It’s been quite an adventurous past few weeks. I left Winnipeg on April 10 and drove to the West Coast, then onto Alberta (with a flight out to Ontario in between), galavanting here and there, soaking up rain and sun and healing up scrapes and bruises and black eyes, singing and playing up a storm, meeting incredible people, seeing new places, connecting with dear friends, eating wonderful homemade meals (and some great non-homemade meals)… and now I feel like hibernating for a month
I celebrated my birthday at the end of May, in my hometown of Calgary. I have a bit of a love/no-love relationship with Calgary. I love the people I know there, I love that there are hills and amazing parks and bike/walk pathways, I love the proximity to the mountains and the foothills, I love the sky, I love how it actually cools down at night in the summer for sleeping, I love that the basements are dry, I love how the sun is out so much all year round, I love the consignment stores, I love the Elbow and the Bow rivers, I LOVE Ginger Beef (a Calgarian invention and specialty), I love that there are more folk clubs in Calgary than any other place in North America (perhaps the world)… I loved growing up there. What I’m not crazy about is the fast-paced feel of the city, which has gotten worse over the years, and the city’s obsession with wealth and consumerism. Of the cars I see on the road there, most are worth more than what an average person makes in a year. It always shocks me a bit. There’s a vibe that permeates the city, almost like a pressure to prove your worth, that you need to drive the best car, own an expensive home, have all the right toys… spend spend spend. It’s a tricky thing, because we live in a consumerist society and every city suffers from this to some extent. How do we not get caught up in it? All I know is that the best things in life aren’t things. Visits to my hometown get me thinking seriously about all this stuff, about where I want to put my energy, what my values are, who my community is. We all have love/no-love relationships with our hometowns and with our current locations, and maybe that’s good.
One of the highlights of my tour was being an instructor at FAMI camp (Foothills Acoustic Music Institute), that took place at a camp near Bragg Creek, AB. I taught the Folk-Rock Ensemble class and oh my, did we have fun. I have never belted out Guns n Roses and Twisted Sister quite like I had that weekend. And the jams that went til all hours… It took me a week just to recuperate! I highly recommend checking out FAMI: http://www.fami.ca
Another highlight was my time down at the Coast. I played a superb house concert series on Bainbridge Island and made friends for life. Over in Vancouver I had such an amazing time playing for the Lynn Valley community, I unofficially adopted myself out to them. I also performed at the Bluebird North concert series and had a blast. Met some great fellow songwriters, and finally got to connect with my NBF Shari Ulrich. I gave a small intimate show at a chocolate shop of all places, and had perhaps the BEST hot chocolate in my life: dark and spicy hot chocolate with homemade salted caramel marshmallows. You have to check this place out: http://www.cocoanymph.com/
I was also able to visit a bit with Rufus Stewart, one of Canada’s finest instrument repairmen. Rufus has been looking after my old Martin HD-28, getting it back into shape and back to its glorious sound. If you’re looking for a great repair person, he’s the man: http://www.rufusguitars.com/ I played for the first time down in the Crowsnest and Twin Butte (on the way to Waterton), even got to see Waterton for the first time. Gorgeous. Shows in Calgary and Edmonton were awesome (as were the audiences). So many other wonderful things happened on this tour (even the trip to TO was good, despite the horrid cycling accident… I got to hang out with the Weeds who I love!!!).
The album is currently being mixed and I’m feeling all the nerves and worries and stresses one always experiences when about to bring something so personal and creative into the world. All I can say is I hope you all love it! This project would not have been possible without the incredible amount of support I received from friends and fans across the globe, to people who pre-ordered online, those who pre-ordered at concerts, those who sent pre-orders through the mail… It has exceeded my wildest hopes. Thank you.
Peace, hope, trust and light to you all -