Photo Credit: James and Libertee May
The Hello Darlins distinct hybrid of country, gospel, and blues is showcased on In The Sundust with some up-tempo blues, bluegrass, and southern rock-inspired tracks that reflect the band’s live performance energy. This contrasts with the focus track from the EP, “Better Days” featuring Dave Fenley, a slow-burning soulful ballad that speaks about finding hope in challenging times.
In the Sundust is a collection of new songs recorded at L.A.’s United Recording Studios with multiple Grammy Award-winning engineers, Ross Hogarth (R.E.M., Hall & Oates, John Mellencamp, John Fogerty) and Mike Poole (John Prine, Martina McBride, Robert Plant). Additionally, the rhythm section for the EP consisted of A-listers Bob Glaub on bass (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon) and drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Bonnie Raitt). In keeping with their spirit of collaboration, the new EP also includes lead vocals by many other friends and band members including Murray Pulver and Brett Ashton.
The Hello Darlins are some of Canada’s most in-demand session musicians who came together to forge a distinct hybrid of country, gospel, and blues like no other.
The band first took root in 2016 when Romani-Canadian musician, Candace Lacina and world-renowned Keyboardist Mike Little crossed paths again after first meeting at a recording studio years earlier. They soon found themselves making music together and began inviting others within their circle to participate, including guitarist Murray Pulver (formerly of Crash Test Dummies).
The band made a name for themselves as the biggest breakthrough artists on the international Americana scene in 2021 with their debut album, Go By Feel, which racked up over 1 million streams and led to three Canadian Folk Music Awards.
In addition to the EP, The Hello Darlins have returned to Canadian stages this year, opening for blues-roots icon Matt Anderson & The Big Bottle of Joy Band. The tour kicked off in Belleville, ON at The Empire Theatre on March 24th and will wrap in Halifax, NS at the Light House Arts Centre on May 6th.
I had the opportunity to chat with Candace about the group’s new EP, what they’ve learned along the way, and what’s next.
Kat: Can you tell us a bit about The Hello Darlins and your music journey so far?
Candace: Mike and I met in a recording studio during a session around 2010 and crossed paths again in 2016, which was when we started writing and producing together. Our careers have always been behind the scenes of the music and artists, which has been so amazing. We know so many amazing players and musicians that we once joked about putting together a collective – of all our favourite people, and guest artists! By about 2019, we had a group of songs that we didn’t know where they fit and we’re both huge fans of the original ‘Americana’ music (The Band, Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt). Our friend Murray Pulver talked us into recording some of the songs and that’s how it all began! It became a kind of…collective project, and it’s been a really incredible music journey so far- and keeps getting better!
Kat: I’m super excited to hear that you will be touring around Canada this year with Matt Anderson & The Big Bottle of Joy Band! Can you talk about how it feels to be returning to the stage?
Candace: It means everything to us to be performing on a FULL Canadian tour, and especially to share this tour with Matt Andersen. Matt is one of our all-time favourite people and musicians. He was featured on our very first single called “Still Waters” which holds a special place in our hearts. I cried my eyes out the very first time I heard him sing the song because his voice cuts to the core. The music on this show is going to be INCREDIBLE. I am such a fan of these musicians, and their world-class talent. I am so humbled to be sharing the stage because I am genuinely awestruck by them!
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Candace: A highlight for The Hello Darlins so far has been having sold out shows on our first 2 European tours, and this upcoming tour will also be a highlight. It’s all a highlight! Haha! It’s so great to share music and connect with audiences around the world. One thing we’ve learned, or have been reminded of recently, is how GOOD people are. We were disconnected from the community over the last few years, it was easy to lose sight of that. Our audiences are so kind, gracious and we truly LOVE them. It feels so good to be with people and share music together again.
Kat: Can you share the inspiration behind your latest track “Better Days”?
Candace: Despite all the excitement and joy of releasing our first album, the past year had some really tough challenges. We were writing a lot through this time, which is a kind of therapy to me because it’s the way through emotions. We lost a close friend to an illness and faced some hardships that really brought us to our knees. The song, “Better Days” was written about holding onto hope that a new day was on the horizon, even if it felt far away at the time.
Kat: What are you currently working on now, and what can fans expect from you for the balance of 2023?
Candace: We’re SO excited to share new music! It’s an album called In the Sundust! This is a glimpse into the larger collection of songs we recorded last year at United Recording Studios, which will be released late this year! The new songs are playful, and from the heart and we also wanted a chance to represent our live show – which is energetic, fun and stylistically diverse. We are also going to be doing some fun music videos, heading back to Europe after we release a single this spring, and possibly writing again after some summer festivals! Who knows! Most of all, we are so excited to be playing, and looking forward to the balance of the year filled with shows!
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