A duo, inspired by small town Canada, and one you deserve to discover
How many music duos do you know who’ll tell you that the small town they live in is one of the major influences in their music?
So, meet Steve and Marni Van Kessel — VK to you and the growing number of folk in Ontario, and in Orillia in particular.
You know Orillia, right? A small and sunny town, nestled between two lakes, Couchiching and Simcoe. An hour or two up Highway 400 from big-city Toronto. The home of Stephen Leacock, whose 100-year-old stories still make grumpy people smile. The hometown, too, of Mariposa, Canada’s first and continuing folk festival. Oh, and you certainly know Orillia-born Gordon Lightfoot, who’s written dozens of songs every Canadian can sing along with. And the town that has always inspired the feel and tone of the couple’s music.
Now you should find out about Steve and Marni. They’re the sort of people who become part of a town’s fabric. And the sort of people who are making music a vitally important part of their lives. More importantly, their music has the potential and the power to be part of your life.
The songs come from a personal past...
Steve is the singer, songwriter and guitarist with VK; Marni’s soaring voice complements the songs perfectly. “A Canadian band with an original, unique sound and style,” said one online profile, (and you can’t argue with that). The pair also co-founded their label, 112 Records.
There are three albums by VK, so far, and a fourth one on the way!
VK released a 2014 debut — a band project with The NARROWS — called Doin’ Just Fine, which was a perfect description of the music and the Van Kessel family dynamic. It was a notable mixture of old-school rock and roll and “Americana” with heart, passionate vocals, super-clean production, and superb musicianship. Think Blue Rodeo rather than Wilco; think the Hip rather than the Drive by Truckers.
Then came their sophomore release —Terms & Conditions. Describe it? With more emphasis on thoughtful, hooky roots songs and the pair’s powerful vocals, the album seems more personal, and more “relatable” to the listener. There’s an intimacy, a warmth that brings the songs directly to your heart…The supporting musicians give resonance to the songs on the record, but the duo’s live performances bring the songs even more directly to listeners.
Their third album (performed with Legends of THE DEEP), released at the 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival, is called ‘Charm’ — because ‘the third time is a Charm’... If bluesy , old-school rock & roll and Americana folk with heart is your pleasure, then ‘Charm’ is the answer.
But for now...
Work. Play. Dance.
Make music from the heart.
That’s what VK does.