KATE MAKI (9:35 pm) with Nathan (7 pm), Martina Sorbara (7:30 pm), Oh Susanna (8 pm), Erin McKeown (8:30 pm), Melissa McCLelland (9 pm), Joel Kroeker (10:15 pm), Cuff The Duke (11 pm) and the Sadies (midnight), at the El Mocambo downstairs (464 Spadina), Friday (March 5). $10. 416-777-1777.
Considering the touch-and-go prospects for your average indie musician in Canada, you'd figure the loss of a regular paycheque would've been the biggest worry on Kate Maki's mind when the Sudbury native gave up a steady stint as a teacher to pursue her alt-country dreams. "Who're you trying to kid?" she laughs over the phone from BC, where she's in the midst of a cross-Canada tour leading up to this Friday's CMW gig.
"The money's not even that good, so it wasn't hard to give up. It's getting up there on a stage to sing my heart out that's psychologically terrifying. In teaching, you're already top of the heap, but in music you're not in charge and you can get shit on constantly."
The singer/songwriter studied neuroscience in university, so she's got a good handle on the basics of brain chemistry.
She examines the darker sides of the human psyche on her winsome debut disc, Confusion Unlimited. She describes the disc as "the unconscious emotions flowing out in my depression," but don't get the wrong idea. Her wit - one song gives Labatt props for making 50 - and exuberant stage presence make Maki's shows the furthest thing from a downer.
Maki claims her performance smarts have their roots in a certain Sudbury country icon with a family connection.
"My mom loves Stompin' Tom, and when she was a young 20-something girl, she used to follow him all over the place. He signed all her records, and at one show he gave her his stompin' board and signed it. It's got a big hole in the plywood. We've always had it, but I didn't know till last Christmas.
"I was looking at the Christmas tree, and she'd taken off the stupid skirt to water it, and there was this 'To Judy, with love from Stompin' Tom.' I totally freaked out, but I did use it for my CD release in Sudbury. My right foot has a mind of its own."