As the World Turns

I know - I shouldn't open with this - it goes against my Pollyanna nature. And don't worry - we're not going to talk about the 'T' word - an agreement made at so many gatherings of friends these days. It's just too toxic and frustrating. But just to say, when the Paris Accord news hit, like millions around the world, I felt sick, scared, and hopeless. Not an uncommon state of mind over the past 4 months, at least when I take my fingers out of my ears and stop singing la-la-la-la. But by the end of the day the fact that cities and states were picking up the gauntlet and claiming their right to continue to participate in the Accord and embrace the goals and agreements made by the dedicated and intelligent humans from around the world in sense of hope did a 180. The fact that the dire state of environmental affairs could indeed finally trigger the mother bear in us to rear up to protect sanity and science gave me the first hope I've felt in a long time. And it inspired other countries to renew their dedication to reaching their goals. Finally...a glimmer.

Oh, there is SO MUCH more I could say but let's move on to Story Time!
I grew up on the close to the ocean - specifically, where San Pablo Bay and San Fancisco Bay meet. When my siblings and I were kids our Dad bought an old cabin cruiser and re-built it himself. It was a funky humble little boat surrounded by ostentatious fancy modern yachts docked at the Marin Yacht Club. (I was going to include a shot of us 3 kids sitting atop the boat but I can't find it! Argh!) But we LOVED it and spent much of our time scrambling around and under the docks in the harbour, digging for clams, fishing for catfish, and buying 5 cent bottles of Coca- Cola out of the machine in the shed. We would go over to Angel Island for picnics and up to Tinsley Island in the San Juaquin River for vacations. They had moved an old lighthouse there and we’d hang out in the top, looking out over the river delta. It was before entertainment involved drugs, drinking, phones and computers. We just played skittles, horseshoes, swam, and swam some more. 

After our Dad died in ’61 a family friend with a 75’ German schooner would take us out on adventures with his family. The photo on the front of “The View From Here” was taken by my sister while I napped in the spinnaker of that magnificent boat.

So that must be why being on the water is in my blood. And why for three significant chapters of my life I’ve lived where taking a ferry home is part of the deal: Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast when I first came to Canada as a wide eyed, lost and searching 19 year old; Saltspring Island for my most formative years as a songwriter between ‘78 and ’88; and Bowen Island for the past 24 years. (Holy crap – I never imagined I’d live any one place for that long!)

BC'ers love to complain about the ferries – but for me, the boat ride never loses it's charm. Which is not to say that I scamper up to the top deck to swoon in the salt air on every crossing – that 20 minute trip is also a prime napping opportunity. But I do feel a bit guilty about snoozing in the car while we pass through one of the most stunning vistas in the world

I’ve always felt there would be a boat chapter in my future. But ever the pragmatist, I know the responsibility and cost is daunting, and that you cannot blithely go out on the water in a moving vehicle without knowing what the hell you’re doing. So unless I start trolling docks searching for a single seasoned yachtsman, it's probably not going toMaybe it’s a houseboat (another fantasy – Oh, I have SO MANY!). But for now I get my kicks in my little 8’ plastic kayak that I got for my 60th birthday - and that’s enough of a thrill for me. That first push off the shore takes my breath away. There’s just nothing else like it in the human experience. And then of course, there's always the ferry boat. Ever an island Gal.

Bluebirds and Songbirds of Spring
Seniors’ Week is coming up. I never knew there was such a thing until the Roundhouse informed me that our Bluebird North was scheduled during it and asked if I might book the show accordingly. I was happy to oblige, though a bit stumped as to other qualifying females to book. I’ve never paid serious attention to the gender balancing the shows – it just happens. But I also do love being the girl with the guys! So four fabulous men and me it is!

Bill Sample and I go WAY back to when I first came to Canada before I was even in music. He and Marcus Mosely just wrote a bunch of tunes together for Marcus’ new album. Norman Foote is one of the cleverest writers I know; and Ron Irving, (who actually started the Bluebird North in Vancouver), served with me on the SAC board together for years and is also a great song craftsman. And I will have NEW SONGS! Okay, at least one!

As you may have heard, the SAC is being forced to change the name of its signature event. Here's the official explanation from the SAC:
Historically the name "Bluebird North" was an adaptation of "Bluebird Cafe", a storied Nashville music venue. Similarities existed to illustrate the incredible wealth of songwriting talent between both countries, as well as the long history of cooperation between North American writers. However, due to a shift in legal status of the trademarked name "Bluebird Cafe", "Bluebird North" will now be "Songbird North".

So yeah - it's a done deal. This is our last show for the summer so we will be returning in the fall with "Songbird North". Don't be confused!

In the interest of getting this off to you in a timely fashion, rather than list shows here, just check the WEBSITE to get the schedule for the summer. I didn't book a lot of shows and festivals this summer so I can get a new album written. Yes, I’ve been writing, though not without the usual whining and foot dragging. Why oh why it is so hard for me to get rolling, I will never understand, but that seems to be my process. I have to lock myself away and go through what I imagine rehab (light) might feel like – something I know is going to be REALLY hard and feel like crap for a few days and finally, finally the log jam loosens and things start to flow. Then of course, life gets in the way and it’s 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. But I’ll get there – I always do. It’s TIME for a new album so there’s no escaping it.

Recently I went to a little cabin with a box of cassettes (yes, cassettes) of song ideas that I logged from the 70's through the 90's that I’d never re-visited. And surprisingly I found some gems in there that are time traveling to the present. Who knew?

One last thing...a year after I recorded it in Toronto, CBC is airing my installment of "My Playlist" on Saturday, June 17th. at 9:00 am. As hard as it was to narrow down a lifetime of love of music to 10 songs, it was still a blast to do.

Thanks for reading and being so supportive....
Your friend, Moi

Julia GraffComment