When Red Haven’s Brendan Steele and Jennifer Charters visited New Orleans in February 2014, they were struck by the spontaneity and simplicity expressed by the roving swing bands of Frenchman Street, stopping traffic every night of the week. They returned home with a notebook full of songs, and a concept for a band that would encompass the vitality of a New Orleans street party with the west-coast Canadian folk and indie music they were raised on. Long-time collaborator, songwriter Nathan Turner, picked up an upright bass, and the three began to hone their sound. One year later, Red Haven's raucous, spirited brand of folk music received funding from FACTOR, and was featured on stages at folk music festivals such as Arts Wells, Quadrapalooza, Tiny Lights Festival, and Hootstock. Jesse Thom (Dirty Grace) accompanied the band on drums for a tour, and has since joined in the songwriting process. "While also a folk band, Red Haven’s sound is decidedly different,” says Carolyn Nikodym at the Fernie Fix, “it’s more whiskey soaked and vaudevillian – a perfect Monday evening pick-me-up. The trio, inspired by a trip to New Orleans, blends gypsy jazz and indie pop melodies."
Lead singer Jennifer Charters, also on sax and accordion, brings a gypsy-jazz edge to the textured folk of guitarist Brendan Steele and double-bassist Nathan Turner. The lyrics dissect complex characters, relationships, alternative lifestyles and critical thinking, to a style of music that is all at once reminiscent of 1920’s jazz, 1960’s folk and twenty first century composition.