The Fugitives are a group of musicians, poets, and multi-instrumentalists from Vancouver. The quartet features the songs of novelist/musician and former Canadian SLAM poetry champion Brendan McLeod, and musician Adrian Glynn, recently nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year at the Canadian Independent Music Awards. Together with their band, they create “dizzying, Arcade Fire-ish crescendos, replete with parallel melodies, complex harmonies and brimming torrents of emotion.” ( Uptown, Winnipeg)
A hard travelling band, they have trekked their instruments (and words) all over Canada, the US, and Europe. Performances that began in small vegetarian restaurants in East Vancouver have turned into mainstage appearances at Canadian folk festivals, and sold out shows at venues as diverse as the Vienna Literary Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, and the Vancouver Jazz Festival. Along the way they’ve honed incredible performance versatility, just as likely to spin a story as to sing in harmony, to spit a verse as to tell a joke.
The Fugitives first release, In Streetlight Communion (2007), was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for pushing the boundaries of contemporary music. They returned in 2009 with an EP, Find Me, variously described as “an inventive piece of art” (Gauntlet), “tight, well-composed music that demonstrates great lyrical ability” (Discorder), and utilizes “tight, note-perfect harmonies” (Spinner). Their full-length follow-up, Eccentrically We Love, charted in the earshot top 30 for Canadian roots, and was praised for being “poignant” (Uptown), “eclectic and exciting” (See), and “infectious” (CBC).
The Fugitives release their next album in early 2013.
This fall, they hit Western Canada and the United Kingdom to workshop new material, and have also earned a spot in the Peak Performance Project. As with previous efforts, their work will be born on the road new songs fuelled on a steady diet of gas station food and spirited late night carolling. Grab them in your town as they’re coming through. As the CBC has it, “whether you go for the poetry or music or both, this show is simply brilliant.”
“The Fugitives are one of the most innovative, exciting, and accomplished groups of musicians and poets I have ever seen ” Off the Shelf Festival, Sheffield (UK)
“Funny, charming and shockingly brilliant. The lyrics are poems and the performance astonishing.” Word! Festival, Leicester (UK)
“Despite their all-acoustic lineup, the Fugitives bring enough energy to the stage to light up a small city… The East Van quartet conjures up a sound that’s like the missing link between Leonard Cohen, the Pogues, and the immortal Shorty Shitstain.” Georgia Straight (Vancouver)
“The four part vocals are sensational…each of these Fugitives has the talent, voice and charisma to front their own band.” Edmonton Sun
“A sold-out crowd was fed harmonious chants and folksy carols…the music had us glued to our seats” SEE Magazine
“No one word really captures everything the members can do” Vue Magazine
With a whispering intensity for lyricism bound to simple yet robust musicality, Stefan Melbourne is already becoming a well-known name in the Manchester music scene. Drawing on the emotionally expressive sounds of Nick Drake and Tim Buckley, Melbourne is no stranger to urban poetry and lyrics of raw emotion, and has caught the limelight through his composite style that aligns itself with both indie-folk and country blues.
Tapping into a mature repertoire of seminal American folk musicians such as Lead Belly, Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Johnson, his interesting blend of contemporary lyrics alongside a classic folk, almost bluegrass approach, sees Melbourne’s efforts fall comfortably on the ears of Bon Iver fans and Lamontagne followers alike.