Last night in a small, softly lit concert hall in south east Calgary, 23 year old Waverly, Nova Scotia native Mo Kenney introduced her own brand of timeless folk music to a satiated crowd of onlookers. The young singer/songwriter kind of just appeared on stage, accompanied by her bass player and drummer, who was conveniently outfitted in a jean jacket and Bruce Springsteen-esque bandanna wrapped around his head. Their hour and a half set ended up being surprisingly more upbeat then anticipated- but that seems to happen when you see folk music live. There is always more energy and life to live music than in its digitally recorded counterpart. The life of the show, in this case, can be placed squarely on Kenney's shoulders. The girl is straight up hilarious, in a dead-pan, laugh with you not at you, kind of way. In between playing an upbeat set that included a David Bowie cover, she talked about living in weird apartments with bad roommates, dead end jobs and getting dumped. She had the crowd laughing and nodding along with her in a way that felt like they were saying "We've been there too". For some people those bad luck life experiences just make them bitter and angry, but for Kenney, it turned her into an award winning songwriter. Fresh off a win for SOCAN Songwriter of the year she is riding high on her success and channeling all this new found popularity into a lengthy Canadian tour. Last night's show at Festival Hall- a unique and adorable, music venue in Calgary was well matched to the musical stylings of Mo Kenney and her opening act, Andy Shauf- understated but stylish.
Her music is a wonderful mix of pop-ish folk and a little bit rock. Her collaborations with Joel Plaskett show her skills as both a guitarist and lyricist and give her a certain reputation boost in an industry that is difficult to break in to. Kenney is a fresh voice on the folk scene and we at Ladywood are more than happy to sit back and listen to her crack some well timed jokes and riff on her guitar any day of the week.
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