The Once

This artist performed at the VFMF in 2015

The Once (NL)


While coming out of Newfoundland’s Celtic-inspired traditional music community, The Once draws upon a range of influences. They weave together an array of musical strands in a natural and cohesive way, from the Newfoundland standard Sonny’s Dream, to an enchanting rendition of Elvis Presley hit Can’t Help Falling In Love, to member-penned originals like You Lead I Will Follow and The Town Where You Lived.

The glue that binds all the songs together is the singing. Lead vocalist Geraldine Hollett, who the Globe and Mail hailed as a “pure-voiced starlet,” is a captivating, compassionate singer who has inspired comparisons to such iconic Americana stylists as Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris. Her take on Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares To You” will make you weep. Just as important to the band’s sound are the wonderful harmonies that band-members, and multi-instrumentalists Andrew Dale and Phil Churchill form with Hollett.

In fact, it was harmonizing that first brought the three together. While part of a summer theatre company in 2006, they started singing around a kitchen table. Their chemistry was so immediate – a “light-bulb moment” according to Dale – that it led them to keep singing, and making music, together.

Over the past few years, The Once has been making a name for themselves across the country. The trio has collected a trio of Canadian Folk Music Awards, been named Newfoundland & Labrador Art Council’s Artist of the Year, and earned a JUNO nom for best Roots/Traditional album. Now, the rest of world is discovering their incandescent, harmony-rich acoustic music. They are in the midst of a staggering world tour in support of Departures, their 2014 release – taking on dates in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the UK, and across Canada.

Don’t hesitate to get on The Once band wagon. As one pundit said, “Simply put, they’re a joy to witness.”

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