A songwriter based out of Toronto, Abigail Lapell is already well established in her native Canada with the last five years seeing her release two acclaimed albums and picking up a pair of Canadian Folk Music Awards along the way. Back in April, Abigail shared her latest offering in the shape of her third album, Stolen Time, which lifts its name from the musical term, tempo rubato, related to the concept of rhythmic freedom and the push-and-pull of tempo changes in a piece of music, a concept Abigail suggests is a fitting metaphor for the rhythms of the uncertain times we’ve all been living through.
The record opens with the striking Land Of Plenty, which is such a classic piece of North American folk, you’ll be almost convinced you’ve heard it somewhere before while perusing the back catalogue of Woody Guthrie or Hank Williams. Elsewhere, Abigail shows her ability at the piano on the Carol King-like Pines, and I See Music, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Joanna Newsom’s sprawling epic Have One On Me. Elsewhere the title track has a touch of Neil Young-like twang, while Scarlet Fever’s tale of childhood quarantine is a classic in the making, fitting neatly into the long-overdue Karen Dalton renaissance currently sweeping the globe. While much of Abigail’s music might cast a glance back to influences of years gone by, it never feels like a pastiche of anyone else, just a songwriting talent spinning new songs from old sounds, and making them entirely in her own rather magical image.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Abigail Lapell?
Hi! I’m a contemporary folk singer, songwriter, guitar player and multi-instrumentalist from Toronto, Canada.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
My first “real” show with like a full band was opening for hometown heroes the Lowest of the Low, some time in the 2000s. LOTL were my favourite band growing up, and a friend of mine was organizing a fundraiser for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, which they were headlining, along with a bunch of heavier local bands. So he asked me to play, and I put a band together for the occasion so I wouldn’t be totally drowned out. I still have that poster, with my name in the smallest font.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Well I’ve always loved different kinds of storytelling, drawing and writing and making weird theatre and films and things. But over time music definitely became the main creative outlet. I think one reason is that, especially as a singer, it’s such an economical art form, and so portable – you can sing anywhere, with anyone, and have access to this huge palette of forms and styles. You can conjure worlds out of literal air.
FTR: What can people expect from the Abigail Lapell live show?
Impassioned songs on vocals, guitar, piano/keys and harmonica, along with a revolving cast of talented collaborators. Plus incongruously silly banter and stories from the road.
FTR: What’s next for Abigail Lapell?
I’m excited to get back on the road with the new album and perform live again – this spring and summer I’m playing tour dates and festivals across Canada and the U.S., and more things to announce soon!
They Listen To…
Pixies – Silver
Terry Reid – Seed of Memory
Lido Pimienta – Nada
The Shins – New Slang
Cat Power – Cross Bones Style