Ritzy Bryan, leader of Welsh rockers The Joy Formidable, isn't the only female rock guitarist out there, but she is one of few commanding stadium-sized audience of late. It's a bit sad really that in 2013 girls with guitars are still rare enough to warrant special notice, but there is small comfort in the fact that googling Bryan reveals more people looking up her guitar rig than whether or not she has a boyfriend.

Bryan learned classical guitar at the age of 7, and picked up her first Fender Strat at 13. When asked "why guitar?" she offers a rather practical explanation:

"Well, I couldn't play the flute. The harp was too big. The violin too much of a nuisance to those around me," she tells HuffPost. "The guitar was the obvious choice really because I was really passionate about it at a young age. I'm quite self-taught on electric guitar, though. I've put in lots of hours in my bedroom. I never did that with singing — no hairbrush practice in front of the mirror."

As a vocalist, Bryan is a powerhouse. It's one of the reasons The Joy Formidable (which also includes Rydian Dafydd on bass and drummer Matthew James Thomas) can hold its own as opening act for bands like Muse and the Foo Fighters: their whole sound is larger than life. On the band’s latest album, "Wolf’s Law," they've super-sized the mix of '70s prog, '80s dream-pop and ‘90s alt-rock that put them on the map in 2011 with the appropriately titled "The Big Roar" and its hit single "Whirring."

New tunes like the beastly, stentorian "Maw Maw Song" and the gigantic, grungy "Cholla" are made for the biggest stages, which the power trio will hit this weekend at Ottawa Bluesfest and Quebec City's Festival D'été. (Bryan says she's looking forward to returning to Quebec where "it's quite surreal how much they scream, even to the quiet songs.")

Playing outdoor festivals will also allow the band to indulge in its penchant for that most sprawling of rock genres: prog.

“What I love about prog is the spontaneity, the freedom of interpretation," she says. "It's a very exciting live music experience. I try to bring that to my performance, to lose myself in the musical moments. We always tell people we don't take requests, but at the same time, it's important not to just go through the motions.”

As for her position as role model for young women musicians, Bryan says it’s important to support them without making too much of a big deal of gender.

“I don’t want to ever be too patronizing, because sometime it just becomes a marketing angle. But there are some really great female players and bands out there, and we share their stories," she says.

"It is hard to call the shots in a male-dominated industry, and we do need to address that part of the machine. I’m very passionate about that, and as a frontwoman I'm very much at the creative helm. But I've always been a songwriter in a band first, and we write and we sing what we want to sing about. Gender politics is not part of the discussion.”

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  • Rush "Working Man"

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  • May Day Photos

  • May Day rally - London

    Natasha Hoarau, the daughter of former leader of the RMT union Bob Crow addresses the May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    People listen to trade union speakers during a May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    People listen to trade union speakers during a May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    People listen to trade union speakers during a May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    Natasha Hoarau, the daughter of former leader of the RMT union Bob Crow addresses the May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    Terry Hutt, from Cambridge, listens to trade union speakers during a May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day rally - London

    Natasha Hoarau, the daughter of former leader of the RMT union Bob Crow addresses the May Day rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

  • May Day celebrations

    Students pose with local mascots as people celebrate May day morning on the bridge next to Magdalen College in Oxford.

  • May Day celebrations

    People celebrate May day morning on the bridge next to Magdalen College in Oxford.

  • May Day celebrations

    Students celebrate May day morning on the bridge next to Magdalen College in Oxford.

  • May Day celebrations

    Morris dancers entertain the crowd on Mayday morning near the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

  • May Day celebrations

    Morris dancers entertain the crowd on Mayday morning near the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

  • May Day celebrations

    Security stop people from jumping into the river as people celebrate May day morning on the bridge next to Magdalen College in Oxford.

  • UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CRISIS-POLITICS-MAY1

    People march to mark May Day in the center of northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on May 1, 2014. The insurgency dividing Ukraine worsened on Thursday when militants hurling petrol bombs seized a key building in the eastern city of Donetsk as mass pro-Russia rallies were held there and in annexed Crimea. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEY BOBOK (Photo credit should read SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CUBA-MAYDAY-CASTRO

    A Cuban worker shows a poster with portraits of Cuban leader Fidel Castro (R) and late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as he takes part in the May Day parade organized by the Cuban Workers Union (CTC) at Revolution Square in Havana, on May 1, 2014. Some 600,000 workers joined the parade, according to an official estimate. AFP PHOTO/Yamil LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • May Day In Germany: Berlin

    BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 01: People dancing in the street at the MyFest street fest in immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district on May Day on May 1, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. May Day, the international day of labour, is a national holiday in Germany and observed with gatherings by labour unions and political parties. In some cities, including Hamburg and Berlin, the day often ends with violent clahes between police and mostly left-wing demonstrators. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

  • May Day In Germany: Berlin

    BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 01: People relaxe at the MyFest street fest in immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district on May Day on May 1, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. May Day, the international day of labour, is a national holiday in Germany and observed with gatherings by labour unions and political parties. In some cities, including Hamburg and Berlin, the day often ends with violent clahes between police and mostly left-wing demonstrators. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

  • May Day In Germany: Berlin

    BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 01: A man offers food on his stand to the people while they gather the MyFest street fest in immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district on May Day on May 1, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. May Day, the international day of labour, is a national holiday in Germany and observed with gatherings by labour unions and political parties. In some cities, including Hamburg and Berlin, the day often ends with violent clahes between police and mostly left-wing demonstrators. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Protestors throw stones at riot police during clashes after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Riot police fire teargas during clashes after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    A protestor throws stones at riot police during clashes after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • May Day In Germany: Berlin

    BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 01: Thousands of people gather the streets for food and music at the MyFest street fest in immigrant-heavy Kreuzberg district on May Day on May 1, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. May Day, the international day of labour, is a national holiday in Germany and observed with gatherings by labour unions and political parties. In some cities, including Hamburg and Berlin, the day often ends with violent clahes between police and mostly left-wing demonstrators. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Riot policemen arrest a woman after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BOLIVIA-MAYDAY-COB

    Bolivian miners march during the May Day parade organized by the Bolivian Union Workers (COB) in La Paz, on May 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Aizar Raldes (Photo credit should read AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    A woman shows her identity card next to another protestor as riot police uses water cannons during clashes after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CRISIS-POLITICS-DONETSK

    Policemen guard outside regional city building as pro-Russian protesters qttend attend a rally to mark the May Day in northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on May 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEY BOBOK (Photo credit should read SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CRISIS-POLITICS-DONETSK

    A man plays trumpet in front of policemen who guard the regional city building during a rally of pro-Russian protesters to mark the May Day in northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on May 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEY BOBOK (Photo credit should read SERGEY BOBOK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    A demonstrator uses a slingshot during clashes with riot police who wanted to disperse hundreds of people trying to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    A woman sits as other protestors try to take shelter while riot police uses water cannons during clashes after hundreds of people tried to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Rriot police fire d teargas to disperse hundreds of people trying to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Riot police fire d teargas to disperse hundreds of people trying to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • TURKEY-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    Protestors throw stones to riot police who wanted to disperse hundreds of people trying to reach the city's main Kizilay Square to celebrate May Day in Ankara on May 1, 2014. Earlier, riot police in Istanbul used water cannon and tear gas against thousands of protesters who tried to defy a May Day ban on demonstrations, injuring at least 50 people. After a final warning, hundreds of riot police moved on the crowd seeking to breach the barricades leading to Taksim Square, declared off limits to Labour Day demonstrators as the epicentre of anti-government protests in recent months. In the capital Ankara, police fired volleys of tear gas and jets of water on hundreds of protesters trying to march to the Kizilay Square, also declared off limits. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-MAYDAY-PROTEST-LABOUR

    Demonstrators take part in a protest against the Spanish government's austerity measures during a May Day rally in the northern Spanish Basque city of Bilbao on May 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • CUBA-MAYDAY-CASTRO

    Cuban workers take part in the May Day parade organized by the Cuban Workers Union (CTC) at Revolution Square in Havana, on May 1, 2014. Some 600,000 workers joined the parade, according to an official estimate. AFP PHOTO/Yamil LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FRANCE-MAY1-LABOUR-PROTEST

    (From L) Communist Party National Secretary Pierre Laurent, French left party Ensemble's (Together) leader Clementine Autain, and French left-wing party 'Parti de Gauche' (Left Party) (PG) co-president Jean-Luc Melenchon, take part in a May Day rally on May 1, 2014 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)