Performing everything from expressive poetry to frenetic gypsy anthems, Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers has already gained a following in more than a dozen countries around the world. Pulling off poetic ballads through rough bar-room stomps, the group plays a wide variety of instruments that combine acoustic sounds from a breadth of cultural traditions, amplified by call-and-response choruses that will have you singing along to their effusive music all night long.
An unforgettable character, Caplan’s huge beard and unruly mane give him the look of both a madman and an earnest poet. Rough, textured tones build in his enormous voice, but Caplan croons smoother than a glass of single malt whisky. Moving from guitar to piano to banjo to melodica, his rhapsodic charisma gives this live show the air of an elegant cacophony, both ancient and modern. With melodies inspired by Eastern European and Jewish folk legacies, Caplan claims his true place on the Canadian music landscape with powerful lyricism. His bold songwriting ranges from ferocious themes of manhood to romantic displays of passion. This spring performance is not to be missed.
Opening Act: Jack Pine
Ottawa musician Jack Pine (Gareth Auden-Hole) of Jack Pine + the Fire released his solo debut Lone Wolf in 2015. The singer-songwriter and producer has a sound that is delightfully raw, full of ambient acoustics that is at its best live on stage. His songs feature Jack Pine’s deep-seated respect for nature, his wry sense of humour, and his empathy for the underdog through a unique contemporary mix of folk and roots song styles.