Tunes of the Blood Folk

Jaime Coyne

The Barge Canal Company is well known in the Hamilton area for its laid-back atmosphere. Unfortunately for fans of the band “Same Blood Folk” on Saturday, November 10, this meant eagerly awaiting a concert that started over half an hour late. The Barge quickly became crowded on Saturday night for the Saturday Nite Music Series and, as a friend pointed out, it didn’t seem likely that people would settle down until the band came out, which did not appear to be any time soon.

“Same Blood Folk” finally made their grand entrance, which consisted of marching to the stage in a single-file line, dragging chains along while they sang a capella. It was interesting to watch this, but it seemed quite out of place in a little coffee shop, where half the customers had to get out of their way for it to come to fruition.

All this was probably soon forgotten by the audience though, once they began to listen to the group. Performing the first song a capella displayed the harmonic skill of the members of the band, which was awing, despite its seeming simplicity. Originally, “Same Blood Folk” consisted of cousins Zach and Jenny Collins, hence the name. Recently James White was added to the band on the drums, which had never been a part of the “Same Blood Folk” sound before.

“Same Blood Folk” slowly worked their way from simple to complex, adding guitars to their second song, but still all standing around one microphone. Starting with their third piece, each band member went to their respective place and microphone, and White came in with the drums.

The most impressive facet of the band was Jenny Collins. Her voice shown through as shockingly strong and clear, creating a beautiful and deep sound. All the band members seemed to really feel the music, to be emotionally invested in the songs. They played both original music and traditional arrangements. The genre of their music is hard to place. There seemed to be a reggae-esque element to some of the songs, as well a dominant mix of folk and country. A lot of their songs had references to jail and the Bible, such as the line, “Man gave names to all the animals in the beginning.”

Looking around the audience, lots of heads were nodding to the beat of the music. The crowd seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the music. Each song was followed by loud applause, and even cheers.

The music did seem a little too big for the venue, though. The drums tended to be a bit too loud, which made it difficult to hear some of the lyrics. And antics like making a big entrance also seemed out of place. Nevertheless, build it and they will come. Or, book them and crowds will form. It is safe to say that “Same Blood Folk” was wildly popular. The Barge was buzzing with excitement beforehand, and enjoyment during, the performance.