The exceptionally gifted singer/songwriter daughter of late great Snowbird composer Gene MacLellan presents her latest tunes, written after recording the recently re-released Church Bell Blues (True North) album, with Royal Wood at the Music Gallery (197 John), tonight (Thursday, November 29). $15. 416-204-1080.
You usually play tiny club dates. Does this Music Gallery show signal a change in performing priorities?
Up until now, I never thought I was much of a draw in Toronto, but that seems to be changing. I guess the goal is to do larger venues, but I really do love playing small bars. Whenever I go back to P.E.I., I always play Baba’s Lounge in Charlottetown because it just feels like home to me.
Apart from Melissa Maclean’s fabulous new artwork, were there any other changes to the Church Bell Blues reissue?
Having listened to Bruce Cockburn records all my life, I’m honoured to be part of True North’s plans for the future. They were happy with what I was doing and thought my album was good enough to release it pretty much as is without remixing or remastering.
How has the move to Nova Scotia been?
It’s kind of funny. Since I moved to Halifax, I rarely ever play around town. Maybe I’m being lazy, but it just seems easier for me to plan a big trip out to Toronto and schedule shows along the way than to get a gig in my hometown.
So what stage are you at with the next album?
I’ve got tons of songs written and ready to record, but that won’t happen until maybe March. Over the last two years, I’ve gotten happy, so there’ll be some upbeat songs involved. I’ve got lots of ideas about how I want it to sound, but I’m not sure which way it might go until we get into the studio. Just the other day we were listening to a Ry Cooder album on the way home from a gig, and I said, “Ry Cooder would be the perfect producer to record my next album.” Hopefully he’ll read this article and give me a call tomorrow. If not him, maybe M Ward.
Anne Murray just recorded an album of duets with some of her favourite women singers. It seems like it would’ve been a brilliant idea for her to record a new version of Snowbird with you, don’t you think?
Someone else asked me about that last week, like “How come you aren’t on that Anne Murray album?” Umm, maybe because she doesn’t know me. I just met her once when I was a kid. I actually like singing Snowbird but rarely ever do it live because I slow it down to bring out the darker aspects of the song, so it winds up being over 10 minutes long — and that’s without the verse that my dad sings in French. It’s always fun to hear my dad singing in French, because he couldn’t speak a word of it, he just did it for the song. I never did find out why. I’ll have to ask my mom about that.