The Once really was intended to be, as the name suggests, a one-time thing.
In the summer of 2004, Phil Churchill, Geraldine Hollett and Andrew Dale wound up at a summer repertory theatre company in the ancient fishing community of Trinity, Newfoundland where they had the task of providing an evening's worth of music and song for both tourists and locals.
The three wove their voices and instruments together that night in a way that almost eight years later has made The Once one of the most critically acclaimed folk trios in the country. Their music ranges from unaccompanied ballads to shanties featuring bouzouki, banjo and bodhrán.
The trio is here Feb. 12 for Home Routes' fourth concert of the season in the Thompson Public Library's Basement Bijou venue. Ticket prices are $20 and doors will be open at 6:30 p.m. with the performance starting at 7 p.m.
Since their self-titled debut album was released at The Ship Pub in St. John's Aug. 18, 2009, The Once have snagged two Canadian Folk Music Awards, four Music Newfoundland and Labrador awards, an East Coast Music Award and a Galaxie Rising Star. They have played on national radio programs and at Atlantic Canada House during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and shared the bill on an Irish tour with Juno-winning singer/songwriter Amelia Curran.
Their second album, Row Upon Row of the People They Know, was recorded mainly in St. John's last spring at Fat Track Studios and Lab of Chaos between gigs and released in October.
The Once have performed at The Stan Rogers International Folk Festival at the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia, Montreal Celt Fest, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, CBC's Radio's The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean, Atlantic Canada House for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, International Folk Alliance in Memphis, Juno 2010 events and toured Northern Ireland in late 2010 with Juno Award winner and friend Amelia Curran.
This past summer The Once played across Canada at folk festivals before they toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Denmark in the fall.
You can check out some of their music, including "Maid On the Shore" from their debut album The Once and the unreleased "Clohinne Winds" at: http://theonce.ca/site/music/
Thompson is part of the "Borealis Trail" circuit of Home Routes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Other circuits on Home Routes include the Yukon Trail; Salmon-Berry in British Columbia; Cherry Bomb and Blue Moon in British Columbia and Alberta; Chautauqua Trail in Saskatchewan and Alberta; CCN SK in Saskatchewan; Central Plains in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; Jeanne Bernardin in Manitoba, Agassiz in Manitoba and Ontario; Estelle-Klein in Ontario and Québec and the Maritimes in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
John Showman and Chris Coole from Toronto's five-member Foggy Hogtown Boys were here Dec. 3.
Conjunto Roque Moreira, a 10-year-old rock n' roll, reggae, funk, and soul fusion outfit from Teresina, Brazil, with world and Brazilian rhythms such as samba, forró, baião and bossa nova, was here Nov. 4 for the second Home Routes concert show of the season, while guitar-playing songstress Carolyn Mark, the long-time host of the Hootenanny in Victoria every Sunday, kicked off Homes Routes third season in Thompson Oct. 6. Mark was also the founder of The Vinaigrettes, an all-girl surfy twang popster band. After The Vinaigrettes, Carolyn did brief stints in such bands as The Metronome Cowboys and The Fixin's.