“Sibling folk trio, The Gilberts are the surprise package on this list. We were really taken by the beautiful three-part harmony of Frieden, Reuben, and Maisie...The Gilberts basically grew up on the folk festival circuit, and you can really hear that in the refreshing sound of this recording.” - Jan Hall
Photo credit: Ashley Cecilia
Mesmerizing three-part harmonies guide dynamic arrangements that teem with influence from indie-folk contemporaries and 1970s classics. Award-winning sibling trio The Gilberts bring vibrant three-part harmonies, soulful lyricism, and diverse influences to their songs, performances and recordings. Frieden, Reuben, and Maisie grew up on muddy folk festival fields, eventually stepping up to open mics, performing at small events, and soon touring soft seat theatres and playing major folk festivals in their home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Along the way they set up a home studio and recorded two albums, garnering a Canadian Folk Music Award, an East Coast Music Award, and a Music Nova Scotia Award, and receiving radio play across Canada and the United States. As siblings, there is an organic and intuitive flow to their songwriting and arrangements, and their music often contains wistful and meditative elements that evoke strong emotional responses in audiences.
Multi award-winning sibling indie-folk trio The Gilberts bring soaring harmonies, soulful lyricism, compelling arrangements, and a melodious alchemy to their songs and stages. Diverse musical influences inform their song-writing, performance, and recordings. Themes of longing, searching, and transcendence in their songs create powerful emotional connections with audiences and listeners.
Frieden, Reuben, and Maisie have been making music together for as long as they can remember, singing in the back of a van on road trips, ‘putting on a show’ for family and friends, sharing scribbled song ideas, stepping up from muddy festival fields to open mics, passing instruments back and forth, and developing their signature three-part harmonies.
Immersed in music from those early years - whether it be a festival, show, or just the radio - these influences made their way into their development as song-writers, vocalists, musicians and eventually performers. Along the way they began connecting with artists and teachers who took the time to share a thought, chord, or just a listening ear. Soon they were receiving invitations to play small events, and then festivals and soft seat theatres.
Hundreds of hours spent together in the family loft room helped them hone their songwriting, arrangements and musicianship until they reached the point where they were ready to go into a leading studio and record their debut album. The first scheduled day of recording coincided with the studio closing down, along with the rest of the world, as Covid arrived in full force.
So it was back to the loft room where they put together a makeshift recording studio using equipment gathered over the years and gear loaned or sourced from socially distanced but fraught curbside pickups. Harnessing a little advice here and there, watching way too many YouTube videos, and with a lot of time on his hands, Reuben became the in-house recording engineer and producer. The original plan for the first release had been a professionally recorded, produced, mixed and mastered album, but it was decided that the home recording would have a simple underlying concept - all songs recorded live off the floor, on one day, in one take, around one mic.
‘The Gilberts: One’ album went on to pick up a 2021 Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performers of the Year, and a lot of media attention at a time when everyone was looking for good news stories in the pandemic. The follow-up album ‘Tell Me’, also mixed and mastered at home but with higher production values, garnered a 2022 East Coast Music Award for Folk Recording of the Year; a 2021 Music Nova Scotia Award for Americana Recording of the Year, and a 2022 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.
The Gilberts have been widely played on CBC and were commissioned by the broadcaster to write a song for East Coast Music Hour in 2022. They have also had feature interviews with CBC hosts including Jeff Douglas, Bill Roach and Wendy Bergfeldt, played live sets for several CBC shows, been frequently featured on Global and CTV, and received airplay across independent radio stations in Canada and the United States.
They have performed at festivals across Nova Scotia including Lunenburg Folk Harbour; Evergreen; Full Circle; Deep Roots; Celtic Colours; Back to the Gardens; and Halifax Urban Folk Festival, and virtually for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Goderich Celtic Roots Festival. They have additionally performed shows at many soft seat theatres including the Al Whittle; Spatz Theatre; Marigold Cultural Centre; Evergreen Theatre; Osprey Arts Centre; Mermaid Theatre; Lunenburg Opera House; deCoste Centre; Ship’s Company Theatre; The Light House; Stage at St Andrew's; Halifax Convention Centre; and The Festival Theatre Building.
The Gilberts have showcased at multiple East Coast Music Awards and Music Nova Scotia Awards in addition to the Canadian Folk Music Awards; the Philadelphia Folk Music Awards (virtual); and the Folk Alliance Region -West (virtual).
Frieden, Reuben and Maisie are increasingly working with emerging and more established artists in many aspects of audio and video production and postproduction, and the behind the scenes work of management, promotion, and navigation. They are grateful for the many educators and artists who have helped them on their musical and personal journeys, and now mentor youth through several programs and initiatives.
They are frequently involved with fundraisers for organizations including Feed Nova Scotia; Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation; Valley Regional Hospital Foundation; IWK Health Centre; Northwood Foundation; Christmas Daddies; and Hants County Christmas Angels.