Over four days, I listened to many talented and skilled musicians at Canadian Blast Canada House and BBQ & Showcase. SXSW and the Canadian Independent Music Association have much to be proud of in bringing such talent to be enjoyed by music lovers from all over the world. Although I enjoyed the music and performance by all of the groups, my two favorite groups were JP Hoe and Whitehorse, both of which performed at Canada House.

JP Hoe at canadian blast sxsw canada house
JP Hoe

JP Hoe, a folk-pop musician with a guitar, adds an extra dimension to his music with a cello and violin. A smooth solo act by the violinist, immediately captures your attention and draws you closer to the music. Likewise, just watching the soft and skillful swaying by the cellist and violinist is soothing and relaxing. The other musicians on keyboard and drums equally share the spotlight to bring all instruments together with vocals to produce a nice mix of folk-pop music. All members of JP Hoe interact with, reinforce and complement each other.

Whitehorse canadian blast sxsw 2015 canada house
Whitehorse

Whitehorse, is a husband and wife team that produces outstanding folk and rock music unlike anything I have heard, or seen, before. My first hint at their talent, was the packed house that gathered behind me before they appeared on stage. Both are multi-talented musicians that not only capture and keep you close to the stage, but have you rocking and singing along with them. The intensity and attraction grow as you watch Luke start each song behind the drums and then move smoothly to strap-on his white guitar and join Melissa in an upbeat folk or rock tune. Luke is extremely talented behind his guitar and has absolutely no need to move or jump excessively to keep you connected. Melissa’s talent and musical skills are the perfect complements for this dual. Luke and Melissa’s apparel and performance are not flashy or distracting, but much like the two of them and their music, folksy and easy-going.

(photos by Rick Castillo)

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