Amy & Rachel Beck, Artist of the Week
Runs Feb. 23-27
Family: a link to the past and a bridge to the future. Fitting how that short phrase works equally well in defining the songs and stories shared by Amy and Rachel Beck, who are carrying on family traditions with their not-so-traditional take on folk music – contemporary, carefully crafted, and undeniably endearing.
The fresh-to-the-fold, folk-singing sisters from eastern Prince Edward Island are celebrating the release of their latest EP, Run – the follow-up to their 2013 debut. Featuring six songs produced by fellow Islander Tim Chaisson and recorded by heralded engineer Mike Shepherd at Lakewind Sound Studios on Cape Breton Island, the collection picks up right where its predecessor left off. The songs are rooted in the traditional folk styling’s of decades past but carry more contemporary musings with catchy pop-tinged choruses and simple-but-substantial arrangements that tie together elements of folk, roots, and even R&B in a unique sonic signature. The common thread throughout is one of optimism, of promise, that’s both inviting and engaging.
Their musical kinship reaches back to their shared childhood, singing with their siblings as kids and performing with school bands and choirs in their teens; however, it wasn’t until their university years that they let people in on the well-kept secret that is their penchant for penning and performing music of their own.
In 2009, the sisters recorded a demo comprised of cover songs with a handful of their own peppered in, though their humble aspirations were put on hold by their burgeoning professional and personal lives. But family, as it turns out, isn’t just an inspiration behind some of their original songs.
Run’s sharp-but-simple production lets Amy’s multi-instrumental melodies act as the anchor for Rachel’s strong, stunning lead vocals. Amy and Rachel Beck quickly ascended to the national stage when they came out of nowhere to land a spot as national finalists in the inaugural CBC Searchlight Contest in early 2013. Since, the duo has made up for lost time by releasing their well-received studio debut and new EP within thirteen months and sharing their music with ardent audiences throughout the Maritimes.
With plenty of momentum behind them thanks to heaps of industry attention and an ever-growing fan base, Amy and Rachel Beck are set to take their songs and stories on the road throughout the Maritimes and beyond in the coming months. They’ve already performed buzzed about showcases at the 2014 editions of East Coast Music Week and the Folk Music Ontario Conference and even performed during Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Royal Visit to Canada in May, 2014.
Whether it’s just the two sisters onstage, armed with Amy’s guitar and Rachel’s mixed bag of percussion instruments, or they get a little help from their friends, few will leave an Amy and Rachel Beck performance without feeling like a part of the family – and that’s just fine with them.