Darlingford - Cara Luft

Blue Case Tunes

A colleague of mine who blogs about the music industry, recently posted some advice for independent artists who are hocking their wares to media, labels and the rest. He suggests that in addition to having great music to share, the artist should have a great story to tell. Cara Luft’s third release, Darlingford comes complete with a charming story to back up her soulful songwriting. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about her early life; she was born in Calgary and raised in Winnipeg with a song in her heart and a six string on her knee. Sounds like nearly every other Canadian singer/songwriter’s story doesn’t it? One third of the founding members of the Wailin’ Jennys, Cara has pursued a solo career for the past 5 years or so. This is where things start to get interesting. Her delivery is too gutsy, her material too close to the bone for the Jennys’ fluffy repertoire. 2007’s The Light Fantastic was a sensational break-through. Produced by 54/40’s Neil Osborne, the disc showcased Cara’s full-bodied, rock ready vocals (on No Strength), lyrical intrigue and soaring sense of harmony. It also introduced us to her fondness of English folk music and embrace of more exotic instrumentation like on the tabla-driven Black Water Side. Despite the lengthy cast of contributors on Darlingford, the new disc feels even more personal and more spiritual than The Light Fantastic. But the real story is the cast of studios or venues where Darlingford was recorded; a chapel in the Alberta foothills, several churches across the lone prairie and, as modern technology affords the modern musician, in living rooms, hotel rooms and a huge list of studios around Canada and the US. Such geographic diversity couldn’t have been taken advantage of without Cara taking on the role of producer herself. Most impressive are the consistently excellent sonics of Darlingford. The recordings are warm and filled with the resonant isolation and emptiness of old wooden sacred spaces, betrayed only as each last note rings out, decaying into the natural ambience. And, the DIY independent approach extended to the financing for the project which was accomplished through the popular (and relatively new phenomenon of crowdfunding). Cara’s own initiative can be viewed on You Tube. Just search ‘Calling All Indie Music Angels’. A savvy marketer, Cara’s Darlingford story should generate the interest and, she sure doesn’t wait to deliver the goods. The opener, and early favorite, Only Love Can Save Me serves as a great introduction to the 13 tracks on Darlingford (a blip on the Manitoba landscape where a lot of the album was created). Celtic fans will love her reverse-gendered version of He Moved Through The Fair.