Ben Caplan is a songwriter, performer and entertainer in the most time-honoured sense of the word. From the moment he walks onto the stage, you are filled with his infectious spirit, and captivating presence. You can feel Caplan's comfort and ease as he strides in front of the crowd and begins the controlled collective descent into chaos. In his latest project, Ben Caplan explores themes of immigration, loss, darkness, love, sex, and God. Caplan is touring with a fresh batch of songs which were originally composed and compiled for a new musical play called Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story. The award-winning play had its international debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won top festival honours and has been a smash hit. The play has toured internationally including a seven-week run Off Broadway where it picked up a New York Times Critic's Pick, and six Drama Desk Award nominations, among other accolades. Between performances of the play, Caplan has been hitting the road to play concerts across Europe, Australia, and North America with a new lineup of musicians. The music from his theatre production has been turned into Caplan's third studio album, titled Old Stock. The sound is rooted in Caplan's resonant baritone voice, supported with the sounds of piano, accordion, organ, clarinet, saxophone, violin, drums, and the occasional banjo and acoustic guitar.
Geoff Berner For the past 15 years or so, Jewish-Canadian accordion player/singer-songwriter/novelist Geoff Berner has travelled the world. He’s played in bars, cafes, festivals, and the occasional stadium. He’s performed in 17 countries, on national radio in 7 of them. As a musician, Berner is mainly known as a practitioner of the “klezmer-punk” style, which combines the traditional folk music of Eastern European Jews with punk’s aggressive energy and disdain for slick perfection. His new album Canadiana Grotesquica is a brief departure. Berner describes it as a “country-tinged singer-songwriter affair." It was produced by Paul Rigby, a brilliant arranger and guitarist, nominated for a Grammy for his work with Neko Case. Clever and literate, Berner’s songs can make you want to weep, laugh, grind your teeth, or kick out a window--often all at the same time. His writing can be overtly political, overtly left wing, leaning towards anarchy, but free of easy slogans or cliches. His peers consider him a “songwriter’s songwriter” and many artists have taken the time to learn and play his songs, including Corb Lund, the Be Good Tanyas, RotFront and Rae Spoon. With a new album, a new book, and tours of Canada, continental Europe, the Pacific northwest of the U.S., and Scandinavia, Berner is officially on a roll.