Canadian singer promotes album based on collaboration with fans

Photo courtesy of Craig Cardiff

Juno-nominated singer-songwriter Craig Cardiff is bringing his guitar, loop peddles, and soft voice to the University of Ottawa on Feb. 25.

Cardiff, who is well known for his intimate performances, is currently touring in support of his recent release, Love is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2, a double album exploring the notion that “better days are to come.”

The album is based on a notebook passed around at his shows where audience members were asked to write something truthful about themselves.

He said visiting so many places, seeing so many interesting things, and meeting so many great people was like “standing in front of a fire hydrant. Sometimes, it’s just too much. You start to forget things and I didn’t want to forget their stories.”

“It started with fans coming up to me at a show to share the story of their first date, and also introduce me to their child,” he said. “For them, it was just sharing that they had a connection with the music and that was a bit overwhelming.”

Cardiff ended up giving the couple one of his notebooks to write their story down and the idea for the Book of Truths he passes around at his shows was born.

The album sees him stray slightly from his folk roots and incorporate a full band for Part One of Love is Louder, while Part Two encompasses the traditional Cardiff singer-songwriter sound.

“The idea was to do something different,” he said.  “In terms of the response, it’s been great that people have been comfortable being critical and very respective in terms of sales.”

Cardiff sold over 1,000 copies before the album was released through an Indiegogo campaign that raised over $11,000. The hype before the album was even made helped him gain momentum leading up to the release.

“People get excited about horses that appear to be winning,” he said. “When they see that albums are pre-selling, whether it’s booking people or radio people, they get excited about it.”

Cardiff will hit the road in support of the album, as he’s been doing for the past 15 years, going across the country to bring his unique live shows into clubs, churches, and living rooms. He routinely plays over 200 gigs a year, in large part thanks to his alternative touring style. With workshops, performances at schools, and his specialty—house concerts—he finds himself on the road constantly.

Even with the busy schedule Cardiff feels he’s “really lucky to have as much time at home as I do,” citing friends in other bands who spend months on the road away from their families. “I feel lucky that I’ve found a way to be able to make a bit of money, or break even at least, being able to fly out and do three days then back home.”

Cardiff’s touring has also brought him to many small communities across the country, something he’s found very gratifying.

“I’ve never been more welcomed then in places like Hay River (NWT) or Yellowknife (NWT). They hadn’t even heard of me but you’d go there and the place was packed.”

Cardiff will host a workshop on Tuesday Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. in Huguette Labelle Hall in Tabaret Hall, followed by a performance at 8 p.m. Admission is free for University of Ottawa students and $5 for the general public, with donations accepted for Relay for Life.