Toronto folk noir songwriter Abigail Lapell draws from roots, indie and punk rock traditions. Hailed as an artist to watch by NOW Magazine, she’s toured across North America and Europe, performing on vocals, piano, harmonica and finger style guitar. Closer to home, she’s completed tours by bicycle, canoe and train. Lapell won the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year and the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award from the Ontario Arts Council. Her new album, Hide Nor Hair, is out now on Coax Records.
On her beautiful, subtly bold sophomore album, Hide Nor Hair, Toronto songwriter Abigail Lapell explores themes of love and loss through a lens of geography and travel, visiting places urban and wild, local, near-local and far-flung; evoking the transience of time – day and night and the changing seasons – so that her songs belong in the here and now as much as they would in the anywhere, anytime.
An indie-folk veteran of the mid-2000s Montreal scene, she’s shared stages with tUne-yArdS, First Aid Kit, Jenn Grant, and Andy Shauf. Lapell’s spirit is consummately DIY; her acclaimed, Earshot!-charting 2011 debut Great Survivor was recorded in a bedroom by Heather Kirby (of Ohbijou) and hand-assembled at home out of letterpress by Trip Print Press.
Lapell chose a different tack for Hide Nor Hair, working with mood wizard Chris Stringer (Amelia Curran, Timber Timbre) at Union Sound in Toronto. Over her decade-and-a-half long career as a singer and guitarist, this was Lapell’s first time collaborating with a producer.
The recent recipient of the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, piano ballad “Jordan” is one of a handful of tunes written on a retreat at northern Michigan’s Crosshatch Artist Residence. “Diamond Girl” and its more atmospheric counterpart, “Indigo Blue,” are both anti-love songs, whose protagonists believe they are unsuited for domestic life. Lapell goes belatedly topical on “Hostage Town,” recounting the surreal experience of trying to get around Toronto during the G20 Summit in 2010. And, in one of the most playful moments on the album, Night Bird and Morning Bird has a whistle solo (care of drummer and vocalist Benjamin Hermann) that momentarily lands the record in cinematic western territory.
Along with Lapell, Stringer and Hermann, Hide Nor Hair features Rachael Cardiello on viola; Joe Ernewein on bass; longtime friend and collaborator Jessica Moore on backup vocals and Mike Eckert on pedal steel.
Lapell has toured Canada, the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Ireland, and played at festivals including NXNE, Pop Montreal, Sappyfest, Shelter Valley and In The Dead of Winter. Hide Nor Hair is out now on cd and vinyl via COAX Records, Rae Spoon’s new record label.