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On their new album Luke Fraser and Sarah Frank – partners in music and in life – demonstrate what all the fuss is about.
Luke’s earthy, unadorned voice adds a touch of grit, while Sarah’s beautiful soprano, almost flute-like in its purity and dexterity, floats and dances above the arrangements.
The songs on New Shoes betray its creators’ extensive musical training, endless stylistic curiosity and love of music as a force for community-building – to say nothing of their love of the road.
Sarah wrote “The Fountain” from a friend’s journal entry about travelling in Europe. It’s a beautiful opener for the album, marked by sweet fiddle and charming harmonies.
“Train in the Night” is a nostalgic rhythm-guitar-driven number inspired by the duo’s mutual memories of growing up near railroad tracks.
“Mint Condition” was written by a Nashville-based writer friend named Caroline Spence – and performed by another friend at Sarah and Luke’s wedding reception.
“Lone Journey” is a classically-tinged arrangement of a tune by Doc Watson and his wife, Rosa Lee, that reflects on the death of a long-time partner – a song that resonated with Luke and Sarah as a young couple.
“The Scroll’s Return” was gifted to the duo by Sudbury fiddler Duncan Cameron who has a collection of fiddle tunes written specially for other musicians to borrow from. It features bagpipes by Spencer Murray, an old friend of Sarah’s and one of many members of the duo’s musical community that joins them on the record.
Other guests who stopped by the Bowen Island, B.C. recording sessions include omnipresent Vancouver Island instrumentalist Oliver Swain, CFMA nominee Sarah Jane Scouten, WCMA winner Trent Freeman (of the Fretless), Juno winner Jayme Stone, and cellist Kaitlyn Raitz – who’s been touring with the Bombadils for the past year.
The album was produced by two more musical friends: James Perrella and partner Julia Graff, the daughter of Juno-winner and B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame member Shari Ulrich.