A Conversation With The Hello Darlins
Douglas McLean chats with The Hello Darlins for his latest Sound Cafe Podcast.
With the release of their debut album, Go By Feel, in June 2021, the Hello Darlins from Calgary, Alberta, confirmed the promise that their initial 2020 single releases indicated. Steeped in a the rich tradition of Americana Folk Roots musicality and song writing, the Hello Darlins have become an overnight sensation on major streaming platforms and digital airwaves.
The writing producing team of vocalist/producer, Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer, Mike Little, join host Douglas McLean, to share highlights in the creation of one of the most exciting album releases of 2021. The magic and thrilling performances of this duo have fashioned an instant classic, rich in songs of the highest caliber, destined to be listener favourite for years to come.
You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE
Behind The Drive
Catch That Train
Aberdeen (feat. Joey Landreth)
Lonely in Las Vegas
Never Get over You
Still Waters (feat. Matt Andersen)
Go by Feel
What happens when a few of Canada’s most in-demand session musicians decide to create something new? ....you get The Hello Darlins!
With their impeccable pedigree, The Hello Darlins continue to shake up the Americana and Roots music scene with each single they release leading up to the arrival of their full-length debut album, Go By Feel. Their offering, “Aberdeen,” features singer/guitarist Joey Landreth of The Bros. Landreth, the latest addition to The Hello Darlins collective, showing again how they’re living up to their reputation as “the Broken Social Scene of Americana.”
The concept of The Hello Darlins first took shape back in 2016. Starting when Calgary-based vocalist & producer, Candace Lacina, and keyboardist & producer, Mike Little (known as MFL), crossed paths after first meeting at a recording studio six years earlier. After reconnecting, they soon found themselves making music together in between their work with other artists, which includes an impressive list that ranges from Shania Twain to Charlie Major, The Road Hammers to George Canyon as well as the late B.B. King. Through The Hello Darlins, Lacina and Little, along with a powerhouse supporting cast, combine all of their skills and influences to forge a hybrid of country, gospel and blues like no other.
“We thought it would be fun to put together a band with long- time, professional musicians who are often the people ‘behind the songs’ you hear on the radio,” Candace explains.
Mike, particularly known for his prowess on the Hammond B-3 organ adds, “We write and play for a lot of great artists and we’ve always been IN the band. It’s fun to have a killer project with our friends – who also happen to be really incredible musicians. In the spring of 2019, we got together with some fellow writers including Clayton Bellamy and Murray Pulver and started making demos. Right away, the combination of the songs and harmonies, and the authenticity of playing with real instruments really resonated. We all felt that this was something special.”
Along with recording at their own studio in Calgary, The Hello Darlins have been laying down tracks with Pulver (Crash Test Dummies, The Bros. Landreth), in Calgary at Studio D, and at Winnipeg’s Stereobus – one of their frequent ports of call for producing and session work.
The Darlins are also fortunate to be teaming up with multiple Grammy award winning, Mike Poole (Robert Plant, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, John Prine, The Wood Brothers, ABC’s Nashville TV series) to create a unique mix that supports an organic production of real instrumentation and real vocals.
“MFL and I have written and produced together a lot, but never for our own stuff,” Candace says. “It’s scary, and brings up a lot of emotions but it’s also freeing to work with people you trust. We stay focused on just putting the music first and having a good time. We want songs that convey a feeling, a spirit ...and stay very real.”
“Aberdeen” is a song about a horse, but inspired by a girl
Candace and Mike knew. What it’s really about is loyalty and
friendship, and how to extend that beyond the boundaries of a
‘fence-line’ or lifetime. Candace explains, “When we played the
demo for Joey Landreth, he got it right away. We recorded it in
our home studio and he delivered such a heartfelt vocal, the way
only Joey Landreth can.”
Also appearing on the track is Tammy Rogers from The
SteelDrivers who added a breathtaking mandolin part, with Mike
Little contributing on accordion.
In Joey Landreth’s view, “The Hello Darlins is a collection of
some of the finest musicians and people I know. Playing with
them is a joy and recording this song and video was a
blast. This is such a beautiful song that weaves a delicate and
complex story. Great music made by great people. It doesn’t get
better than that!
Making music influenced by times of joy and sorrow is natural for Candace and Mike, since that’s been a part of their lives for as long as both can remember. Their studio, unofficially titled “The Legion Lounge” with a motto “Serve the Song” is a space that pays tribute to their Veteran grandparents.
Candace says, “My 94 year old grandmother just told me the other day that this time reminds her of the war. It was uncertain, and you weren’t sure what you could look forward to – so you just made music. There was joy in it.” Candace’s grandfather was a jazz and bluegrass musician, who played in a Legion polka band, while Mike’s grandfather was a composer and his grandmother was a classical singer who performed with the Winnipeg Orchestra.
It all adds up to The Hello Darlins preferring to add the great “North” to the Americana genre, a more than symbolic gesture in keeping with their musical vision. Based on what they’ve offered so far with their previous singles -- “Still Waters” (featuring Matt Andersen), and “Catch That Train” – the album has been eagerly anticipated by their rapidly growing fan base!
All songs by The Hello Darlins are written and co-produced by Calgary, Alberta-based Candace Lacina and Mike Little. Their approach to production focuses on real instrumentation that supports the lyrics, soulful melodies no vocal tuning.
The Hello Darlins are usually a 5 or 6 piece band, but have performed as a duo – and up to a 9 piece collective. The musicians are all studio-level players, who can perform a variety of instruments as well as sing harmonies and leads. The project is fronted by female lead vocalist, Candace Lacina, whose stage presence and high energy cultivate crowd engagement. A memorable aspect of a Darlins show, is that each member of the band takes turns performing various songs.
You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE