The Hello Darlins: Tour de force

Manifesting is the key topic of conversation with Candace Lacina, frontwoman of The Hello Darlins. “I wish the sun was shining a little bit more today. This point in winter, I’m ready for the summer.” She laughs at me, “Just pretend it’s there and then so it will be…” She adds, suggesting that the tone of our interview will follow the pattern of hope and renewal.  


The Hello Darlins hail from Canada, although their collaborative efforts reach across the world, with musicians tapping in and out of the project as and when they can contribute. The main pair – Lacina and her husband Mike Little – are among the most highly requested session and touring musicians in the country, nay, in the world. As true professionals, they were on tour for a total of 187 days in 2023, with no view to stop in 2024. “Well, luckily this album was already in the works before we went on tour, so it was nice to just be able to plan for it. We had another record we were touring late [2021s ‘Go By Feel’] because of the pandemic. We hadn’t really had a chance to tour it, so this was an opportunity to kind of tour that record and also play some of the songs live in front of audiences.” Lacina explains.  


The ability to tour and create an album at the same time might not be unique in today’s music industry, but for The Hello Darlins, the two are intertwined: “I think ‘The Alders and the Ashes’, it’s a blend of a bunch of different things that we do live,” the music is reflective of that, with the double-LP taking the listener on a journey from acoustic, more intimate moments to the more fast-paced, bombastic anthems, Lacina reminisces, “We had a lot of midtempo, more reflective songs and our live show is very dynamic. It’s a combination of being really upbeat and playing all different styles of gospel, blues, country and even some rock. But then also the folk elements, the more acoustic sections, that are more heartfelt. We wanted an album that really represented more closely what our live shows are like.” As The Hello Darlins seek to represent their sound on record, it’s not just that that shapes their music, but also the influence of all the prestigious artists they collaborate with. “I think being a collective, from what we know from so many years of being touring musicians and being on the road is that lots of times a session and backup musician, they have a number of different gigs that they take and they may become artists themselves on their own,” Lacina’s understanding of touring life and session musicianship informs the way that her and Little work on their own music.  


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