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Finally Friday Features Sam Burchfield and Little Quirks

Little Quirks
Australia's Little Quirks

As a writer, I’ve always wondered if applying the adjective “quirky” to artists or their work would be taken as kindly as I mean it. To me, quirky means refreshingly odd, out-of-the-box, free of social conformity. To some I suspect it implies being weird. But we don’t need to worry about that with Little Quirks, the indie-pop family band from New South Wales, Australia. They bring their self-proclaimed quirkiness to Finally Friday From Home this week. Fellow FFer Sam Burchfield seems more on the level than quirky, but hey he does live in a school bus with his partner and pups, and that’s certainly unusual. So let’s gather for the strangely uniquely curiosities that Friday holds in store.

Little Quirks are sisters Abbey and Mia Toole, who play guitar and drums respectively, plus their cousin Jaymi Toole on mandolin and her brother Alex on bass. When they got going as street buskers in 2015, Mia, the youngest, was just 11. They cut their teeth playing covers of favorite artists including the Cranberries, Mumford and Sons and Australian star Vance Joy. After a while they got serious about touring and recording, now with three EPs to their credit and a flood of new singles of late including the sweet, celebratory “The Rain.”

Abbey Toole has told the media that while the group knows how to rock out, they fully embrace the folk music label and ethos, calling it music for all ages. “It’s one of the rawest and most real styles of music, where you can hear very personal stories you can relate to in songs,” she told the Canberra Times. “There’s just something different about folk that we know other young people will love if they give it a chance.” With their infectious harmonies and pogo stick energy (you’ll be reminded of The Accidentals and SHEL), not to mention a recent debut at South By Southwest, that love should be spreading in the US.

Sam Burchfield was raised on folk music in the mountainous west of South Carolina. He attended the University of Georgia at Athens, a great town for finding yourself artistically. And then I find this interesting storyin which Burchfield auditioned for American Idol in 2015 and got one of those coveted “golden tickets to Hollywood dawg!”. Except then he applied his music business academic experience to reading the gargantuan contract that came with it, and it turned out to be a thicket of restrictions, limitations and appropriations he just couldn’t take. So he passed. “Anybody that has been doing music for a long time realizes that the good stuff comes from slow growth and a lot of practice,” he told the newspaper. This fella has his head screwed on right.

The music’s self-assured as well. Sam’s new album Scoundrel is hard to find unless you’re an avid Bandcamp visitor,but it’s there. And it’s straight-shootin’ Americana sung in a voice that fits the settings like a wallet slipped in your jeans pocket.

Little Quirks hit the internet at noon at WMOT.org, with Sam following at 12:30.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's editorial director and host of The String, a weekly interview show airing Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. He also co-hosts The Old Fashioned on Saturdays at 9 am and Tuesdays at 8 pm. Threads and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org