Over the past seven years, The Once has been quietly making a name for themselves here in Canada. The Newfoundland-based band has collected a trio of Canadian Folk Music Awards, been named Newfoundland & Labrador Art Council’s Artist of the Year and earned a JUNO nomination for best Roots/Traditional album.
Coinciding with the release of their album Departures, the trio—made up of Geraldine Hollett, Andrew Dale and Phil Churchill—traveled to four continents as they opened for Passenger, allowing the rest of the world to discover the joyous, harmony-rich acoustic music that has made them such favorites in their homeland.
While their previous albums were populated mainly with traditional folk songs or reworked tunes by Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Queen and the Strawbs, Departures holds more originals than on their other ones combined. Hollett says that the new album reflects the group ‘feeling more confident to do what we want.’
The Once remains rooted in its essential musical elements – Hollett’s incandescent voice, the trio’s gorgeous harmonies and the spirited acoustic instrumentation supplied by Dale and Churchill, who utilize guitars, mandolins, banjos and even a bouzouki to build a rich musical tapestry. Although the band has come out of Newfoundland’s Celtic-inspired traditional music community, they draw upon a range of influences that’s best exemplified by their genre-spanning cover selections.
The Once is:
Geraldine Hollett – vocals/percussion
Phil Churchill – vocals/guitar
Andrew Dale – vocals/bouzouki/banjo/mandolin