BLISSFUL NEWFOUNDLAND FOLK / POP DUO WEAVES HOPE, HARMONY AND HEART.
“Wherever you go / Go with all your heart / The way that you planned it at the start”
Fortunate Ones is a Juno nominated, Canadian Folk Music Award winning folk-pop duo made up of singer/pianist/accordion player Catherine Allan and singer/guitarist Andrew James O’Brien– endearing audiences with wide-eyed energy, pragmatic optimism, and an earnest mission for connection.
Andrew and Catherine grew up on opposite sides of the island of Newfoundland – Mount Pearl and Corner Brook respectively. It was in St. John’s where the pair met and began to sing together. One night in 2010, Andrew heard Catherine sing harmony with her brother at a private gathering in downtown St John’s. He had to sing with her. The next day he got up the nerve, left her a note, she acquiesced, and within 48 hours they were singing together on stage. While it was a road from that evening to the formation of Fortunate Ones in 2013, their beginnings are in keeping with one of the core messages they carry. That sometimes the most important decision you can make is to just say YES.
From a musical family, the Allan home was a constant eclectic flow of instruments, singing and the stereo. Catherine studied classical piano, taught herself guitar in secret, and discovered the accordion by chance when her brother brought one home over Christmas in 2011. Musical exploration was the norm. After moving to St. John’s, Catherine’s induction to the East Coast music scene was rapid – performing with Andrew, recording and touring extensively with JUNO award-winning songwriter Amelia Curran, and appearing at festivals with Curran and East Coast songwriter Don Brownrigg.
Andrew James O’Brien launched his music career with a well-received solo album Songs for Searchers (2011) – nominated for Best Pop Recording at the 2012 East Coast Music Awards. He toured heavily in Canada and the UK, opening for artists such as Sharon Shannon and Paul Brady. Catherine accompanied him. It was on a UK tour that they realized the direction their collaboration was taking. The appreciation shown by UK audiences bolstered the pair’s sense of purpose. Their music began to evolve to represent both of their sensibilities, skills and sounds.
“We put a name on something that was naturally occurring, and then we took steps to follow it up. We would share equal duties vocally, musically, and conversing with the audience. It wasn’t Andrew James O’Brien with Catherine Allan anymore – it was already Fortunate Ones.”
Plain and simple, they consider themselves fortunate to pursue their dreams. Their name reflects shared experience with audiences. It is about connecting people of all kinds, to make strangers friends, to elicit feelings of joy, hope, sadness, and contemplation – and the spirit that we are all in this together.
Produced by multi-ECMA winner, Daniel Ledwell at Lake Echo, Nova Scotia, THE BLISS is nominated for the 2016 Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, 5 East Coast Music Awards including Album of the Year and Group Recording of the Year, winner of 4 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards and has garnered 2 number 1 singles on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20. Fortunate Ones’ won the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year and are nominated for the 2016 International Folk Music Award for Artist of the Year. The Bliss was released on JUNO award winning songwriter Rose Cousins’ record label Old Farm Pony Records on February 10, 2015.
“Eastern Canada is known for producing great talent, bolstered by a supportive community. The Atlantic Provinces have a unique advantage of being close knit and kindred. We want to help each other succeed. Fortunate Ones have created a beautiful debut in THE BLISS. They’re just getting started and are already ahead. I’m excited to welcome this very talented duo to Old Farm Pony Records.”