Wednesday, 17 April 2013 14:24

Folk band makes Brooks their homebase; touring with new album

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The folk and indie/pop music group Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk kicked off their tour for the new album Over Land and Sea at a concert in Brooks April 4.

That kick-off was in Brooks because Mann and her partner, Zoltan Szoges, have called the city home for the past four months.
For the past 10 years, Mann has lived in Calgary, after growing up in Langley. B.C. While Calgary has been considered “home”, really the pair have spent the majority of their time on the road, pursuing music full-time.
When Jay and Jess Christman decided to join the band last fall, it made sense to settle in the City of Brooks — the place the Christmans call home.
“It made more sense to settle into Brooks,” adds Mann. “It has never been a place I expected to live, but it’s been really nice. We’ve been getting to know people in the community and it feels a lot more like home.”
Szoges knew Jay Christman from when Szoges managed the band Jay and the Lovebirds a few years ago — also from Brooks. Mann was looking for a guitar player and Szoges asked Jay, who was newly-married, if he knew anyone who would be interested.  After he’d taken some time to think about it, Jay said he and Jessica were interested in joining.
The band, which includes Mann on vocals and ukulele, Szoges on keys and percussion,
Jay Christman on drums, Jessica Christman on bass, Josh Akin on guitar and soundman Hammer Clark, has been spending time rehearsing and gearing up for a Canadian and U.S. tour. It’s also been a chance for Mann to put pen to paper to write some new songs.
The band name came about because prior to the group of people Mann plays with now, she would pick up band members here or there and only play with some occasionally. Her partner Szoges has been the constant in the group, also acting as the manager. Putting together a group of people who would be committed to the band for the foreseeable future was a goal for Mann and she’s found it with the current configuration.
“I like playing with lots of different people,” she says, but the current band members bring their own creative perspectives to the music. It’s been important to gel as a band the past few months, because Over Land and Sea was recorded by Mann and Szoges with others.
“I’ve found as we’re rehearsing for the tour; we’ve been able to better understand each other creatively and try new things. We’ve been able to develop our sound a lot more ... there’s a lot more creative freedom.”
This is Mann’s second album. Her first was a collection of songs recorded over a number of years. She considers Over Land and Sea the beginning of the musical career of Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk.
Mann grew up playing piano and always enjoyed indie-rock music which features a cool electric guitar or a piano. Naturally, she falls into a more folksy sound, but thinks it will be interesting to see if the current band configuration pushes the group more to the indie/pop genre.
Pursuing music as her career full-time was a decision made in only the last few years.
“It’s scary. We still don’t really make much money, but it’s fun,” she says. 
“It’s a cool experience to play music every night and you meet people from all across the country. I love the travelling aspect of it.”
She was excited to start the tour and head back out on the road, even if travelling in a van with six people can present some challenges.
After the Brooks concert kick-off, which Mann says was a fantastic send-off with a great turnout, the band performed in Calgary and Edmonton. From now until the end of July, they will cross Canada and the United States performing and promoting the album which was released April 9 and should be available in stores by the end of the month.
Information about Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk, including tour dates, is available online at:

Read 1577 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 14:26
Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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