The story of Lawrence Menard and Clare Quinn reads like it was taken from a romance novel. Lawrence was born in Louisiana and raised in California, Clare from Queensland, but fate would have them meet each other at an Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012. They fell in love and became a folk duo called Those Folk. Now almost a decade later they find themselves in a full circle moment performing at the Wynnum Fringe Festival and bringing their wealth of experience from travelling the world.
It's evident throughout the show that this is more than picking up a guitar, strumming a few chords and singing some words. It’s complex music, poetic lyrics and the husband-and-wife duo have put in time and hard work to craft gorgeous and personal pieces for a wonderful audience in an intimate setting.
There’s a moment during the night where Clare talks about Lawrence’s connection with instruments, how Lawrence is always saying that instruments have character and a story to tell. That along with Lawrence’s passion for collecting and restoring old instruments are reflective in the music they play.
They aren’t afraid to be honest and show their relationship on stage in a playful way, and I enjoyed the stories they told between each song while also sharing the meanings behind the music too. Those Folk manage to create songs that are deep, layered and explore multiple themes utilizing folk and incorporating other genres such as bluegrass and jazz.
Their love songs feel authentic and never cheesy, and when Clare is singing about her childhood home it transported me back to the house I grew up in, flooding me with all the positive memories.
During many of the songs they create an effect where the interplay between the instruments each are playing feel like two individuals that stand out on their own, but when they come together like two people dancing, they meld into a beautiful sound. We get guitars intertwining with banjos, mandolins, keyboards, and the old faithful accordion.
Both have great voices, and we get to hear them solo at times throughout the night but when the voices align, we are presented with some amazing harmonies that are reminiscent of some of the great folk duos of the past.
Lawrence and Clare love music, and obviously they love folk. You can hear a touch of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in their music, but I was also reminded during one song of Big Star and at times Clare’s impressive vocals gave me Linda Perhacs’ Parallelograms vibes. They seem like a couple that is listening to music as much as they are making and playing it, always looking for new inspirations and ways to evolve.
Those Folk play many songs from their 2020 record One Thousand Homes, as well as some new released songs and an excellent cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton that might now be my favourite version of it replacing Jack White’s take on it at the top of my favourite Jolene covers list.
It's advised that anyone that is passionate about folk music should attend Those Folk if given a chance, it’s something I would highly recommend. I think most music lovers will be able to find appreciation in their music and if you’re looking for a show that isn’t overbearing but more relaxing, a show where you can sit back, enjoy a glass of wine, and listen to a duo that are devoted to their craft with deeply rich songs on display then this is the perfect show for you.