I started my #MayRun2015 with a relaxing double-set of folk music at the Guild Theatre in Charlottetown. I always enjoy easing into festival mode; and Donovan Woods and Dennis Ellsworth provided the perfect mix of humour and acoustic happiness.

Donovan Woods Guild Charlottetown PEI

My first impression of Donovan Woods was ‘hey, this guy reminds me of BdoubleO100”; his funny stream-of-consciousness dialogue brought the audience to life. Woods’ clear voice and story-telling folk songs were fantastic – it’s no surprise that artists like Tim McGraw and (soon) Lady Antebellum have made them popular. I was particularly taken by a “traditional folk song” called ‘I saw on Facebook that Mike Proposed’, written for a fan who provided Woods with all-too-familiar details about love in the Facebook age.

Dennis Ellsworth Guild Charlottetown PEI

Dennis Ellsworth brought a sincere set of slow, thoughtful songs to life, drawing mostly from his 2013 release Hazy Sunshine. I was taken by his evocative lyrics, many of which feature beautiful nature imagery inspired by Ellsworth’s home in Prince Edward Island.  With songs like ‘Rudderless Day’ and ‘Things I Want’, the audience was treated to excellent songwriting with a lot of heart.

Vishten Guild Charlottetown PEI

I decided to stick around for the Acadian trio, Vishten, who combine traditional Acadian music with Celtic and folk-rock sources to create a cultural experience that’s well-worth seeing.  The group’s three members, sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc, and Pascal Miousse, play a slew of traditional instruments, including fiddle, accordion, mandolin, flutes, and whistles. Percussion is provided by foot tapping and (occasionally) the bodhran. The group performed several instrumental numbers and French songs that included call-and-response audience participation. It was a very enjoyable experience that’s worth checking out in person.

Emilee Sorrey Fishbones Charlottetown PEI

My final show of the evening featured Emilee Sorrey, who performed a quick set at Fishbones Oyster Bar and Grill. I really enjoyed her first single, so was eager to catch her live. And to be honest, I was totally blown away. I loved Sorrey’s bouncy, dreamy-vibe, but was most impressed by her unexpectedly powerful vocals. I didn’t catch a lot of song names, but found that she maintained a consistent laid-back pop-rock vibe that kept the audience dancing. I can’t wait to see more from this young Island musician.

Stay tuned for more from May Run Music Festival in Charlottetown, PEI.