awcardinal
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awcardinal

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Jul
04
awcardinal @ Duncan Garage Showroom

Duncan, None, Canada

Duncan, None, Canada

Jul
01
awcardinal @ Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Jun
30
awcardinal @ Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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The 20s and 30s were a very different time for music. It was a time where many a blues legend made it big, from Robert Johnson to Blind Lemon Jefferson. The era of the blues had its heyday, and it’s always had its odd revivalist every now and then. Montreal singer-songwriter A.W. Cardinal and his backing band show that Canadians can do the blues just as well.

What makes the A.W. Cardinal band a little different is the fact that it’s a band. Blues players in the 20s struck it solo, with just their guitars. While Cardinal has some help, it doesn’t make his music any less legitimate. His guitar-playing is very reminiscent of those booming blues times, and it’s refreshing for once to hear guitar playing that is intentionally rough-sounding.

Cardinal even embraces the ethic of song lengths of back then, with most songs on this very quick album sitting between two and three minutes long. That being said, the songs feel complete.

Cardinal’s guitar-playing is naturally front-and-centre, and it helps to establish mood, such as calm and breezy in “Hangin’ At the Bottom” or slightly more melancholy like in “Sin City.” His voice also helps to carry each song.

But again, the album isn’t all about Cardinal. The backup instruments aren’t always immediately apparent on first listen, but certainly notable. Jasmine Ohlhauser provides both bass and some great backup vocals, while Christopher Donnelly brings in some welcome piano and organ, most notably in the slightly spooky song “Driftin’.” Ryan Lundy also keeps the beat with some faint percussion.

To hear the apex of Cardinal’s guitar-playing, check out either “Moon Gone Down” or “December Rain.” The album ends nicely with “Shading Tree,” which showcases better than any other song Cardinal’s pleasant singing voice.

There really isn’t anybody doing what A.W. Cardinal is doing right now. Check out the album on Bandcamp, and it’s a name-your-price download to boot.

Top Tracks: “Driftin’”; “Shading Tree”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) - Grayowl Point - reviewed by Michael Thomas


Though the posters claim they’re a trio, the AW Cardinal Band – consisting of Alexander Wesley Cardinal and Jasmine Ohlhauser – are touring the west as a duo.

“This tour was booked as a trio, but we lost our guitar player initially, so we’ve been trying to pick up musicians here and there,” said Cardinal over a beer at The Last Call. “In Red Deer and Calgary we got a drummer, we had a guitar player in Kelowna for a couple of days.

“It’s hard going to places and telling people when we can’t find another musician, that we have to do it as a duo.”

Playing 18 shows over a two-month period across Alberta and British Columbia, the band is nearing the end of its tour with a show in Canmore on Friday (Feb. 8) at the Good Earth Coffeehouse.

“I’m thinking of getting a bass kit for my foot and then rigging up a one-man-band kind of thing,” said Cardinal. “But what I’m finding interesting is the dynamics between the songs. When you pick up different people here and ther, it changes the songs a little bit, so there’s a different feel one night to the next and I like that.”

Originally from Rocky Mountain House, Cardinal has been nomadic of late, having lived in Montreal, Vancouver and various places in between.

His latest album – Stainless Steel Heart – is a mix of jazz, gypsy and old-time folk styles.

“It just came out that way – I’ve always really been interested in older music,” Cardinal explained. “I think living in Montreal and New York had a huge influence on me, because jazz is big out there.

“I’ve always been into the old, finger-style Mississippi blues, and it was a natural progression for me. It’s a huge mixture, there’s a lot of folk music too. Blues-influenced country, all that stuff comes out in my music.”

Recorded last summer in Vancouver and released in September, the album was a great experience, he said.

“I wrote them all as finger-picking style, and then translated them to comping chords, and then I went out to Vancouver and recorded it in the basement of a friend’s house,” he said. “We rented the equipment and spent a week recording, and that’s what came out.

“It was great because I had a bunch of friends play on the album and it was a fun experience. I want to put it out on vinyl, but we’re almost at the point of recording the next one.”

Ohlhauser, who grew up near Drumheller, also played on the album.

“I spent the better part of the last 10 years moving around a lot,” she said. “I was on tour with a couple of different bands, all over North America, from Nunavut to Halifax, New York and New Orleans and San Francisco and Mexico, so really all over.

“My angle is different genres of influence, a mixture of blues and jazz and folk. Now we’re just on the road, not based out of anywhere, but we’re moving to Montreal.”

Now touring with Cardinal, Ohlhauser explained it had been a great run of shows.

“It’s a good circuit, it’s a really good loop starting in Edmonton to Kelowna and back,” she said. “You can get two months’ worth of gigs in the same general area, which is hard to find elsewhere.

“It’s good in the winter, because in all the little mountain towns people are out doing winter activities, and then enjoying music.”

Cardinal echoed that it’s been a great experience.

“Wintertime in the mountains is beautiful too,” he said. “It’s pretty astonishing stuff to look at, and then we get to play every night.

“We have more contacts that we could book a bigger tour around here, but next we want to tour more east. The Maritimes are supposed to be really good too, but we know lots of people all over Alberta and B.C. and it’s good to do a tour here.”

While in Banff they played at The Beaver Bar at the Samesun Hostel and they’ve also enjoyed a number of house concerts throughout the tour.

“We just played a house concert in Calgary, and it was great, just the attentiveness. Sometimes it’s more nerve-wracking to play a house show – I’m used to playing places where people don’t listen – but it’s nice and cosy,” said Cardinal.

While they plan on heading east, the pair hope to return for another tour this summer. For more information on the AW Cardinal Band, visit their website at awcardinal.com - By Drew Hoshkiw | Rocky Mountain Outlook


Though the posters claim they’re a trio, the AW Cardinal Band – consisting of Alexander Wesley Cardinal and Jasmine Ohlhauser – are touring the west as a duo.

“This tour was booked as a trio, but we lost our guitar player initially, so we’ve been trying to pick up musicians here and there,” said Cardinal over a beer at The Last Call. “In Red Deer and Calgary we got a drummer, we had a guitar player in Kelowna for a couple of days.

“It’s hard going to places and telling people when we can’t find another musician, that we have to do it as a duo.”

Playing 18 shows over a two-month period across Alberta and British Columbia, the band is nearing the end of its tour with a show in Canmore on Friday (Feb. 8) at the Good Earth Coffeehouse.

“I’m thinking of getting a bass kit for my foot and then rigging up a one-man-band kind of thing,” said Cardinal. “But what I’m finding interesting is the dynamics between the songs. When you pick up different people here and ther, it changes the songs a little bit, so there’s a different feel one night to the next and I like that.”

Originally from Rocky Mountain House, Cardinal has been nomadic of late, having lived in Montreal, Vancouver and various places in between.

His latest album – Stainless Steel Heart – is a mix of jazz, gypsy and old-time folk styles.

“It just came out that way – I’ve always really been interested in older music,” Cardinal explained. “I think living in Montreal and New York had a huge influence on me, because jazz is big out there.

“I’ve always been into the old, finger-style Mississippi blues, and it was a natural progression for me. It’s a huge mixture, there’s a lot of folk music too. Blues-influenced country, all that stuff comes out in my music.”

Recorded last summer in Vancouver and released in September, the album was a great experience, he said.

“I wrote them all as finger-picking style, and then translated them to comping chords, and then I went out to Vancouver and recorded it in the basement of a friend’s house,” he said. “We rented the equipment and spent a week recording, and that’s what came out.

“It was great because I had a bunch of friends play on the album and it was a fun experience. I want to put it out on vinyl, but we’re almost at the point of recording the next one.”

Ohlhauser, who grew up near Drumheller, also played on the album.

“I spent the better part of the last 10 years moving around a lot,” she said. “I was on tour with a couple of different bands, all over North America, from Nunavut to Halifax, New York and New Orleans and San Francisco and Mexico, so really all over.

“My angle is different genres of influence, a mixture of blues and jazz and folk. Now we’re just on the road, not based out of anywhere, but we’re moving to Montreal.”

Now touring with Cardinal, Ohlhauser explained it had been a great run of shows.

“It’s a good circuit, it’s a really good loop starting in Edmonton to Kelowna and back,” she said. “You can get two months’ worth of gigs in the same general area, which is hard to find elsewhere.

“It’s good in the winter, because in all the little mountain towns people are out doing winter activities, and then enjoying music.”

Cardinal echoed that it’s been a great experience.

“Wintertime in the mountains is beautiful too,” he said. “It’s pretty astonishing stuff to look at, and then we get to play every night.

“We have more contacts that we could book a bigger tour around here, but next we want to tour more east. The Maritimes are supposed to be really good too, but we know lots of people all over Alberta and B.C. and it’s good to do a tour here.”

While in Banff they played at The Beaver Bar at the Samesun Hostel and they’ve also enjoyed a number of house concerts throughout the tour.

“We just played a house concert in Calgary, and it was great, just the attentiveness. Sometimes it’s more nerve-wracking to play a house show – I’m used to playing places where people don’t listen – but it’s nice and cosy,” said Cardinal.

While they plan on heading east, the pair hope to return for another tour this summer. For more information on the AW Cardinal Band, visit their website at awcardinal.com - By Drew Hoshkiw | Rocky Mountain Outlook


The 20s and 30s were a very different time for music. It was a time where many a blues legend made it big, from Robert Johnson to Blind Lemon Jefferson. The era of the blues had its heyday, and it’s always had its odd revivalist every now and then. Montreal singer-songwriter A.W. Cardinal and his backing band show that Canadians can do the blues just as well.

What makes the A.W. Cardinal band a little different is the fact that it’s a band. Blues players in the 20s struck it solo, with just their guitars. While Cardinal has some help, it doesn’t make his music any less legitimate. His guitar-playing is very reminiscent of those booming blues times, and it’s refreshing for once to hear guitar playing that is intentionally rough-sounding.

Cardinal even embraces the ethic of song lengths of back then, with most songs on this very quick album sitting between two and three minutes long. That being said, the songs feel complete.

Cardinal’s guitar-playing is naturally front-and-centre, and it helps to establish mood, such as calm and breezy in “Hangin’ At the Bottom” or slightly more melancholy like in “Sin City.” His voice also helps to carry each song.

But again, the album isn’t all about Cardinal. The backup instruments aren’t always immediately apparent on first listen, but certainly notable. Jasmine Ohlhauser provides both bass and some great backup vocals, while Christopher Donnelly brings in some welcome piano and organ, most notably in the slightly spooky song “Driftin’.” Ryan Lundy also keeps the beat with some faint percussion.

To hear the apex of Cardinal’s guitar-playing, check out either “Moon Gone Down” or “December Rain.” The album ends nicely with “Shading Tree,” which showcases better than any other song Cardinal’s pleasant singing voice.

There really isn’t anybody doing what A.W. Cardinal is doing right now. Check out the album on Bandcamp, and it’s a name-your-price download to boot.

Top Tracks: “Driftin’”; “Shading Tree”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) - Grayowl Point - Michael Thomas


The 20s and 30s were a very different time for music. It was a time where many a blues legend made it big, from Robert Johnson to Blind Lemon Jefferson. The era of the blues had its heyday, and it’s always had its odd revivalist every now and then. Montreal singer-songwriter A.W. Cardinal and his backing band show that Canadians can do the blues just as well.

What makes the A.W. Cardinal band a little different is the fact that it’s a band. Blues players in the 20s struck it solo, with just their guitars. While Cardinal has some help, it doesn’t make his music any less legitimate. His guitar-playing is very reminiscent of those booming blues times, and it’s refreshing for once to hear guitar playing that is intentionally rough-sounding.

Cardinal even embraces the ethic of song lengths of back then, with most songs on this very quick album sitting between two and three minutes long. That being said, the songs feel complete.

Cardinal’s guitar-playing is naturally front-and-centre, and it helps to establish mood, such as calm and breezy in “Hangin’ At the Bottom” or slightly more melancholy like in “Sin City.” His voice also helps to carry each song.

But again, the album isn’t all about Cardinal. The backup instruments aren’t always immediately apparent on first listen, but certainly notable. Jasmine Ohlhauser provides both bass and some great backup vocals, while Christopher Donnelly brings in some welcome piano and organ, most notably in the slightly spooky song “Driftin’.” Ryan Lundy also keeps the beat with some faint percussion.

To hear the apex of Cardinal’s guitar-playing, check out either “Moon Gone Down” or “December Rain.” The album ends nicely with “Shading Tree,” which showcases better than any other song Cardinal’s pleasant singing voice.

There really isn’t anybody doing what A.W. Cardinal is doing right now. Check out the album on Bandcamp, and it’s a name-your-price download to boot.

Top Tracks: “Driftin’”; “Shading Tree”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) - Grayowl Point - Michael Thomas


A familiar sight in jazz clubs and crowded bar rooms, the A.W. Cardinal Trio is on the road heading west and will be at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek on Jan. 21

Led by Alexander Wesley Cardinal, a Métis of Cree heritage who was born in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., the trio also features Jasmine Ohlhauser and Matt Durie.

Together the group has a sound largely influenced by old jazz swing, blues, delta, folk and ragtime and artists such as Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang, Blind Willie Mctell, Skip James and Django Reinhardt.

A songwriter and guitarist with an ability to perform a vast repertoire of original songs either solo or with a full band, Cardinal was introduced to blues and jazz first hand from professional live musicians in clubs in Montreal and New York City, where he has devoted a good part of his life.

His latest album, Stainless Steel Heart, features contemporary folk and indie artists such as Canadian Kevin Drew, while his first album, Cella Chest, was compared to early Tom Waits.

Cardinal has shared the stage and performed with many artists over the years, including Juno award winner D.J. Drace, Wyckham Porteous, guitarist Paul Pigat, B.W. Brandes and others.

He has charted in many cities across Canada on Earshot, college radio, and hit number one on CJSW Radio in Calgary.

Cardinal will be joined by bassist Ohlhauser, a multi–faceted artist and performer originally from the Badlands of Alberta.

Ohlhauser has toured extensively over the years with various bands. She collaborated, performed and recorded with Canadian music legends Bill Bourne and Wyckham Porteous in the Bop Ensemble as well as with Paul Pigat, Andrew Loog Oldham, Dave Rave, Tanya Tagaq, David GoGo, Simon Kendall, Madagascar Slim, Treasa Levasseur and Peter Yarrow.

She has been known to skateboard, hula hoop and play trombone at the same time, and says she loves Black Sabbath and Memphis Minnie. - Vernon Morning Star


A familiar sight in jazz clubs and crowded bar rooms, the A.W. Cardinal Trio is on the road heading west and will be at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Ashton Creek on Jan. 21

Led by Alexander Wesley Cardinal, a Métis of Cree heritage who was born in Rocky Mountain House, Alta., the trio also features Jasmine Ohlhauser and Matt Durie.

Together the group has a sound largely influenced by old jazz swing, blues, delta, folk and ragtime and artists such as Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang, Blind Willie Mctell, Skip James and Django Reinhardt.

A songwriter and guitarist with an ability to perform a vast repertoire of original songs either solo or with a full band, Cardinal was introduced to blues and jazz first hand from professional live musicians in clubs in Montreal and New York City, where he has devoted a good part of his life.

His latest album, Stainless Steel Heart, features contemporary folk and indie artists such as Canadian Kevin Drew, while his first album, Cella Chest, was compared to early Tom Waits.

Cardinal has shared the stage and performed with many artists over the years, including Juno award winner D.J. Drace, Wyckham Porteous, guitarist Paul Pigat, B.W. Brandes and others.

He has charted in many cities across Canada on Earshot, college radio, and hit number one on CJSW Radio in Calgary.

Cardinal will be joined by bassist Ohlhauser, a multi–faceted artist and performer originally from the Badlands of Alberta.

Ohlhauser has toured extensively over the years with various bands. She collaborated, performed and recorded with Canadian music legends Bill Bourne and Wyckham Porteous in the Bop Ensemble as well as with Paul Pigat, Andrew Loog Oldham, Dave Rave, Tanya Tagaq, David GoGo, Simon Kendall, Madagascar Slim, Treasa Levasseur and Peter Yarrow.

She has been known to skateboard, hula hoop and play trombone at the same time, and says she loves Black Sabbath and Memphis Minnie. - Vernon Morning Star


An ad in the View Weekly read “Blues Gypsy Swing Jazz Music” got me thinking about A.W Cardinal. What does a Blues Gypsy Swing Jazz band sound like? Later that night I gave their new album, Stainless Steel Heart, a listen on Soundcloud. A.W Cardinal Band is just what they promised to be in the ad. The notes picked from their instruments dare you to move with the air particles they’ve manipulated. Two of my favorites, Fester and Flume and Sin City, are songs that know they hold secrets, beckon you to come closer, to tilt your head and listen to the seductive mysteries of misery.

Last Wednesday night at The Black Dog, A.W.Cardinal Band looked as though they were playing in their living room. The band, encased by the hand rails and cushion seating that surrounded the stage, played alongside other rustic stage props, a tall orange shaded lamp sitting upon a table as well as an old brief case that held their homemade CDs, made the place feel more like a jam space than a bar.

Between the sound of Alex Wesley Cardinal’s story teller vocals that match the beckoning sound of his guitar and Jasmine Collete, a slim and classy looking woman who seems to be one with her bass, I would have never guessed that the pair had lost the third member earlier in the tour.

JesseDee, a local guitarist, stood in as their third. He was warmly welcomed by Alex who thanked him by saying, ‘there’s no better person to play who just learned the songs a few hours ago than JesseDee.’

I bought myself a copy of the new album and found the band to be friendly and approachable. When I asked about their missing guitarist Alex expressed that it’s disheartening to be missing their third. He ‘values the connection [he] can make with members of the band while they play on sage.’ That connection, he believes, turns watching a show into an experience. This was evident throughout their second set as I noticed Alex and Colette shared a great deal of eye contact as they played. Lost in the music. Lost in the moment.

This intimate stage presence was the only constant trend that followed the band to their second performance the in the Wunderbar. I have to admit, I was expecting a similar show to the night prior and was surprised when they had traded their stand in guitar player for an old friend, Amii VolkoVski, on the skins.

Aside from one drunk and disorderly that chose to seat himself on the ground side stage, swaying and singing an offbeat tune along with the music and getting subtle glances and a half laughing grin from Alex as he performed, the crowd in the Wunderbar seemed to be full of nostalgia- old friends and family out for the show.

Under the red stage light, each member of the A.W Cardinal Band was big smiles and full of laughter in between tunes. This show really was a jam session with Alex and Jasmine giving Amii an idea of the beat before beginning to play the next song. Again, I would not have realized that their third member was a stand in had I not known prior. Each song was recognizable from the album but had a fresh twist to it. Each song was a new experience.

Jasmine, especially, came to life in the Wunderbar. Be it because of a bit more space on stage, the addition of the drums, or hype from the two acts beforehand she was constantly grooving as she played, a fun girl to watch perform.

Alex, a story teller both on and off stage, also shared fresh introductions to different songs on the set list such as his feelings of revisiting a childhood house after its demolition and dedicating a song to his family.

A.W. Cardinal Band continues on their tour through Alberta and British Columbia over the next few weeks and then head back home to Montreal. However, this isn’t the last we will see of them. Keep your eyes on folk festival line ups this summer for their next western Canada appearance.





——
Jessie Peters is a student of the Professional Writing program at Grant MacEwan University. An avid traveler and live music lover Jessie spends her summer months exploring festivals across Canada and the US. She has a passion for photography, charcoal drawing, and prop spinning. - Jessie Peters


We live in a world that is over-populated by urban faux cowboys and would-be singer songwriters that pin their tales to the lazy strumming of the same basic chords. In light of all this it’s refreshing to hear a fresh voice break out of that mold and pick their path across their guitar strings, while telling tales that are based on real-life experiences; not wishful thinking.

Cella Chest is the creation of A.W. Cardinal currently resides in Montreal, but was raised in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. His weathered voice sings his life with a tone that seems to call back from the wind-blown depths of the Great Depression, but relates stories that are rooted in the present. One of the disc’s most striking moments is This House, which strips away the protective layers of age and allow a nostalgic inner child to come out, leaving Cardinal’s voice sounding as vulnerable and emotionally affected as the lyrics. Elsewhere, the modern feel of the album manifests itself on tracks like Snake Man, which features a rhythm track assembled by DJ Brace, and the harmonica-drenched take on Samhain’s Archangel which leads horror-punk out to a country crossroads at midnight. - Nostomania Records


A.W. Cardinal aka Cella Chest is a Toronto folk experimentalist who’s new record has been and will be a regular appearance on the radio show for the next couple weeks. Each song has been a pleasure to play. Unfortunately there is not a bandcamp for this fellow but I have collected some scattered soundcloud tracks you can pick through! Snake Man reminds me of a much better Moby combined with a some much better 90's grunge folk singer. Enjoy… - Argue Job


Discography

Stainless Steel Heart - A.W. Cardinal
Label: Nostomania Records – NR09-8
Format: 8 × File, Album
Country: Canada
Released: 15 Sep 2012
Genre: Jazz, Blues
Style: Gypsy Jazz, Ragtime, Folk

Cella Chest ?– A.W. Cardinal
Label: Nostomania Records – NR05-8
Format: CD, Album
Country: Canada
Released: 2011
Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country, Rock
Style: Folk Rock, Indie Rock

Photos

Bio

A.W. Cardinal has a sound largely influenced by old jazz swing, blues, delta and ragtime such as Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang, Blind Willie Mctell, Skip James and Django Reinhardt. Which can be heard on A.W.'s latest album 'Stainless Steel Heart'

This duo has a sound like a four piece blues swing band. A.W. Cardinal plays rhythm and lead guitar, Harmonica and Sings. Whereas Jasmine sings, plays Double bass, Snare drum with one foot and a Bass drum with the other

Led by Alexander Wesley Cardinal, A Metis of Cree Heritage, Born in a small oil town, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Cardinal was Introduced to blues and jazz first hand from professional live musicians in jazz clubs and crowded bar rooms in Montreal and New York City. Where A.W. has devoted a good part of his life. Cardinal has joined up with Jasmine Colette whom is a multi-faceted performer/ Bassist originally from the Alberta bad lands. She has toured extensively over the years with various bands having collaborated, played and / or recorded with such artists as. Wyckham Porteous, Paul Pigat, Bill Bourne, Andrew Loog oldham, Dave Rave, Tanya Tagaq, David Gogo, Simon Kendall and Madagascar Slim.

Together Cardinal and Colette are touring and playing as a Duo and always picking up different players making the band a duo to a quintet on any given night. Playing with seasoned musicians almost every town they play in. The instruments used are always ranging from Piano, Organ, Mouth Harp, Fiddle, Guitar, bass and Percussion. The A.W. Cardinal band plays and writes songs that have the ability to adapt to any surrounding and are enjoyed from young to old. The notes picked from their instruments dare you to move with the air particles they've manipulated. The songs Written and performed by the band beckon you to come closer, to tilt your head and listen to the seductive mysteries.