Success Has Been Chasing The Once

Since their inception in 2004 The Once has garnered Canadian Folk Music and ECMA awards, a pair of JUNO nominations and been named Artist of the Year by the Newfoundland & Labrador Arts Council. During that time, constantly touring the North America, The U,K and Europe, they have actually been searching for their own sound.  The trio built their audience through their renditions of traditional folk tunes but with the release of their latest recording, “We Win Some We Lose”, they have added drums, electric guitars and keyboard, and put the emphasis on their original songs.

It seems as if fate has pulled them to this place.  They met a decade ago in Trinity, Newfoundland, three actors doing summer stock.  Geraldine Hollett’s voice is the pearl in the oyster, supported by the voices and instruments of Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale.  They liked the sound they made together well enough to start gigging.  One day a stranger approached them, saying, “You sound great!  Here’s five thousand dollars.  Go make an album.”  So they did.

The album did well (earning their first JUNO nomination) and they were out on the west coast playing at a Celtic festival when Nettwerk CEO Terry McBride (who many years ago discovered another east coaster Sarah McLaughlin and went on to make them both rich) heard them and said, “I’d like you to sign with me.”  So they did.

Being on Nettwerk expanded their horizons and touring.  So one day they were performing at a Glasgow Festival when they met Mike Rosenberg, who had a #1 international hit under the name Passenger with “Let Her Go”.  “Why don’t you sing on my next album?” he asked.  So they did.  Then they toured with him, opening big shows.

In addition to building their audience, he expanded their musical horizons.

“Mike has solidified in our collective consciousness that we are doing exactly the right thing because we are doing what we want to do,” Phil told Melissa Smith of The East Mag, “We write what we want, record what we want, we play our shows how we want. The bonus is that people seem to enjoy what we want to do. He’s a brave guy. He does what’s in his heart and head to do. He knows how to remain true.”

And so The Once evolved from being a traditional band to an indie band, with new sounds and a unique approach to lyrics.  They are still to some extent under the spell of their roots, such as the neat little murder encapsulated in “Last Lemonade” just like those murders in traditional ballads.  But they also look at modern life with fresh eyes, and an open heart.

Many bands struggle for years to gain acceptance and find their audience.  When opportunites come to them, seemingly out of the blue, it is a good indication that they have something special to offer.  This week at Meaford Hall you can find out what it is about The Once that has that appeal.

The Once brings their East Coast Christmas Show to Meaford Hall on Sunday, Dec. 10th, 2017, 8 pm.

Tickets are  $32 advance, $38 at the door.

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Clink on album cover to sample Christmas music from The Once

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