One thing we all search for in life is a connection. We’re all trying to connect with people — and to hold onto them when we do. Folk singer Craig Cardiff of Arnprior — who was nominated for a Juno Award and for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2012 — has found a unique way to foster those connections, not only between himself and his audience, but also with his fans.
Cardiff travels across North America and plays over 100 shows a year, and at each of these shows, he passes around an empty notebook he calls the Book of Truths and asks audience members to write an anonymous note in there — a confession, a story, a hope, a dream, anything. Cardiff has probably collected about 100 books by now, and he shares them with his fans to help inspire them and maybe offer them some comfort if they need it.
“I didn’t realize it at first, but this collection of songs is just really to help people be okay and to let them know to just wait until tomorrow, stay here and push on through,” Cardiff says. “Every song has that kernel of hope and joy, even if it’s not apparent at first. I think the purpose of each song is to remind people to make sure they remember that they’re okay and that things are good. Don’t give up.”
The books inspire Cardiff too, and many of his songs are influenced by notes he reads from his fans. In fact, Cardiff’s newest double album – the self-released Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2, is a response to the Book of Truths! To all the people who write about going through difficult times, wanting to end their lives, being lonely or afraid, these songs offer a glimmer of hope.
Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) is one-part stripped-down recordings and one-part full band recordings. Some songs are even featured on both albums, offering two totally different versions. This double album offers 21 tracks that are connected by an underlying sense that better days lie ahead.
Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) is quite different and more ambitious than what Cardiff has done before, and his producers really pushed him outside his comfort zone on this project. Cardiff worked once again with Ben Leggett and Andre Wahl, who produced his Juno-nominated and Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated CD Floods and Fires, and he even took a hand in the production side for the first time, arranging cello parts, for example, which he really enjoyed. Much of the album was recorded in Cardiff’s home studio in Arnprior — which he and Leggett built in 2010/11 during the recording of Floods and Fires.
The double album is also one-part boisterous group sing-along, one-part gentle lullaby. One album features full live band recordings, while the other is more subdued, with acoustic guitar, cello, clarinet and violin. The album has been climbing the iTunes singer-songwriter charts since its release, and it went as high as No. 8 — it was the only Canadian independent album in the Top 20 for quite a while!
Cardiff makes his career work from Arnprior and is able to balance performing and touring with running an agency (Partick Artists in Ottawa, which books shows and workshops for artists).
For more information about Cardiff, visit www.craigcardiff.com