Journal 

Touring Australia and Finishing a Record 

There are parts of Australia that feel like they ought to be the wild west, scrubby wide fields and cows, little towns with painted signs.

And then there is the collosal grandeur we recently witnessed on a jaunt along the Great Ocean Road. The wind flew hard from our cliff top view and the stormy sky parted for strands of sun that glistened on the broiling sea. The waves smashed enormous but were dwarfed by the incredible towers of cliff known as the twelve apostles.

We are well past the halfway point on this long journey through Australia, and it has been amazing and beautiful and challenging. Challenging in that we are touring and finishing our record all at once, which is a helluva thing when the hub of it all is back in Canada, and we are remote satellites, negotiating time zones, communicating via internet, picking up signals on our laptops wherever we can hunt them down. Quite magical that we can do this, but it’s definitely not without it’s technical, physical and emotional challenges. Just the other day Grant and I recorded violin tracks for Nicky’s song Starlight in the airport where Ruth’s cousin Jeremy works… an unlikely recording studio, but we got something, and eventually, a few towns and various wobbly internet connections later, found a way to send the audio files back to David in Toronto while we slept.

As we travel, David madly works away on the final marathon of stereophonic wizardry that is shaping our new bunch of songs, sends us the mixes and awaits our responses. We’ve spent much of our van time with headphones on, making copious notes and discussing what is taking shape. It was actually quite a relief to take the headphones off and start burning cd’s of potential song order to listen in the van. The charms wore off though with our deadlines passing and hard decisions needing to be made. This could only be done by listening to the many possibilities top to bottom, over and over.

The huge night sky thick with stars in Yackandanda really helped me with some perspective. We could see a strand of our spiral galaxy spoking across the sky. So many stars! It was liberating to contemplate the vastness. Easier to come back to the microcosmic universe of the Jennys new CD. It gets more and more real every day. Surges of excitement shoot light through the ordeal. Ron has sent us artwork to proof, final changes are almost complete and our record labels are eagerly awaiting the finished goods so they can get the thing made and out there.

And in the meantime, we are travelling far and wide, seeing beautiful sites, being hosted by lovely people, oh yeah, and playing tons of shows! Our hackeysack skills have improved considerably on this trip. It’s been a great way to shake out the stiffness of travel when we stop to gas up. It helped having Caro, a former soccer champ, pro coach and bundle of good vibes, along as a road manager for the first half of the tour, and Grant has picked up the slack for the second half.

We were in Melbourne for the commonwealth games, where Caro had befriended the mission staff of team Canada, so we ended up hanging out with Jennifer and Monique at the athletes village one day, had a meal with Charmaine Reid, Canada’s number one female badminton player, and then sang Oh Canada to honour the previous days medal winners. Very cool. It was wild to stand next to the young gymnasts, see their humanity and focus, and then watch Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs win a gold that very night. Amazing.

We are going looking for kangaroos tonight at Pebbly beach, after spending the day working on the record in Ulladulla. We fantasize about the celebration we will have when this record is finally finished. We will smoke cigars and smash bottles of champagne. We will run around exploding firecrackers and shooting guns into the air. Nicky will shave her head. There will be solid gold dancers.

… By the ocean I saw two wedge tailed eagles soaring into the dusk driven sky. Needed that, thank you universe. Happy to report we also saw about 25 kangaroos! Boing boing boing!

~ Nicky