The Small Glories are thankful for small blessings.
The Winnipeg folk duo made up of Cara Luft and JD Edwards cleaned up at the Canadian Folk Music Awards on Saturday, taking home three awards: Contemporary Album of the Year (Assiniboine & the Red, 2019), Vocal Group of the Year and Ensemble of the Year.
With their tour on hold and the entertainment world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the award nods were a bit of bright light in the darkness for the group.
“It’s really nice to get a little bit of positive news and a little bit of joy when there is a lot of sadness out there and a lot of uncertainty and anxiety,” said Luft. “This was a real nice thing, not just for us but for our community of supporters and fans who have believed in us and been behind us. It gives everybody that little ray of light. There are beautiful things and there are joyous things in our world and this is just one of many.”
Assiniboine & the Red is The Small Glories’ sophomore effort and represents a big step forward for the duo. The album is also emblematic of the group with Luft coming from Calgary and Edwards from Oshawa, Ont., the two did not meet until they met at a concert celebrating Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre in 2012. The band formed in 2015 and they have been creating music since.
“There’s a general theme on the album around home or where we are from or where we currently reside, so there’s this thread of a sense of place, sense of belonging, sense of community,” said Luft. “It’s beautiful to see how it takes people on a journey.”
The album has also earned them their first Juno nomination for Traditional Roots Album of the Year. The Junos were supposed to go on March 15 have been put on hold indefinitely because of the pandemic.
The Small Glories were just getting prepared to head back out on the road when COVID-19 hit and, like every other act out on the road, cancelled upcoming shows through April. Their next dates are in July.
A number of acts have taken to social media to interact with their base and provide free concerts for an online audience. However, Luft and Edwards have not ironed this process out yet as they live in different parts of the city and they do not have a seamless method to perform together on separate streams.
Luft said the uncertainty of what lies ahead has been difficult for the band as it has been for other groups.
“From a financial perspective it’s been quite difficult … the majority of our income comes from being out on the road,” said Luft. “When you suddenly take away 95% of your income by not being out on the road, it’s unnerving, it’s been quite frightening.”
They are in a bit better spot than some other groups as they were able to tour Assiniboine & the Red, where as other acts have not been able to take advantage of their latest releases.
Once COVID-19 lifts they will be able to tour again, but with a little more weight behind their name.
“We’re hoping the awards encourage new presenters, new promoters to take a chance on us next year when things start to get booked up again,” said Luft.