Queen's University — Since 1873
1st November 2011

Pushing and pulling

Charlotte Cornfield’s full-length debut, Two Horses, focuses on a complicated, long-distance relationship

Charlotte Cornfield says Joni Mitchell is her main inspiration because she’s unrivalled in talent and songwriting.
Charlotte Cornfield says Joni Mitchell is her main inspiration because she’s unrivalled in talent and songwriting. (Supplied)

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The Montreal Mirror dubbed Charlotte Cornfield as the next it-girl of folk-rock. But Cornfield is hesitant to label herself.

“Folk-rock is the general consensus [of] what my music is,” she said. “There’s a big trend right now in folky-rock stuff with bands like Mumford and Sons and Feist that I could maybe fit into.”

Cornfield said she borrows from a mix of artists, including Neil Young, Talking Heads, the Ramones and Bob Dylan.

“I started playing music when I was really young. I took piano lessons and I got interested in other instruments — I switched around from piano to French horn,” she said.

“In high school I played in a band and started writing my own songs and playing guitar.”

Cornfield graduated from Concordia University in 2010 with a BFA in jazz drumming.

The 23-year-old’s full-length debut Two Horses, was released on Oct. 25.

Cornfield, a Toronto native, said the album focuses on a complicated, long-distance relationship.

“There’s a lot of push and pull between two people and two cities,” she said. “Toronto and Montreal are two cities that really push and pull me. There’s a lot of Kingston imagery, because it’s the halfway point.”

Cornfield started the writing process in 2009 and began recording in 2010, but said the album has been in development since she was a child.

“I’ve been working on it since I started music,” she said.

Cornfield plays bass, drums and piano on the record. She said she’s been performing in Montreal since she was 17.

“[I] have this romanticized view of Montreal,” she said. “I totally fell in love with the city. It’s a really magical place.”

Cornfield is currently on a North American tour in support of the new album. She last went on tour after finishing her degree in 2010, as the drummer for several bands, including Brent By Elephants and the Keys.

“It was insane. I had no idea how I balanced. I spent so much time outside of class working. I’m really glad I did it, but it was super stressful. I did assignments backstage and on the bus.”

She said the new album shows the growth from her previous EPs, 2007’s It’s Like That Here and 2009’s Collage Light.

“This is my strongest work,” she said. “I’ve had consistent development as a writer and artist.

“Sound wise, there’s a really nice rock and roll and also introspective folkier stuff.”

Charlotte Cornfield plays the Grad Club tomorrow night with the Gertrudes. The show starts at 9 p.m.

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