All The Wiles
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All The Wiles

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Band Folk

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Oct
19
All The Wiles @ United Church Of Canada The

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Sep
30
All The Wiles @ Ship Inn

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Sep
24
All The Wiles @ The Company House

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Music

Press


How did All The Wiles form?
For me, All The Wiles formed in my dreams when I was living in a fairly isolated community on the north coast of BC during the 2009/2010 school year. I was really missing St. John’s and wishing I could be surrounded by music. Playing music by yourself is important but so is playing music with your friends in the kitchen. Ben Rigby (banjo) is one of my best friends and I have played with him since the beginning. I have trouble imagining my songs without his banjo on them, so I knew he’d have to be in whatever new band I was fantasizing about. Jake Nicoll (percussion, piano) did the recording for the Dead Language album and I like how his ears and his brain work, and he’s an amazing drummer, so I knew he’d have to be there too. I couldn’t believe my luck when Billy arrived and joined us to play bass and cello. Jared (vocals, guitar) has lived in St. John’s a few times over the past number of years and we really connect when it comes to language (even though our song-writing styles are very different). I knew if I could convince him to move back here we’d have a strange and wonderful combination of people. I can’t believe that everyone actually came back and it worked out so well.

Where did the group name come from?
I’m not sure where the name came from. I mean, I’m pretty sure I thought of it, but I don’t know why it came into my head. I like the way it sounds, and I like the way it looks on the page. I like its meaning. I don’t think we’re all that wily as individuals, but as a band, perhaps our name gives us a bit of license to be crafty and artful and sly.

How did the writing process go for Painted? I’ve seen you perform some of these tunes like “Juniper” previously live solo. Did everyone come into the project with their own songs already written or was it a collaborative effort?
For this record, all the songs were written before the All The Wiles became a band. Jared and I each came in the beginning with a batch of original songs, and so far we have concentrated on those songs. However, Jake, Billy and Ben are also songwriters so I expect that with time we’ll play some of their songs and write as a group from scratch. I do play a few of All The Wiles songs like “Juniper” and “How Small” when I play solo. They sound very different when I play them on my own, and I like the idea that people can hear one piece of music in two ways; stripped down to its skeleton or layered and complex.

Can you tell us about the recording process for the album?
We booked Trunk Lane Studios for one long weekend in January. Ben was heading to the mainland for a while, so we figured we’d better get a recording done while we could. Jake Nicoll recorded and mixed the whole thing and did an amazing job. We brought all our stuff to Trunk Lane and made it our home for a few days and late nights. All five of us were there for the duration, working and laughing and eating burgers from Monroe Take-Out. It was probably the funniest three days of 2011. We went back and added some more stuff the next weekend, I think… and before Jake left to go on tour (with The Burning Hell) in the spring we did a couple of extra vocal takes in his room in the battery. Whenever I listen to the album now I laugh, and I’m not sure if it’s actually funny or if I’m having flashbacks.

Will All The Wiles live shows include some or your solo and Dead Language material as well or strictly group material?
Yes and no… As I said above, I do play some of All The Wiles tunes that I wrote when I play on my own. Our performances include songs written by Jared and songs by me, all arranged by the band. Some of the Dead Language songs are alive — I play them when I play on my own — but they haven’t found their way into the set. - The Scope


The Wiles | Painted
St. John’s folk group dig deep to their roots and let the sunlight pour in
By: Ryan Belbin Sep 6, 2011

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If you haven’t been introduced to St. John’s ensemble the Wiles yet, now’s a good time to get to know them. Songwriters Katie Baggs and Jared Klok alternate on vocals (in addition to a slew of folksy stringed instruments), backed by Ben Rigby, Jake Nicoll, and Billy Nicoll. Painted, their debut album, is a collection of tunes that are both familiar and defy easy categorization, whimsical and sombre all at once – but, with a homespun flavour permeating through each track.

It’s an album that sounds as much like a produced piece of art as a snapshot of a performance at the crowded Ship Inn or in a hushed kitchen on Prescott Street.

The Wiles are the latest in a long line of young performers to resurrect folk music traditions, infusing their arrangements with contemporary sensibilities. What sets this band apart is the way they have remained committed to authentic 1970s folk revival sounds, particularly those of the United States, with undercurrents of Atlantic Canadian music – no gimmicks or flourishes, just soulful, jagged voices, pulsing banjo in an Americana style not unlike Sherman Downey or Matthew Hornell, and a Celtic-country violin.

Painted opens with “Your Summer Dress,” a stripped-down but nonetheless boogie-worthy tune that takes heartbreak all in stride: “I guess being robbed is better than being broke.” The album is, appropriately enough, painted with similar snatches of wisdom that are poetic, but not preachy or condescending.

One of the most instantly likeable tracks is “Juniper.” Baggs wrote the song as well as sings it, an energetic longing for home over a banjo melody line and organic imagery. Her reverence for birch trees and blueberry bushes isn’t trite, ironic, or overly romanticised, however, and it’s this sincerity and simplicity that stands out. She writes in a similar manner on “How Small,” admitting her vulnerability and isolation while singing, “I tremble like an aspen / I burn like a red pine / I weep like a willow / And I sleep like the standing ghost of a tree.” It’s a haunting lyric, and the ethereal voices glide straight to the spine.

If the opening track is all about looking backwards and seeking rectification, the closing track, “Leaving Song,” is more concerned with the future, in a playful, casual way. “I pack up my satchel, my notebook and pens / A letter from my mother, some novels from my friends,” Klok dreamily muses like a modern-day vagabond. In a world of digital downloads, synthesized instruments, and frequent flyer points, the thought of folk musicians actually traversing the country in a cheap panel van and not caring how many people they played for is endearing, especially considering that the Wiles could actually convince you that it’s possible. - The Independent


A group of local musicians is about to raise the curtain on a debut album that perhaps belongs equally to poetry section bookstore shelves as it does in record shops.

With infrequent living room and small venue performances over the past year, folk-poets The Wiles have quietly amassed a following within St. John’s already vibrant literary and music circles. But the silence and intermittency will likely be succeeded with loquacity and a strong, warm presence when the group releases its emotive first work Sept. 8.

St. John’s native Katie Baggs (vocals/guitar/violin) and musical-poetical companion Jared Klok (vocals/rhythm guitar) are the writers and composers of “Painted,” but the brush strokes belong to all five members, including Benjamin Rigby (banjo) and the musically adept rhythm section twins Jake (percussion/keys) and Billy Nicoll (bass).

Klok, a farm hand from the foothills of southern Alberta, was barely into his 20s when he became a songwriting competition finalist at the Calgary Folk Festival.

The Nicolls grew up in southern Ontario and landed in St. John’s for university a few years ago. Evidenced in several shared collaborations, including their own band The Hunter Gatherers, together they share an ineffable visceral musical quality that augments The Wiles’ already intense live performances.

Baggs and Rigby were once at the core of local folk band Dead Language, which disbanded when Baggs left Newfoundland to pursue a teaching job on a tiny island off the coast of British Columbia.

It was there, swallowed up in the absence of familiarity, that the 25-year-old began pining for the rocky barrens back home, her family, and a collaboration with the friends and musicians she admired most.

Alone and in relative isolation, Baggs began conjuring some of her most heartfelt and profound poetry yet.

Admitting to a writing method that precludes any actual writing until after completion, Baggs says that her songs were written as “poems with melodies.”

“If I’m out somewhere or doing something, I’m not going to stop and sit down and write,” she explains.

“It’s easier to remember words if they have a song with them, so I usually just make up a tune to go with the words so I can remember them later.”

The songs reveal a parallel journey of a guileless inner-child navigating austere emotional terrain against vividly painted backdrops of trees, mountains and rivers.

“How Small,” a compelling and humble concession of relative insignificance, depicts a vast landscape and “the vastness of what lay before me” on her Westward travel, Baggs explains.

The Wiles — Submitted Image

“Handful of Sand,” one of the album’s true gems, “was written as an offering, as a metaphor for a relationship that could go one way or another,” she says.

“If you’re holding something in your hand it’s real and you can believe in it. But, as simple as a handful of sand, you can just let go and it can go back to the Earth, just disappear, and you can move on.”

Klok’s writing style and methods stand in stark contrast to Baggs’, a merited incongruence though owing to the pair’s symbiotic camaraderie.

“I think he writes like a grownup, and I don’t,” Baggs laughs.

A finicky writer, Klok says he sometimes sits on poems for months or years before giving them closure. The former Memorial University philosophy student infuses his writing with metaphors and obscure literary references, and tends to “take pieces of reality and distort them in some ways,” he explains.

“So if it’s personal it’s only slightly personal, if that makes sense,” he chuckles.

The album’s title track might be Klok’s most significant poetic accomplishment thus far.

“It’s something tongue and cheek, something serious and something whimsical all the same,” he says of the piece. A coming to terms with “how we treat another person and how we learn to love,” “Painted” is delicately analytical of love and romantic relationships.

“It’s the play between these things that we establish and expect and then what we can actually count on in the end, from ourselves and from another person.”

The album has no intended theme, says Klok, but in hindsight has as its leitmotif “art and creativity mixed with amorousness—love got and love lost.”

The Wiles celebrate the release of “Painted” with St. John’s performances at The Rocket Room (all-ages) Sept. 8 and The Ship Pub Sept. 9 before touring across Eastern Canada. - The Telegram


Discography

"Painted" (full length CD with prominent radio airplay)

Photos

Bio

A musical collaboration based out of St. John's, Newfoundland, "All the Wiles" pulls members and influences together from upstate New York (Ben Rigby-banjo/guitar), central Ontario (Jake Nicoll-drums/keys/vocals, Billy Nicoll-upright bass/Cello), Southern Alberta (Jared Klok-guitar/vocals) and Newfoundland proper (Katie Baggs-fiddle/vocals).

"All the Wiles" play music that is both heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek, folk music with anomalies and oddities. Subtle string arrangements meet country harmonies and get carried along by a clawhammer banjo and a confident rhythm. Geographic distance lends itself to musical diversity in an unexpected blend of words and music in the bands' debut cd "Painted".