THE FRETLESS is a Canadian fiddle foursome playing an essential part in the emerging movement mainstreaming traditional Irish music.
Through the deconstruction and transformation of typical rhythmic, harmonic and structured arrangements of fiddle styles from around the world, The Fretless is pushing traditional music to a new place and has now issued itself an atypical challenge in the mission to find and convert fans unfamiliar with “progressive” traditional music.
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Starting with its debut album in 2012, the band has steadily pushed further into the public eye, winning Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Instrumental Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Its 2014 tune “Waiving To Ryan” has topped a million Spotify plays, and in 2017, The Fretless took home a Juno™ award for Instrumental Album of The Year for its most recent full-length Bird’s Nest. With their latest recordings, instead of attempting to make a more “accessible” follow-up to Bird’s Nest, The Fretless is taking advantage of the recent recognition by releasing an instrumental album of tunes representing the player’s traditional roots. Recorded live in a barn in upstate New York before a handful-sized audience assembled only a few feet away from the players, Live From The Artfarm (2018) is the raw result of this performance.
Live From The Artfarm is a joyous recording that shows off why traditional folk music is finding an audience among the non-traditional, and also why The Fretlessis leading the charge. Among the album’s “sets” – the term used in traditional Irish music for groups of three or more tunes arranged and played together – are three new originals by The Fretless.
“Making this record was a test in getting out of the mindset of recording and into the mindset of performing,” Wright continues. “To capture the energy of a concert, we had to play it like a concert. With Live From The Artfarm, we’re so excited to share the best part of The Fretless, which is seeing us live!”