Fortunate Ones - “Northern Star” (Old Farm Pony Records): The Newfoundland folk duo of Catherine Allan and Andrew James O'Brien served notice that they're real contenders with their 2015 debut album The Bliss. Nominated for a Juno, it spawned two CBC Radio 2 hits, and helped them win ECMA, Canadian Folk Music and Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards. Another career boost came from their selection as one of the three winners of the inaugural Allan Slaight Juno Master Class.
"Northern Star" is the first single from the second album, Hold Fast, skedded for a May 25 release. It is a surging track featuring the clean harmonies of Allan and O'Brien buttressed by a chorus of backing vocals. The production and mixing work of Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant) gives it a smooth and contemporary sheen, lifting it out of the traditional purist folk vein. This is more Strumbellas or Wilderness of Manitoba than Figgy Duff. Northern star is a term for the star Polaris, and just maybe this appealing cut will navigate Fortunate Ones towards that Prize.
A galaxy of East Coast stars contribute to Hold Fast, with Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta!), and Meg Warren(Repartee) co-writing some of the material. Musical guests include Jim Bryson, Good Lovelies, Alexa Dirks (Begonia), and Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!).
Look for the new material to be previewed when Fortunate Ones join Alan Doyle as the support act for his extensive North American tour, starting in Peterborough on Feb. 20 and concluding in Halifax on May 5. A full itinerary here