About The Bombadils
Canadian Folk Music Award nominees The Bombadils offer stirring and intimate lyrics with intertwining string-band arrangements, and tinges of bluegrass. Canadian arts journalist Bob Mersereau calls it "folk tunes done with musical adventure and sophistication" and Elmore Magazine, "an enchanting folk romp."
Making their home in the foggy port city of Halifax, Canada, the band features folk darlings Sarah Frank and Luke Fraser plus guests from their extended musical family. Tour highlights include Koerner Hall in Toronto, Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, and Wintergrass festival outside Seattle. Their recent release, “Dear Friend” comes after having moved to Atlantic Canada and launching straight into the rush of new parenthood, a new city, and a global pandemic. The 11-song album was recorded between lockdowns and daycare pick-ups, and it is a series of love letters of a certain kind—to family and friends, strangers and neighbours, cities and landscapes, and to each other.
“[The Bombadils] should already be sharing stages with the likes of Iris, John Prine, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris...”
“folk tunes done with musical adventure and sophistication”
“An enchanting folk romp”
+ More About Our New Album, Dear Friend
The musician’s quest can be a gruelling one. The artist envisions an aesthetic and chases it tirelessly. There are the solitary hours spent honing their skills in the practice room. There is the private joy of hunting down seismic albums that shift and inspire the creative continuum. And then there is the grinding cycle of being a working musician where you write, record, leave home and tour, and repeat.
Yet there is a special beauty in sharing this journey with someone you love. Someone who nerds out on the same obscure music as you do, and someone you can spend quiet time in a van with, hatching out plans to pay the rent while chasing your dreams. This is the story of The Bombadils.
Making their home in the foggy port city of Halifax, Canada, the pan-folk ensemble features folk darlings Sarah Frank and Luke Fraser plus guests from their extended musical family. Theirs is a story of two musicians – influenced by classical, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, and Appalachian music, and inspired by various singer-songwriters – who found each other and fell in love. Now, Sarah and Luke reflect that love and exuberance back to their fans, friends, and community with a singular musicality. Today, The Bombadils announce the milestone album, Dear Friend, the group’s first record to feature all original songs.
“Some of our favourite music reminds us of all that is beautiful and stirs us to make space for others. So we hope for our songs to bring something good to our listeners, whether it's comfort, a nudge to think about meaningful things, or maybe just a little smile,” Sarah says.
The Bombadils write bittersweet but hopeful narratives, reflecting on themes of love and friendship, and working through challenging topics such as climate change, rising cost of living, and miscarriage. The band’s impressionistic lyrics are rife with poetry, scene-setting details, and clever turns of phrase. These are front-porch style songs, but magnified by classical grace. The Bombadils’ music features dynamic arrangements, adventurous instrumental passages, and interlacing vocal harmonies. Woven throughout this rich tapestry are Sarah’s compelling soprano vocals, her dynamic fiddle playing, and Luke’s warm, soulful singing and his prowess on guitar and mandolin. Often, the twosome is joined onstage and in the studio with bass, harp, and cello. The band’s expansive musicality reflects the mystical quality of its name, which is pinched from the character Tom Bombadil who appeared in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings epic.
Previously, the group has released three albums. Canadian arts journalist Bob Mersereau describes The Bombadils’ music as "folk tunes done with musical adventure and sophistication" and Elmore Magazine describes their music as "an enchanting folk romp." The Bombadils’ third album, 2016’s New Shoes, was nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards and won Folk Music Ontario's “Album of the Year.” Since 2015, the band has toured actively throughout Canada and beyond. Select tour highlights include playing Koerner Hall in Toronto, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and Wintergrass music festival outside Seattle.
The Bombadils formed in 2009 as a freewheeling music collective of formally-trained McGill University music students. In its early days, the group were mainstays of the pub scene, performing from an expansive repertoire of time-honoured folk, fiddle tunes, and old time standards. Luke joined The Bombadils as a mandolin player after meeting Sarah at a party. The pair soon became inseparable, and balanced attending jazz clubs, indie shows, Irish sessions, and late-night bluegrass jams with early morning classes and staying on-point for classical studies and final recitals.
Together, they marvelled over roots music groups such as Alison Krauss & Union Station, Lúnasa, and Punch Brothers. Over time, Sarah and Luke began to earnestly explore songwriting and understand the power of words, poetry, and literate lyrics. This journey comes together on The Bombadils’ upcoming album, Dear Friend.
Dear Friend is The Bombadils’ first full-length album release after having moved to Atlantic Canada and launching straight into the rush of new parenthood, a new city, and a global pandemic. The 11-song album was recorded with engineer Graeme Campbell between lockdowns and daycare pick-ups. It is a series of love letters of a certain kind—to family and friends, to strangers and neighbors, to cities and landscapes, to each other.
Luke shares: “We took our time with this album, there was no rush because we already had three albums out and we knew we wanted this one to come from a place of reflection and unhurried, playful creativity.” Sarah continues, “A friend commented that we took the “slow-food” approach to album making. In taking our time, we wrote from a more personal place than ever before, and the musical styles we've explored over the years have come together in a new way for us. It really feels like an album to call our own.”
The Bombabils journey has been transformative for Sarah and Luke, their fans, and their close-knit community of friends and fellow musicians from around the world. “Music helps us slow down and see others in a more loving way; it reminds us that we’re all a human family and that we’re all together on this walk of life.”