of the final days of your holiday. Sitting in this room with you, however, is a lonesome musician that begins to strum and sing some recognisable covers out the corner of your eye; and boy does he have a good voice. Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Coldplay, and a ton of more traditional songs that I should probably know – the variety and his reconstruction of his covers was impressive indeed.
I find myself feeling uneasy in situations like this. It isn’t one of those relaxed situations that you can applaud or go have a drink with the guy – this is a fairly swanky restaurant where everything is very proper and ‘just right’ – and so more likely than not, you come across as unappreciative and appearing not to have even noticed the guy. I HATE looking like that, and have been on the receiving end of it too many times myself. So at the end of our meal, we politely applauded the guy and told him how much we liked his voice, to which he seemed very grateful and gave us a CD of his.
Lo and behold: this guy can write great music too.
Luca Fogale is a young twenty-something folk singer from Canada (surprise surprise). ‘Paths’, his EP, was released in September of last year, and it is a beautiful, stripped down record for any acoustic or folk fans out there. Once again, folk isn’t exactly my strong suit, but to me it has the same energy of Nu-folk bands like Mumford and Sons (albeit without the extra instruments), mixed with the delicate picking patterns of Newton Faulkner, and the unique, twangy voice of Paolo Nutini. Sure there is quite a bit of this around at the moment, but from reading his biography, watching his live Youtube video and the music video for ‘What I Came Here For’ – the guy deserves a mention for his drive and the effort he has put in to his art.
The one thing that stood out it Luca’s biography was his passion for poetry. Even on first listen, this comes across, as although he is singing about every day issues, there is a thoughtful and intellectual slant to his lyrics that keeps him one step ahead of many of his counterparts. The themes are recognisable, but the words are crafted with wonderful precision and thought. He comes across as genuinely honest and kind, which will get him a long way once he gets noticed I’m sure. Watch the video for his latest single as well, and you will see that he is indeed a very nice person. (In fact: all of the Canadians we met were very nice, kind-hearted people – I recommend travelling there if you’ve never been!)
His guitar playing skills should also be recognised as the way he utilises the ‘open tuning’ of his guitar is fairly masterfully done. Intricate picking patterns are dotted with moments that wake you up to what you’re hearing, whilst the overall composition is very complimentary to his voice and singing style.
Overall, I am both pleasantly surprised, and not surprised at all that Luca’s EP is as good as it is. There were a lot of cover-bands playing around the resort on my holiday, and yet he was the only one that stood out and made me listen. I trust that gut instinct. The lyrics and vocals in his music are absolutely top notch, and I’m sure that fans of folk music will absolutely love this in their collection. I would like to have seen what Luca could have achieved if he had perhaps done a duet with a female voice, or included some drums and bass in a couple of his songs, but as a benchmark for a solo musician – this is great.