Calgary Folk Fest


from Toronto, ON

Friday – Sunday, July 26–28.

MOONRIIVR harkens back to the days before the music died: a time when country strums and hip-shaking swagger lived side-by-side; and the goal of rock’n’roll was to make the crowd swoon just as often as it was to make ‘em shout. Despite debuting in the streaming age, their music exists out of time, channeling an AM dial warble and an overplayed 45’s crackle.

Such a warm, welcoming sound seems like an odd outcome of pandemic anxiety, but that’s exactly where MOONRIIVR started rolling along. In spring 2020, Gavin Gardner, a multi-talented musician and producer best known for fronting The Wooden Sky, joined “Champagne” James Robertson, suddenly adrift after years touring as lead guitarist for Lindi Ortega and Dwayne Gretzky. The two friends had been eying a collaboration, and circumstances suggested that now was the time.

Originally hashed together with a mellotron, a nylon-stringed guitar, and a vintage Tascam tape deck, the duo’s fledgling sound was fleshed out with the addition of Ben Whitely’s steady bass backbone and Lyle Molzan’s unconventional percussion, which favours ramshackle structures over standard beats. Laced with references explicit and implied to artists like Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, MOONRIIVR’s music doesn’t hide its influences, but isn’t bogged down in devotion to the past either. They’re winding a new path through that age-old territory, and we’re lucky enough to have the chance to drift along with them.

Biography by Peter Hemminger

The full artist lineup will be revealed April 30

© 2024 Calgary Folk Festival