My hometown’s1 got no shortage of musical talent, and the world’s just starting to get the message. One of the bands who are just putting our city on the map is The Express & Company. Built around the musical partnership of lead singer/songwriter Dylan Ireland and fiddler/guitarist/vocalist Melissa Payne, they’re building a fanbase across the country.
One of the last things I did this year as Artistic Director for the Peterborough Folk Festival2 was awarding the PFF’s prestigious Emerging Artist Award for 2013 to Dylan; founded in 2001, the award has recognized the nascent talent and drive of artists like Serena Ryder, James McKenty, and Melissa Payne (a terrific artist in her own right, who’s currently in the studio working on her solo album). It’s clear to me that, like many of our Emerging Artist Award winners, Dylan and the Express & Company are committed to a career in music and have that extra something – that special spark that makes what they’re doing stand out head and shoulders above their peers.
With songs that feel like they’d be equally at home played ’round the campfire or in concert halls filled with fans who know every word, there is a sense of home in the music that can’t be faked. Following in the great tradition of Canadian Roots-Rock, but bringing their own distinct and often-joyous approach, The Express & Company are settling in to themselves; there’s a comfort and ease in the way they play – it all feels perfectly natural, welcoming, and fun.
They’ve had a busy year and are heading out East for a spell this Autumn, but if you’re in Toronto you can catch them at The Dakota Tavern on October 11. Or, if you’re attending the Folk Music Ontario Conference,3 you can catch them in the Seventh Fire Records Suite on both Friday and Saturday. Click belong to hear the single from their latest release!