Two-time JUNO winners for Best Instrumental Album, The Fretless recently teamed with 10 Canadian artists including Dan Mangan, Celeigh Cardinal, Nuela Charles and The Bros. Landreth to release an album of covers with vocals called Open House. The folk string quartet consists of Eric Wright (cello), Ben Plotnick (fiddle/viola), Karrnnel Sawitsky (fiddle/viola) and Trent Freeman (fiddle/viola), and here are six songs they consider favourites./Gregory Beatty

“Little Sadie”
Crooked Still, Shaken by a Low Sound (2006)

This album was the first time I’d heard cello as the rhythm section of a bluegrass band. The intro beat on “Little Sadie” is iconic and one I recommend every folk listener check out! The chopping on this album is ahead of its time – and I spent many nights blasting this album on my headphones, playing along to every note. (EW) YouTube

Atoms For Peace, Amok (2013) 

Electronic music beats have always influenced my cello rhythms. “Default” is an exploration of constantly evolving beats. The variations are continuous while keeping the groove tight but human. (EW) YouTube

“Don’t Need No”
Punch Brothers, Antifogmatic (2010)

I spent a lot of formative years being truly obsessed with this band. And I still am, especially with tracks like this one where they seem to truly make adjectives like ‘interesting’, ‘progressive’, ‘angular’ and ‘beautiful’ work together. They’ve done a lot for reinventing what stringed acoustic instruments can do together, and now that records like this exist, I think there’s no going back for new acoustic music. (BP) YouTube

“Everything to Everyone”
Bahamas, Earthtones (2018) 

I love this album, but it was also one of the first albums top to bottom that really connected with our son Jagger when he was a baby. For whatever reason, “Everything to Everyone” is the song we sing for him when I take him for a run and go under or over a bridge. Weird. Silly. All that, and I love it. (KS) YouTube

Adrianne Lenker, Songs (2020)

There is so much depth hidden in the simple front of this album. This track in particular captures a conversational, stream of consciousness expression that is just so inviting. (TF) YouTube

Nicolas Jaar, Space Is Only Noise (2010)

How can everyday life, the sound of traffic, bikes riding by, all sound like music? Nicolas Jaar opened my eyes to the rhythms all around us, and how musical they all are. Add in a snare that sounds both early and late at the same time, tumbling over itself like a lazy ninja. (TF) YouTube