The Fugitives, established in 2007, have released four records, which have been nominated for multiple Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Western Canadian Music Award. Their previous album, Everything Will Happen, spent ten weeks on the top ten Canadian folk charts, and earned them a support slot across Western Canada with Buffy Sainte-Marie and an appearance at UK’s Glastonbury Festival. Their follow-up, “The Promise of Strangers”, is set for release on January 26th on Borealis Records.
A folk collective headed by songwriters Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod, the band has toured extensively through Canada, Western Europe, and the UK, often joined by renowned multi-instrumentalist Steve Charles, violinist Carly Frey (Echo Nebraska), and banjo player Rob McLaren (Union Duke). Over the past ten years, they’ve earned a reputation for unforgettable live shows, brimming with complex harmonies, infectious storytelling and top-notch musicianship. As the CBC has it: “This show is simply brilliant”. Performance highlights include major folk festivals across Canada, headlining slots in overseas americana festivals, and a recently sold out run across the UK on its rural touring circuit. In 2018, the band will tour across both Canada and the EU, and venture into the United States via an official showcase at Folk Alliance.
The Promise of Strangers
The new Fugitives record, “The Promise of Strangers”, is an album of dedications – the majority of which were written for people the band has never said a word to. “No Words” was written for Leonard Cohen the day after his passing, “Orlando” is in memory of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre. “Lights Out”, the album’s closer, is dedicated to Adam Capay, the Indigenous inmate held in solitary confinement in a Thunder Bay jail for four years with the lights on. There are also two songs to fictional characters – “Till It Feels Like Home”, written for the protagonist of the hit Canadian show Orphan Black, and “Wild One”, written for the adolescent lead in acclaimed director Randall Okita’s feature film debut, The Lockpicker.
Other tracks are dedicated to friends and family of the band -- all of them navigating tricky waters. “See This Winter Out” deals with a young friend undergoing cancer treatment, “London in the Sixties” explores the potential regrets of emigration, and “My Mother Sang” is a grateful ode to the mothers of songwriters Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod – both of whom were charged with the super human task of raising three boys. In these songs, the concept of 'strangers' is more reflective of the distance time and tough circumstance erect between loved ones.
While the instrumentation on The Promise of Strangers – centered on acoustic guitar, piano, banjo, and violin – is similar to The Fugitives previous offering, Everything Will Happen, the ambition of the songwriting stretches further, and so too do the musical arrangements. “No Words” features a gospel choir breakdown, “London in the Sixties” a hair-rasing baritone sax solo, “Orlando” employs synths and effected drums, “Come Back Down” brings the tubular bells-gang vocal party, and “Lights Out” features a sweeping string outro.
Grounded by the impeccable production of John Raham (Dan Mangan, Frazey Ford), and featuring guest appearances by a host of long-term collaborators and friends, including Steve Charles, Ali Romanow, Carly Frey, and Ben Elliott, the album is a collective effort to pay tribute to the dynamic, resilient, hyper smart people who can change the course of your life. Even if you never meet. And even if they’re just made up.