For the past two and a half years, Craig Cardiff has been passing around a Book of Truths during his shows and asking his fans to share something truthful in it — a story, a confession, a hope, a secret. The book gives fans a chance to write down something they might be too afraid to say out loud, and it gives Cardiff an opportunity to connect with the people who come to his shows.
Those entries aren’t always easy to read. The stories can be heartbreaking, and they can leave Cardiff wanting to do something, to find the person who wrote in his book and tell them to hold on for tomorrow, that things will be OK.
Cardiff’s new album, Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) Part 1 & 2, has turned into a response to those stories. This double album, released November 19, 2013, offers 21 tracks that are connected by an underlying sense that there are better days to come.
“I didn’t realize it at first, but this collection of songs is just really to help people be OK and to let them know to just wait until tomorrow, stay here and push on through,” says Cardiff. “Every song has that kernel of hope and joy, even if it’s not apparent at first.”
The Arnprior, Ontario-based folk singer worked with producers Ben Leggett (Faraway Neighbours, Ben Hermann) and Andre Wahl (Hawksley Workman, Luke Doucet) to record an album that is quite different than anything Cardiff has released before. Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) is one-part boisterous group sing-along, one-part gentle lullaby.
This is the same team that produced Floods and Fires, the album that earned Cardiff a nomination for a 2012 Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination as 2012 Contemporary Singer of the Year. This time, Leggett and Wahl told Cardiff they wouldn’t let him make an album like the ones he’s made before.
Cardiff, Leggett and Wahl recorded Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) primarily in Cardiff’s home studio in Arnprior — which he and Leggett built together during the recording of Floods and Fires — the Chalet Studio in Claremont, and the Schoolhouse studio built by Hawksley Workman outside Huntsville.
With a voice described as “warm, scratched, sad and sleepy,” Cardiff sings songs that expose the human condition, putting a magnifying glass to the clumsier and less proud moments. He can turn any setting into an intimate affair, infusing his music and lyrics with an uncompromising humanism.
Cardiff makes it a point to keep the relationship with his fans personal, inviting and accepting any opportunity to make his audience as much a part of the performance as he is.
Armed with an extensive catalogue of songs, his Book of Truths, sharp wit and soft voice, Cardiff is considered a pioneer in alternate venue touring, often appearing in churches, camps, prisons, basements, festivals, kitchens and even taking to the streets, bringing his fans with him. Over the years, he has played with and opened for artists such as Glen Phillips, Lucy Kaplansky, Dan Bern, Natalia Zukerman, Andy Stochansky, Sarah Harmer, Kathleen Edwards, Blue Rodeo, Gordon Downie (Tragically Hip), Hawksley Workman, Sarah Slean, Skydiggers, 54-40 and more.
When not performing, Cardiff often offers workshops at schools, camps, festivals and churches throughout North America. He is passionate about encouraging others to be more open and to try new things even if it means making mistakes, and in June 2011, he gave an address called Fear is the Cheapest Room in the House during the inaugural TEDxUWO at the University of Western Ontario.