CANADIAN TOUR, September 2006 

CANADIAN TOUR, September 2006

We started on the West Coast, in Victoria. The Alex Gooldin theatre was packed and we played a show with ‘Outlaw Social, my sweet friend Oliver Swain’s new Old-timey band. They were awesome. Ollie then played bass with us on our set. We were also joined by Jeremy Penner, another dear old friend and ex-Scrujer, and of course a wicked fiddler, who is now living in Vancouver and made the trek over to the Island to play with us. How trippy to be playing with the Jennys and my old comrades of Moody Penner and Swain at the same time. It was a special moment for me, and a really special show mostly due to an amazing audience. Thank you to all of you who came out. A big thanks also to Ian Maclean for the smoked salmon.

Vancouver was an awesome night as well. Another incredible audience, and good vibes on stage with Jeremy joining us once again.

Next came Alberta, where we played three shows: Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer. It rained then snowed in Calgary, a bit of a shock after the West Coast loveliness, but it was a nice moment of nostalgia, as it reminded me of a snowy night on our first fall tour, 4 years ago, loading into the Nickelodeon folk club. This time it was the Calgary Folk Club, but an equally fine experience and another great audience. We got to stay with our good friends Jon and Jodi in Calgary. As usual, we thank them for their support, generosity and washing machines, as well as the cheese sauce and strangely large shrimp. In Edmonton we met up with the wonderful Christine Richardson, ate at Cafe Mosaic twice in 24 hours, and we power-shopped at one of our favorite stores, Nokomis, that specializes in local and Canadian designers. It’s a good thing we won’t be returning to Edmonton in the near future. Thanks Christine for the pumpkin Chili (who would have thought?) the braids (can you teach Nicky?) and the good times. The show felt good – the Myer Horowitz is a beautiful theatre and the sound was amazing. The new material really felt like it was starting to gel. In Red Deer we played Starlight for the first time and it felt right. Once again we played for a lovely responsive audience and remembered why we like sharing our music with Prairie folk. It has been so long!

We had 4 days in Winnipeg next, during which I packed up all my belongings to allow for major renovations in the place I call home. I felt, well, homeless, and look forward to returning and settling in when things are calmer. It was a pretty chaotic and exciting time all around, gearing up for the hometown show at the Playhouse, rehearsing the tunes with Gilles Fournier and Jeremy Penner, and performing at the press launch, held by MARIA (Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association). Everything went according to plan; even my nerves kicked in, predictably, on the morning of the show, just to remind me we were playing in Winnipeg that night. The show ended up feeling great. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us – it meant so much.

We flew to Ottawa bright and early the next morning. It was a big fat reunion, with Caro welcoming us at the airport, Grant doing sound and Chris White spreading good vibes and bringing yummy Italian food into our lives. We rehearsed for all of 10 minutes at sound-check with brand new bass-man on board, Rob Fahie. He wasn’t kidding when he said he’d know the tunes. He was great.

Next day was Montreal. We went straight to ‘Au Vivre’ for a dose of vegan food to fuel us for the day. Mmmm…. dragon bowls and Oasis smoothies. This time it was Annabelle’s turn to feel the pressure, with only 24 hours in her hometown, a suitcase to overhaul, and her own set of bathroom renovations to check in on. Everything felt calm again by dinnertime though, when we found ourselves at Mike and Rick (of Au Vivre)’s warehouse space for mushroom risotto and brussel sprouts. Thanks guys! There was a lovely vibe in the room when we got back to Salla Rosa. Rose Cousins warmed up the room beautifully, Rob joined us once again on the bass and the crowd was crazy and enthusiastic and kind.

Three more shows. David Travers-Smith drove out to Gananoque to record the show there (as well as the Toronto and Peterborough shows): we decided it was time to try and get some live tracks and hopefully a live version of Calling All Angels in the bag. He graciously accepted the challenge and we thank him and Grant for working so hard to make it happen. It poured that night, we didn’t know that’s what it was but there was pounding on the roof and unbeknownst to us a fierce lightening storm came very close to shutting the system down during the 2nd set. We just sang obliviously under the roof of the little white theatre-set house we happened to be sharing the stage with that night and luckily everything was fine.

Toronto was crazy and wonderful. The Mod Club was a cool place to play even if the vibe did get a little wiggy after dark, when the dance party took over and the staff yelled at our friends. We were joined on stage by Brett Higgins on the upright bass and Mark Mariash on drums. It was such a treat to have the bottom end round things out again and to have our tunes graced with the elegant grooves of Mr Mariash – Mark has appeared on two of our records and we plan to steal him from Ron Sexmith’s band as soon as possible 🙂 Thanks, once again, to all our friends, the ones we almost never see but think about lots and lots, that came out to show.

Next day we drove to Peterborough and played our final show of the tour. Kevin Fox opened up and it was beautiful. He makes that cello sing and it made me want to have cello on every single song on our next record. Our show was fueled by large amounts of Indian food, which was probably a good thing cause it was a long one – we played Calling All Angels a second time in the encore just so we had one more take to choose from. I hope the audience didn’t mind – at least it’s a good song, certainly one I wouldnt’ mind playing twice in one night again.

At 5 am the next morning, after 3 hours of sleep, we left Peterborough, drove to Toronto, said goodbye to Canada for a while, and flew down to Greensboro, North Carolina.

~ Ruth.