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So the wind down of 2012 begins and, good Goddess, I am grateful for the grey days and the opportunity to sleep, eat and play music! 

The past year was chock-a-block with new and wonderful, scary and intense experiences and I am exhausted in every way. After recording The Little Things, I relocated from Calgary to the Appledale, BC in December 2011. I began to meet my community and was blown away by some of the characters! If I may generalize for a moment, the folk in the Kootenays are interesting, ingenious, crazy, colorful, alternative, artistic, musical, garden growin', hard workin', and just down right quirky. Nobody comments on my 'interesting' outfits the way they seemed obligated to do in Calgary. Free boxes, trading and bartering are abundant. I belong here.

The winter in this part of the world is no less than magical. Snow, so much snow, thick and creamy from the tips of the rugged Kootenay peaks to the hidden valley bottoms! The weather is mild (compared to Alberta) and the outdoors inviting! So I spent the winter snowboarding, skiing, doing yoga, baking, visiting the local hot springs and beginning to explore the live-music venues, just me and my guitar, embarking on a new musical adventure.

My first show in the Kootenays was in January 2012 at Ellison's Cafe in Nelson. I'll never forget the scene; a blizzard raged outside but indoors, the crowd gathered around a small wood stove, slurping borscht, nibbling on samosas, sushi and spelt wraps and sipping tea. Homemade toques and scarves. Egg-shakers in hand. Stomping boots on. Encouraging faces, eager to hear something new. What a welcome! I've played at Ellison's a couple of times since then and, to this day, it remains my favorite gig in town!

If you're in Nelson on a Saturday, I urge you to check out this weekly unplugged, original music showcase: Ellison's Cafe Acoustic Unplugged Sessions.

Playing at Ellisons

Playing at Ellison's with a blizzard outside.

During the Spring I ventured out of my valley in an ever increasing radius, exploring the lengths of hidden bays along Slocan Lake, Kootenay Lake and Arrow Lake, playing shows and connecting with any audience that was willing to listen (and participate). I discovered that tucked away in these mountain river valleys is an abundance of enchanting places willing to support original music: The Blue Belle Bistro in Kaslo; the Junction Creek Hub in Crawford Bay; the Snoring Sasquatch in Creston; the Cup and Saucer in Silverton; the Cedar Creek Cafe in Winlaw just to name a small few..

Cedar Creek

The Cedar Creek Cafe in Winlaw, BC

The Cedar Creek Cafe in Winlaw, BC

Snoring Sasquatch

The Snoring Sasquatch in Creston, BC

In July, I officially released my first solo album The Little Things. I felt satisfied, having seen the project to an end and being rewarded with some solid merch to sling at shows. The extra cash flow from CD sales was encouraging and I began making small tours to the Okanagan Valley. I love this area and was always overwhelmed by the hospitality I received.

Now I thought winter in the Kootenays was divine but summertime just takes the cake: the river valleys spring to life, gardens amidst cedar and birch groves, markets, festivals, dance parties, live outdoor music, hiking and camping in the Valhallas, running the logs out into Slocan Lake and diving in. With a little help from our friends we built a garden and gorged on homegrown veggies. We traipsed through the forest, hunting for wild apples, plums and oregon grapes to make sauces, chutneys and jellies for the winter. The long sunny days and plethora of possible outdoor adventures made for a frantically fun season.

I played some beautiful shows during the Summer, one of my favourites being the Cottonwood Market in Nelson. Rob Hay joined me for this gig and we were giddy with the basket of goodies we got to take home at the end of the day. While some folk enjoyed the music and opted to leave cash in the donation box, many others provided us with items far more romantic than money: artisan bread, handmade soaps, crystals, fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade root beer, original art, granola bars, organic cookies and on and on. We felt rich!

Cottonwood Market

Playing at the Cottonwood Market in Nelson, BC. Check out the bounty at our feet!

As it turns out, I took most of the summer off from touring and focused on building a cabin in the Slocan Valley. This project took every ounce of my energy for a good 6 months and my unwritten songs have been sitting on the back burner for some time.

And so this is why I welcome the Fall. The cabin is built, it’s raining outside and my Taylor guitar sits winking at me from the corner of the room. As much as I’m always sad to let summer go, this year I welcome a new season and a change of pace. I am excited for the music yet to be made and I am thankful to those of you willing to receive it.

Slocan River