Blog 2014-05-31 // Proof that the earth is flat

I hope you know that I think of you far far more often than the frequency of my newsletters indicates.

It's been a crazy busy and music filled several months. I've done concerts in every possible configuration - with Bill and Roy in UHF (after 25 years, still such a special treat); with Barney and Tom (the best kid brothers a girl could ask for); with the High Bar Gang (oh my god....it's SO much fun to play bluegrass!); with Ted and Julia doing CD release concerts (yay the new CD!); and countless solo shows from Portland to Flin Flon. Preparing music for so many different shows is excellent for the brain - and lord knows, mine can use all the help it can get.

The concerts in Northern Manitoba were with the combined choirs of The Pas and Flin Flon, so I spent a week up there in the land that still hasn't thawed. (The above shot in Annaheim SK was en route.) Singing with choirs is one of my top favourite things to do musically (okay, along with the above). Being dropped in the middle of a community and being backed by all those wonderful folks who are there simply because they LOVE to sing is heartwarming and quite moving. Every time I turned around and looked at their beaming faces I'd get choked up. Hey, if you're part of a community choir, get in touch with me. I have SATB arrangements of a half a dozen of my songs (as well as for women's chorus and men's chorus), and the evening is a combination of those songs, and a handful from me and a handful from the choir on their own. It's such a great experience for all. It takes some planning in advance, but it's oh so worth it! As far as I'm concerned, voices raised in song is humans at their best. A grammatically questionable statement, but oh so true.

The High Bar Gang went out to Winterpeg to not pick up its Juno award. It was wonderful to see so many old friends from 40 years in the music business. And for the first time ever in my experience at the Junos - there was actually MUSIC being played - thanks to Jim Cuddy organizing a song circle/ jam in the hotel, (a tradition started by Barney several years ago). The cool thing is - everyone does songs that everybody knows. Frankly, since my teens - learning a few Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Tim Hardin, and Joni Mitchell songs to play, I haven't learned any cover songs. I know that learning great songs is invaluable for one's songwriting, so that's going to be this year's resolution - to learn to play and sing some classic great songs. I'll be way more fun at parties - if I were to actually ever go to any.

The past six months have been an interesting chapter, after being either married or partnered for the past 30 years, finding myself comfortably solo. Don't get the wrong idea, that was with 2 spousal units, so I'm hardly a serial tart. From time to time I think - wait, aren't I supposed to be lonely? - but either I'm in denial, I'm underestimating canine companionship, or I'm under the illusion that I'm great company. I'm not sure how close I am to becoming "the crazy woman who lives up on the hill" but I'm enjoying life too much to worry about it. I had a moment when Ronald McDonald House asked me to be a part of their campaign by taking a picture with my family when I thought... "Okay, right now that's me and the dog". It proved impossible to take a selfie while holding the far-from-perky 18 year old hound (yes, Louie is STILL alive!) and the piece of paper for their countdown number and the phone. When I finally gave up, the phrase "this is so pathetic" did enter my mind. But truthfully, other than my decade of marriage and raising a child, I've spent much of my adult life living alone - and I love it - maybe a little too much. I cherish my independence and am more than fulfilled by the wonderful people I play music with and for. Plus, when creativity hits at 3 am, I free to follow it's lead. So the status quo is fine with me. Though when Louie goes, "alone" might take on a different feeling. But until I'm old and decrepit, wishing I'd fallen for someone 30 years younger to carry me up and down the stairs and spoon feed me, I'm a happy gal.

I'll be heading to Montreal in a couple of weeks to watch Julia receive her masters degree - and do a couple more CD release concerts - one in Montreal on June 4th at the Petit Campus and one in Ottawa at the NAC's Fourth Stage on the June 6th. The info is below - please do let your friends know about if they live in the area. And if you aren't coming to a show and don't have the album yet - you should! You can get it at Borealis Records
or on iTunes.

For this week it's off to Vancouver Island. There are still tickets available for the Port Alberni show. And June 1st is the deadline for applying to the songwriting course I'm teaching along with Bill Henderson at the VSO School of Music - the info is below.

Okay - enough with the business!

Happy trails my friend!

Shari