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First Play: The Once, Time Enough

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Holly Gordon

St. John’s the Once has been perfecting its harmonies for a decade now, and with the trio’s new and fourth album, the voices of Geraldine Hollett, Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale have coalesced into their best recording yet.

Recorded and produced by Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant, Gabrielle Papillon, Repartee) in Lake Echo, N.S., Time Enough was put together a bit differently from the Once's usual process for its past studio albums.

"We approached Time Enough with an open heart and an open mind,” Hollett said via press release. “We composed apart and came together to Once-up the new material. We are pretty tough customers so it was scary bringing so much guts to the table, but over the years we have earned and accepted one another’s trust. This album is special because of it."

The three musicians met in the early aughts at a theatre company in the community of Trinity, N.L., and their closeness is nowhere more evident than on Time Enough. Hollett’s voice feels simultaneously fresh and storied throughout these nine new tracks, with notes of case/lang/veirs — the supergroup of Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs — seeping through on songs like “Can’t Live Without You” and “Before the Fall.” On the latter track, Churchill and Dale play catch-and-release harmonies with Hollett, as they sing “I lost it all somehow” and she calls out, “Well what are you gonna do now?”

Titled after a common Newfoundland phrase — “It’s about time,” Hollett explained to the Newfoundland Herald, as well as a second meaning Hollett’s Nan gave the phrase: “I’m heartbroken you have to leave,” she would tell friends and family when their visit was ending — this album has that long-time-coming feeling of natural progression and maturation. The title could not be more apt.

Catch the Once performing at the East Coast Music Awards this week, and pick up Time Enough as of its release on May 11. Listen to it in our player above until then.