Two years ago I saw The Tom Fun Orchestra live, and in the middle of the set, they had one of their members perform a few of her solo songs. I liked the songs, but never really heard anything from her since. Skip to now and Carmen Townsend has a new album, Waitin' and Seein', due out on the 25th of this month, and a CD release show at the Railway Club to go along with it.
It was an early, free show with Townsend playing a 45 minute set, with a couple members of the Tom Fun Orchestra as her backing band. I don't know if "power folk" is a genre, but it would be a pretty apt description of her sound. She completely rocked out for most of the set, with the blues driven songs giving a rich sound that seemed larger than the simple three piece on stage. Despite her powerful voice in the songs, Townsend started off not saying much between them, but seemed to get a bit more talkative, not overly so, as the set progressed -- though she admitted being a bit out of sorts due to both just having arrived back from Australia and hearing word she'll be opening for Heart across Canada. But despite that, she had a great energy while playing, and great chemistry with her band (which is not surprising).
Mid way through the set she switched to an acoustic guitar for a few mellower songs, showing off a good range, before driving right back into high gear for an incredibly explosive climax.
I don't know what it is about Nova Scotia, pumping out so many great musicians, but if they keep producing people like The Tom Fun Orchestra and Carmen Townsend, I will keep lining up to hear them.