The Fretless is the Canadian fiddle foursome playing an essential part in the emerging movement mainstreaming traditional irish folk music.
its debut album in 2012, the band has steadily pushed further into the public eye, winning Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Instrumental Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Its 2014 tune “Waving To Ryan” has topped a million Spotify plays, and in 2016, The Fretless took home a Juno™ award for Instrumental Album of The Year for its most recent full-length Bird’s Nest.
Through its deconstruction and transformation of the usual rhythmic, harmonic and structured arrangements of fiddle styles around the world, The Fretless is pushing traditional music to a new place, and has now issued itself an atypical challenge in the mission to find and convert fans unfamiliar with “progressive” traditional music.
“People ask us how to make a living in an instrumental folk band,” says second fiddle and viola player, Karrnnel Sawitsky. “My answer is simply put: ‘creatively.’” Sawitsky continues, “When our four voices meet at the center of agreement is when our music echoes most effectively. It’s not the sum of our parts. It’s the individual sum of the band.”
The newest “voice” in The Fretless is third fiddle and viola player, Ben Plotnick, who makes his first appearance on record with the band here. “Being asked to join The Fretless was a bit like the fiddle version of being asked to join Led Zeppelin,” he says. “I was so nervous to play with a band that has everything arranged so intricately. To practice, I played my parts along with the albums at full volume in my apartment for a good month before. It was a full-time job!”
That full-time job continues into late 2018 as The Fretless already has shows throughout North America booked into the fall, with more being added all the time.