GOLD WINNERWillie Stratton
BRONZE WINNERLaura Rae
Willie Stratton first began unconscious designs for a gold win in the Best Folk Artist category about a decade ago—an accidental MacBeth moment thanks to the immediate word-of-mouth success that saw him filling open mic nights to capacity with his Woody Guthrie-inspired songbook. In the years since, he’s galavanted across genres, landing in 2022 at the three-way stop of country, rock ‘n’ roll and, yes, folk—if you’re willing to accept a bit wider parameters for the latter of the three.
With a new album in 2022—the unmissable Drugstore Dreamin’, produced by Port Cities’ Carleton Stone—Stratton seems to be embodying the maxim often attributed to Bob Dylan: Folk music is just music for folks. And the folks of Halifax, it seems, cannot get enough.
“I think some people make music purely for themselves. But, for me, it's always been like: The drive of it was to release stuff and then see what people think of it,” Stratton says, speaking with The Coast by phone. “That back-and-forth communication between myself and fans or an audience or whatever. It’s awesome to be in a city that’s supported me for this long, and I’m excited to keep goin’ with it, really.”