“Offering their unique brand of ‘’folk music for the twisted soul,” this duo of Australian David Farrell and Nova Scotian Janet Mills once again shine with just an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and their stunning dual harmonies.” - Martin Noakes
The Strange Valentines are noted for their unique blend of Canadiana contemporary folk drawn from Australian rock (David Farrell) and Nova Scotia folk (Janet Mills).Using two voices and acoustic instruments, they sound somewhere between Gillian Welch, The Milk Carton Kids, and The Waifs. Various iterations of guitar, mandolin, octave mandolin, and tight blended voices tell tales from deepest heartbreak to pitchfork-like angst against corporate greed in their connective live shows.
David Farrell is an accomplished guitarist previously part of the Australian rock circuit, touring and opening for such major acts as INXS and Canned Heat. Janet Mills was born into Nova Scotia kitchen parties and plays mandolin, guitar, and octave mandolin.
The two met in Atlanta and struck a chord. Factors including enduring several years apart spanning the Atlantic Ocean, a sudden depart from working within (and in spite of) the bureaucracy of the science world, as well as various other personal strife, have proven to be a bottomless cup of songwriting inspiration.
Moving across the country from Regina, Saskatchewan, to River John in 2019 was inspiration for album ‘Forks’ released in 2020 “The emotion is immediately gripping [of album Forks]. Troubling as these issues may be, the duo have found a way to make it sound pretty…The beautifully layered harmonies, coupled with the ever-present light plucking of Mills’ mandolin, prove to be a deadly combo in any setting” [Maggie MacLean, The East Magazine].
When pandemic world arrived, it shifted everything for everyone and The Strange Valentines found themselves trapped in a cosy nest next to the ocean in Nova Scotia. The next work that would be inspired would be ‘Does Anyone Know How to Fix Old Radios’ released June 7th, 2021. Themes of isolation, broken-ness, and environmental dysfunction appeared in a yearning for answers in simple radio repair in a sparsely produced, acoustic, live on the floor album. “This is a beautiful collection of olde-worlde tunes from The Strange Valentines…the stunning two-part harmonies and expressive use of the mandolin…making it hard to take this album off the repeat play cycle” [Martin Noakes, Great Dark Wonder].
The pandemic shortage of shows prompted the duo to produce a video series called ‘Community Strong’. A YouTube offering with an interview of a community representative, showcasing history and culture in different community halls of Nova Scotia, finishing with a live performance to the empty hall in each episode.
The changing world has meant that live music can’t be delivered in the same ways as before the virus changed everything. With extra challenges such as rural internet (forget live streaming…) the duo continue to explore and deliver live music to people in unconventional ways.
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