Folk Thief Plays ‘Pretty Music’

I just got off the phone with Dave Hadgkiss, the brain behind Vancouver band Folk Thief who you can catch playing Parks Alive! tonight at 9:30 after locals Dan Oig, Haley K Turner with Ray Turner, and Victoria’s Double Platinum. I catch Hadgkiss right in the middle of a flat tire and trying to wrangle together his tour posters. The timing is classic me. He laments things always start off a little rocky on tours, but agrees if you’re not a little stressed out you’re probably doing something wrong.

Folk Thief launches their cross-Canada tour with tonight’s performance in Kelowna, a tour that will take Hadgkiss to Newfoundland and back over the next two months. When asked about his return to the Okanagan — Hadgkiss was born and raised in Kamloops for the first 17 years of his life — he laughs. “I’ve actually been in the Okanagan more in the last year than the 10 since I’ve lived in Vancouver.” He goes on to wax lyrically about the smell of the Okanagan, which is this authors new favorite Awesome thing about it. He explains, “I could talk about the people, but that’s derivative. It’s easy to say the people are awesome, but people are awesome everywhere in Canada, that’s one of the best parts of touring. The people that aren’t awesome don’t usually come out.” He can’t pin-point exactly what it is about the smell, Hadgkiss muses a combination of the dry, grassy hills and the breeze off the lake, but notes it’s always made him feel special. “There’s something about the smell coming through the Okanagan after tour that’s always made me feel like home.”

Citing influences, it’s always exciting to see a few Canadians on the board and Hadgkiss pays tribute to classics like Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, but doesn’t discount one new singer in Jenny Whiteley. “I opened for her at the Railway Club and she blew my mind, she’s like Canada’s best-kept secret!” He sends cudo’s to Whiteley’s husband, Joey Wright, as well. “I think he only has one solo album and we haven’t stopped listening to it in the last month. After that show we bought all Jenny and Joey’s albums.” As if to solidify his position on Whitelely, he explains how he’s hard to please musically. “If you checked my iPod you’d see older classics; Zeppelin, Dylan, Young, and Cohen. Music that’s already stood the test of time.”

You can hear these influences in his work, which isn’t to say his music is unoriginal in any way, Hadgkiss has his own sound. I ask him to describe it in three words, he delivers honest, simple and after a pause he finishes with pretty. “I have to explain pretty though,” he adds, “this one blogger wrote a review for my album and he called it pretty like 3 or 4 times throughout. I thought it was funny and maybe an odd choice of word to use but it stuck and I was like, ‘Okay, it’s pretty.'”

Folk Thief has shared with us a song he recorded while on his last tour. The song is called The Lonesome Traveler and is available for free if you become a member of the Thieves Guild (official Folk Thief fans). If you like what you hear and want it for yourself, join the fan club. Don’t forget to head out to Parks Alive! tonight on Kelowna’s Kerry Park stage for some good, honest, pretty folk music. The show starts at 6:30pm.

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