Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk release “Over Land and Sea”

It’s only been five years since Lauren Mann first played live. Although she’s always been writing songs, Mann’s first foray into live music came after a friend convinced her to join him on stage at a house concert.

It’s only been five years since Lauren Mann first played live. Although she’s always been writing songs, Mann’s first foray into live music came after a friend convinced her to join him on stage at a house concert, pushing her out of the comfort of playing for friends and family at First Assembly Church in southwest Calgary.

That one show has now turned into tours across North America and an album with her band, The Fairly Odd Folk, to be released April 9 on Wanderer Records.

Born in B.C., but a resident of Calgary for the past 11 years, Mann spent four months working at an Ontario children’s camp at the end of 2010. Staying in a house surrounded by trees, Mann and her husband Zoltan Szoges lived frugally, pinching pennies so they could support themselves while on tour. It was here that Mann wrote the songs for “Over Land and Sea”.

“It was a really cool setting to be creative and write from,” she said.

With overriding themes of journeys and travelling, “Over Land and Sea” transcends you through honest life reflections. At only 24-years-old, it’s hard not to be moved by Mann’s breathtaking vocals and heart-stopping lyrics. Combined with sweeping musical accompaniments, the 11-songs become whole and emotionally gripping.

Recorded in Florida with producer Aaron Marsh (of the indie-rock band Copeland), the album also highlights the partnership Mann and Szoges not only as husband and wife, but also as band mates. In fact, Szoges hadn’t ever played music until the pair decided to follow Mann’s dreams and hit the road.

“He said, “If you’re going to be playing by yourself and I’m going to be there, I might as well do something,'” said Mann.

So far, she said she has taught him bits and pieces of percussion and keys. “I get to show him what I love to do and teach him that,” she added.

Szoges has also become the band’s manager, working tirelessly over the past year to get “Over Land and Sea” into the hands of industry people.

After over 375 tour dates, the couple’s hard work has paid off. To celebrate the release of “Over Land and Sea”, Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk will play the Ship and Anchor on April 10 and the New Black Centre on April 12.

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