The Dufraines

The Dufraines


Dramatical, acoustical, mercurial sixsome with a folksy tendency not to be afraid of being pretty. Strong vocal harmonies and an unsentimental string section. We try not to be funny, but sometimes it happens anyway.


Fighting his way out of the depths of a procrastination binge, songwriter Joshua Penslar booked a show at Toronto's legendary El Mocambo and then hastily assembled a band to play it, using a combination of connections, coercion and Craigslist. The band endures to this day.

The Dufraines aim to be pretty without being sentimental, laying dramatic instrumentation and lush harmonies over material that ranges from darkly psychological (Terese) to heartbreaking (Ghost) just plain silly (Jesus Stole My Woman). Penslar writes music with a dedication to honesty and occasionally a wicked wit, drawing inspiration from folk music (American and European) as well as a pantheon of favourite songwriters like Paul Simon, Jeff Magnum, Sufjan Stevens, A.C. Newman, Regina Spektor, John K. Sampson, and Ben Gibbard.

What sets them apart? Semi-orchestral arrangements with cello, violin and trumpet make possible some kinds of sound you don't expect from an indie folk act, and a repeat listener will be wowed by the level of attention to detail in the songwriting.


"Songs We Can Agree On", TBR February 2009
Streaming appearances of some material including "A Glass Or Two" on

Set List

Here are the original songs we do, listed in rough order of how often we pull them out at shows.

A Glass Or Two
Godspeed, General Lee!
Ghost, South to Massachusetts
A Problem Of Intentions
My Daughter's Nine
Jesus Stole My Woman
So Easy
Danny Diamond
Hassan Gets Fired
The Old Train (The Young)

A typical set would be around 40 minutes, and would include 6 or so of the topmost songs in that list as well as one or two of the following covers:

"Float On", Modest Mouse
"What Is Love?", Haddaway
"I Will Follow You Into The Dark", Death Cab for Cutie
"Mr. Brightside", The Killers