Lindy Vopnfjörð at The Bruce Wine Bar

Tonight, upstairs at the Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury, diners can enjoy two sets by a songwriter that Gordon Lightfoot has called “the greatest folk vocalist in Canada” and Jacob Dylan said is “the best singer songwriter north of Cleveland.”  The “greatest” and “the best” is a lot to live up to.

Lindy Vopnfjörð now uses his full name but he made his reputation going simply by Lindy, and before that as part of a band called Major Maker.  His surname inescapably highlights his Icelandic heritage but he is Canadian born and raised, on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.  He grew up in a family that was immersed both in the Icelandic culture and in music, and toured with his family’s band, the Hekla Singers, playing Icelandic folk songs dressed in traditional Icelandic costumes.  After his discovery of metal and punk, he moved to Victoria as a teen and formed a band with his brother called Northern Junk, which had a significant local impact.  His father was a songwriter and it was a natural evolution for him to become a solo singer songwriter, eventually relocating to Toronto, recording several albums and touring.  At the same time he gained fans among the leading young Canadian songwriters as well as listeners to CBC Radio 2.  He’s been recording under his full name since 2013, when his reputation and following allowed him to finance an independent release through crowdfunding.

This year he released his sixth full length record, “Frozen In Time”, returning to his folk roots with an instrumentally sparse production, a collaboration with Todor Kobakov, his longtime friend with whom he had co-founded Major Maker a decade ago.  The emphasis is on songwriting, with strong contemporary stories to tell, the result of working with a songwriting coach, James Linderman.  Along with love songs, he sings of escapes from North Korea, wrongful convictions in India, and tales of his Norse ancestors.

In many ways Lindy is the quintessential Canadian songwriter for the twenty-first century.  Using his full name to proudly reflect his ethnic roots also reflects the true cultural diversity of our country.  Crowdfunding as a way to finance an independent release is the way for young songwriters to follow their hearts and directly reach an audience through the Internet, which has become an essential part of Canadian culture.  And most of all, creating heartfelt, poetic songs about real things and real people, and accompanying them with simple instrumentation, is the heart of Canadian music, as our exports like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen have demonstrated to the world.

He will be playing two dinner shows tonight at The Bruce Wine Bar’s upstairs room.  Reservations are recommended.

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