With anything, if you’ve been around it long enough, it’s easy to forget what it was like to experience it for the first time, but mostly-Canadian string quartet The Fretless introduce the listener to string music for the first time all over again. Taking folk melodies and traditional fiddle tunes, The Fretless weave them together with a flawless technique derived from their love of classical music and a raw energy so foundational it puts the “string” in “string theory.” In less than three years, Ivonne Hernandez, Karrnnel Sawitsky, Trent Freeman, and Eric Wright have already garnered a Western Canadian Music Award, a Canadian Folk Music Award, and high praise, now releasing their second album, a self-titled 43-minutes of virtuosity, energy, and reimagining of what string music can be.
“Lonesome Scene of Winter” features vocal contributions from Ruth Moody (The Wailin’ Jennys) and banjo & vocals from Oliver Swain (The Duhks, The Bills, Outlaw Social). Living up to its title, the song has an icy openness that swells with the tense “dark clouds” of Wright’s cello, pulled on by the “chilly winds” of the viola and fiddle. (Carl-Eric Tangen)