The Cedar Sisters: Live At Home County Music & Art Festival

Cedar Sisters

The writings of Mark Twain have led to an acceptance that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, but I am pretty confident that a third also exists!  Every summer, Team GDW make the trek to London, ON for the annual Home County Music & Art Festival, and on many occasions, our arrival (from the east) has been greeted with a heavy storm front moving in from the west – a trend that continued here in 2023. I’m guessing that Mark Twain never had the opportunity to visit London in mid July – so he may not have considered storm clouds as a life certainty… but they’re a thing.

Cue the downpour just minutes after checking into our hotel on Dundas St., leaving us scrambling to check the local weather forecast and weigh up our chances of catching some opening night festival action. Fortunately, the storm front continued in a northeast direction at quite the clip, and texts were quickly received from friends already at Victoria Park advising that the sun was reappearing, that the music was in full force, and politely suggesting we get our butts down there.

Cedar Sisters

Walking the two short blocks to the park, the audible delights from local band (and good friends) The Cedar Sisters could be heard emanating from the main stage, and like moths to a flame, we were quickly lured to the source of their amazing music. Formally releasing their debut “Love + Loss” album last year (a GDW 2022 Fave 20 Albums List finalist), the electro-folk pop duo of Elle Hermansen (autoharp/guitar/vocals) and Jane Carmichael (guitar/ukulele/vocals) is best enjoyed live – and with additional instrumentation from Kevin Kennedy (guitars) and Matt Weston (drums/synths/Moog) – the instantly recognizable sounds of “Long Road” intensified in sound as we meandered through the park to the bandshell.

With a 40-minute set at their disposal, The Cedar Sisters shared many of their radio hits from over the years – including earlier singles “Wait” and “Fire You Burn,” – and mixing in some popular covers of both Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison tunes. Combining their hauntingly beautiful harmonies on “I Drove All Night,” in particular, never fails to bring out the goosebumps. The inclusion of “Tragic Tide,” the album’s opening track, was also delivered flawlessly – and for anybody unfamiliar with, and wanting a quick crash course in their emotive, ethereal sounds, there’s no better place to start, in my opinion. The Cedar Sisters brought enough ammunition to banish the rain clouds, to draw the sunshine back out, and to satisfy the cravings of those gathered to enjoy the music – and still gave us much, much more. Home County Music & Arts Festival was finally here.

Set List:

  1. Long Road
  2. Wait
  3. Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover)
  4. Forgive My Heart
  5. I Won’t Let You
  6. Reason
  7. I Drove All Night (Roy Orbison cover)
  8. Tragic Tide
  9. Fire You Burn

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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