Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hello again. It looks like I may not be capable of keeping my blog up-to-date, so I’m going to stop apologizing about it. At this point, it’s not very popular anyway.

That said – here I go with another one.

It’s December 28th – just after Christmas. I am back in Ontario for the holidays. Oliver and I were lucky enough to take part in Via Rail’s On Board Entertainment program, which took us from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal and then back to Kingston in trade for performing our music on board the train. We played a show in Montreal at Grumpy’s Bar as part of Brie Neilson’s Chick Pickin’ Mondays. Brie performed at the end of the night and was outrageously awesome and very inspiring. There was also a performance by Hanna Epperson who layered violin tracks on a loop pedal, sometimes adding vocals and the whole time rocking everyone’s world. It was a really fantastic evening – I love playing a short set and then getting to hear other people play too.

We also played at The Bohemian Café and Gallery in my hometown, Bracebridge. A mother and daughter operation, The Bohemian is a very good thing in a town that really needs a venue for art and music and young people and emerging craftspeople to do what they do. Tammy and Kristen are doing their best to keep it going in what I would say are challenging times and are really reaching out to the community with this venue. Thank you Tammy and Kristen.

I am a little sad to admit that it seems impossible to get anyone from my generation out to any shows in my hometown. Shit, was I really that unpopular in high school that my peers still don’t want to be seen associating with me or what?  My parents’ friends (who yes, are also my friends too) are always supportive, encouraging and most importantly present at these hometown concerts, but never a soul from my school days. Huh. Thank god for Amber and Scott (a fine Muskoka singer/songwriter himself) who I met at previous gigs and who show up to hear us almost every time. And for the slew of teenagers who wandered in to The Boho and stayed to listen. My love to you. 

Anyway, contrasts, contrasts… that’s what I called this post so…

While sitting in our private cabin (the largest cabin) on board the train, admiring our bunk beds, private toilet and sink and the little chocolates on our pillows, we started laughing about the incredible contrast between our regular life on Denman which includes chilly outdoor sponge baths from a five-gallon bucket, having to drag a battery in from the solar shed if we want to turn on a light or run a laptop, using a bucket full of straw and sawdust as our toilet, freezing our butts off in the morning if we don’t have time to light a fire, bicycling absolutely everywhere on the island, even in the most wretched weather, and getting our hands pretty dirty daily, to our life at some of these gigs. At the Roots & Blues festival this summer, the festival organizers put my whole family up in a really nice hotel room! They just threw it in when I mentioned I needed to find accommodations for my family. We got the big cabin on the train and nice meals in the dining car three times a day! In Tofino we got to stay in a nice room too, were well fed and well watered, and taken on the most awesome whale-watching tour ever! We get to do all this stuff that we could never, ever afford do if we weren’t touring musicians, but also could never afford to do because we are touring musicians.  It’s kind of great. We reaaalllyyy rough it from day to day, but then we get to live in style once in a while.

I think I’d originally planned to drag out the whole contrasts thing a little more, but that was back when I originally thought of this blog post, and when I should have written it.

Oh I thought of another tidbit. I used to enjoy shopping when I lived in the city, but today I tried to go shopping with my Oma and aunt and sister and it seems that I have become a huge fashion snob. Me – bucket girl – a fashion snob. So much so that I told my Oma that something she liked was tacky.  I wouldn’t let her try it on. I think it’s a good thing though, I think it’s driven by my friendships with some very good craftspeople who make extremely good quality work and a renewed, ever growing consciousness about where clothing is made, who makes it, how many people, animals and plants suffer for others to have nice (nice from a distance, poorly made from close up) things. I’m officially done with shopping malls, I think.  I was trying to hold on for nostalgia sake. Growing up in the country, I loved going down to the city and looking through the mountains of stuff and returning home with fists full of plastic shopping-bag handles. But I’ve grown out of it. The people watching isn’t even very fun anymore. I just end up feeling sorry for the boyfriends who are being dragged around, awkward and feigning (badly) enthusiasm by their girlfriends.  That must really suck. I’m glad Oliver hates shopping and comes right out with it. He knows how build all kinds of useful things. That’s better.

This really is a yammering blog. I hope it’s ok.

Until next time!

Happy New Year! 

Oli and Leo

Somewhere north.

Grumpy's Bar in Montreal

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hurricane: New EP, and it's free.

In 2011 Oliver and I moved the furniture around in our little rented cabin on Denman Island and set up our mics and computer to record the EP, Hurricane. We hadn’t released any music since The Things That Stay With Me in 2009, and I wanted to get some of my new songs recorded and out there.  Through trades, improvising and generosity, we were able to produce the EP for next to no cost and now we have released it for free download through my website:  A handful of good friends assisted with these recordings – Ken Hatch, Cameron Walsh, Stephen Stepanic and of course my partner, Oliver Wives who puts as much creativity and hard work into my songs as I do while writing them.  

Get the New EP for free