The Raven & The Fox find inspiration from their love of one another and the town of Canmore
For the folk duo, The Raven & The Fox, living near a mountain range is serene, breathtaking, and a source of direct inspiration. The members Sean Issac (The Fox) and Julie Chang (The Raven) live in Canmore and make “love-inspired mountain music.”
“The first inspirations were kind of our courtship and then of course living in a place in the middle of the Canadian Rockies,” Issac says. “It would be impossible not to have that affect our songwriting.”
The band name comes from Issac and Chang’s first encounter with one another during a jam session in Canmore.
“The first night I met her she was with her sister. They always had a game to figure out what animal somebody would be,” Issac says. “She asked me what I thought she was and I said ‘raven.’ I guess I pegged it because they had already decided that and then she said I was a ‘fox.’ It must have been for my cunning, wily ways.”
After playing a few open mic nights with Issac, Chang travelled back to Toronto to finish her herbal medicine diploma. Issac continued to work his day job as a certified mountain guide, but also started sending Chang letters and lyrics he had been working on.
“They were lyrics and little love letters,” Issac says. “So when she returned, we made those into songs.”
The eventual result was The Raven & The Fox debut album, a collection of Issac’s earthy acoustics, diverse instrumentation, and Chang’s soothing powerhouse voice. The duo is a true collaboration, with Issac writing half the songs and Chang writing the other half. Lyrical themes always seem to focus on love and the different environments both Issac and Chang have been fortunate to visit.
A good representation of this is the song “Where Mountains Meet the Sea,” a mythical love ode to the mountain ranges and bodies of water surrounding Vancouver Island.
There’s also “Desert Alchemy,” a jumbly acoustic ballad that speaks about Issac and Chang’s vacation to Joshua Tree National Park in California.
“I took a 48 hours trip to the desert when I was 18 from Thunder Bay to Joshua Tree to go climbing with some friends. Since then, I’ve been there probably 30 to 40 times for climbing and mountain biking,” Issac says. “Julie and I went a few years ago and explored. We found stuff like swimming holes in the desert. So on the way back, I started writing those first lyrics.
The Raven and The Fox sound may be rooted in traditional roots folk, but it’s the little interludes of instrumentation that feature pedal steel, organ, lap steel, and piano, that set the duo apart.
“I think that’s very indicative of living in a small, quiet, mountain town,” Issac says. “The response has been good domestically and even in the U.S. It hit number four on the National Folk Chart. So, it’s nice to know that it is indeed a good album.”
The Raven and The Fox is still a very new project that has blossomed into a plethora of opportunities for both Issac and Chang.
“It’s a wicked hobby that has kind of taken flight,” Chang says. “We’re basically seizing every opportunity with this to become better musicians.”
Mon., Nov. 2 (5:30 pm)
The Raven & The Fox
The Needle Vinyl Tavern