Craig Cardiff is ready to teach everyone how to be the next country-crossing, folktastic Canadian bard. He should know as he's been at the gig for the past 10 years.
Cardiff, who describes his music as akin to a "big warm hug," is a Canadian staple. His music is beautiful and sun-kissed, with lightly-plucked guitar and soundscapes created with his loop pedals. His eclectic lyrics back his tunes about driving around town or his own grandmother.
Cardiff is also the prototypical folky. He's a bearded marvel, a man who isn't afraid to wear a tweed blazer with leather elbow patches. Cardiff says there is a specific approach to looking the part of independent troubadour extraordinaire. Step one: you need the proper facial hair.
"Without a question, you need a beard," he says. "It's requisite for folk cred status."
With the proper face follicles in tow, Cardiff suggests that the next important step is getting the right attire down. Without a good wardrobe, a singer-songwriter can't transcend into calling himself a folky and you'll need a name tag for people to know that.
"The name tag helps people identify," Cardiff explains. "But clever indie t-shirts, pants that are carefully made to look worn and that perfect frayed sweater you spend a full day sifting through the Value Village stacks [looking for] are also necessary."
The next step in these tough and troublesome environmental times is to go green. Once the image has been obtained, the next step is obviously making sure your carbon footprint is as tiny as possible because folk singers care about the environment.
"You can go green with the help of services like bullfrogpower.ca," says Cardiff. "You can also help by carrying around and cleaning your plates, planning meals and avoiding disposable drive-thru."
Lastly, it's time to get gigs. Cardiff says the best venues aren't the biggest concert halls, but a living room with couches and good company. He says his love of these home shows comes from how much more fun they are than a show in whatever pub.
"I will always play the intimate little shows," he states. "You can take your Massey Halls and they'll never be as perfect as 60 to 80 people crammed into a house singing along."