These three musicians are definitely CFAs (“Come from Away”). The fact they kept their outside jackets on for the sound check should have been the first clue. Anja McCloskey (vocals, pianio and accordion) is a German American girl originally from Des Moines, Iowa, now resident in Hamburg Germany; Dan Whitehouse (vocals and guitar) is a singer song writer from Birmingham; Hannah Moulette (cello, vocals and guitar) is from Sommerset, England. How these three CFAs originally got together is probably a story worth telling but it suffices to say that this tour was probably thrown together on a whim. Anja has a brother in Vancouver and the only way she could make the trip was to tie it in with a concert tour. So she trolled through her musical friends and managed to line up Dan and, at the last minute, Hannah to commit to an off the cuff tour of Canada in ……. January!! What were they thinking? They say ignorance is bliss and it could not be more true than in this case. They landed in Canada, rented a cello and guitar for fifty bucks, borrowed an accordion, rented a vehicle with all- season radials and hit the road. On mentioning the all-season radials you could hear an almost inaudible gasp from the audience. So far they have been to Banff, Calgary, Pincher Creek, Kimberley and are heading further west for the rest of the tour – snow, ice and avalanches be dammed. So far no problems. As I said “ignorance is bliss”. Appropriately, Hannah and Anja kicked off their portion of the evening with Songbird, a charming vocal duet about traveling. Hannah, with her impish looks and demeanor could have stepped out of a J.R.R.Tolkein novel. The red cape picked up at thrift store en route was an inspired touch. The on stage persona she projected well suited her musical style. Hannah continued the show with a number of solo pieces that included The Night is Young (“and there is plenty of rum”), Devil of Mine, Circle Song, and Blood and Thunder. Anja returned to the stage for an accordion/cello instrumental entitled Seven and continued with Too Many Words, Italian Song, and, with piano accompaniment, Cross the Seas. The trio, Dan, Hannah and Anja, came together for The Calm and Instigated. The final selections of the evening featured Dan’s songs including A Light, The Fire of Lust (“an Ode to Testosterone”), Three Bodies (about tourist photographs), Born to Run, Somebody Loves You, Sleeping and probably the strongest song of the evening Why Don’t We Dance. That last mentioned song deserves a view of the YouTube version. Here are some images from an evening of music that was definitely “outside the box”.
Special thanks should go to the opening act Daze of Grace (Sharon Routley, Jubal Routley and guest percussionist, yours truly, Rod Wilson); sound techs Ray and Marty; Terry on lights; the MC Keith Nicholas, and all the staff and volunteers of the Kimberley Arts Council. Also extra special thanks should go to the corporate sponsors The Burrito Grill for feeding the musicians and Mountain Spirits for provide accommodation for the CFA musicians.