Craig Cardiff brings Book of Truths’ to Legacy
Thursday, Nov 07, 2013 06:00 am
“My job is to go into rooms and use music and songs as a device to connect people together…” said Arnprior, Ont. folk artist, Craig Cardiff.
Cardiff will be arriving, party of one, to Legacy Guitar and Coffee House for a Nov. 15 performance – his second appearance at the local live music venue.
Maintaining a momentum of cranking out an album a year, Cardiff is on the brink of releasing his first double album, Love is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2 Nov. 19; he’s released 15 albums in 16 years – ranging from live-off-the-floor recordings to recording an entire album, Mistletoe (Kissing Songs) entirely on an iPod Touch.
If there was ever a troubadour inspired by his fans, it’s Cardiff, who envelops his fans with his ‘warm, scratchy, sad and sleepy’ vocals, singing songs that explore and expose the human condition.
Over the years the solo singer/songwriter has built a reputation for developing close relationships with his fans, propelled by his traditional passing of the ‘Book of Truths’ at his shows, where Cardiff implores his fans to express themselves by writing something, anything in the notebook.
“I don’t care what it is – just write something true,” he emphasized. One song on the upcoming album, “Memo” was a direct result of a truth from the notebook, where one woman wrote a heartbreaking tale of the events of her family’s life over the last year.
“I wanted to find the person and make sure they were okay…that they knew this was all just noise and everything would be okay…” said Cardiff, who wrote a song in response and recorded it in two fashions on the double album – an upbeat, electric version and a more subdued, acoustic one.
Working with producer Ben Leggett for the fifth time, Cardiff prides himself in forming a strong foundation with the same producer and not “producer-hopping”.
“It’s one thing to think you can do everything on your own and it’s another to realize when you’re not as good at some things as other people,” said Cardiff on the benefits of adding a good producer to the musical equation. “There are always a hundred songs you want on an album and a good producer or collaborator helps you with that – they help you keep the voice of the album.”
A one-man show, Cardiff said it was a very different experience to bring in session musicians – making the recording process of his latest album unfamiliar and even uncomfortable.
“Suddenly I’m playing with a live band and recording…I was completely out of my element. I’m a solo singer/songwriter,” laughs Cardiff, who views the experience as a great opportunity, allowing him to “stretch out and use different chops”.
This collaborative approach helped Cardiff to wind up with a different end product than originally envisioned.
“I think it’s criminal when artists have the ‘best musicians’ in and tell them to do exactly what their vision is,” he explained, adding that it’s a waste of a musician’s talent to not allow them any creative input.
In honest folk fashion, Cardiff said he likes to “live the land – the world – of words.”
His idea of a good, strong song is if “the spine of the melody could be stripped out and the word is strong enough to support itself and communicate.”
It was more than a decade ago that he made the conscious decision to break free of the bar gigs and to opt for listening audiences. It has meant hundreds of shows in living rooms, coffee shops, kitchens, basements and even prisons – wherever he is beckoned to travel to by his fans, courtesy of social networking.
He said he likens a singer/songwriter playing for a late night, intoxicated bar crowd to a person taking the wrong medicine for the wrong illness. The Juno-nominee said his next project would take him to a recording studio in a castle in Dresden, Germany.
Tickets to Craig Cardiff are available at legacyguitarhouse.com.