WENDY McNEILL at the Cameron House (408 Queen West), Saturday (June 9), 11 pm. $8, free w/ $28 NXNE wristband. 416-703-0811. Rating: NNNNN
Like every restless spirit, Wendy McNeill gets weary feet on occasion. After touring Canada enough times, relocating to Paris, then migrating to Sweden, the cabaret-folk chanteuse sounds like she might be ready to settle someplace. Problem is, she can't decide where.
"Stockholm is the most beautiful city I've ever lived in," says McNeill over a shaky Swedish phone connection. "But I don't feel settled here; I'm starting to think I won't feel settled anywhere.
"On a good day, I think we're all just citizens of the world anyway. Then, on a bad day, it's like, 'What's wrong with me? Is it because I moved so much as a child?'"
Sweden has been a pretty hot locale for successful acts. The Alberta-raised singer says Stockholm is a bit crowded with players, but that's not necessarily a negative.
"In Toronto everybody has a band," says McNeill, "but in Stockholm everybody has four. Plus a club night and they're also a DJ. But the thing is, they're also going to shows, acutely listening."
As a solo artist playing the intimate songs from her newest The Wonder Show CD, often accompanying herself on accordion, McNeill is at her best when the listener's right there with her. If not, it can be problematic.
"It can be such a positive thing, feeding off each other, tuning in with everybody," she says. "But sometimes there's the other side.
"Once in Switzerland, at a table in front of me, this guy was so unhappy. He didn't want to be there. And could I take my eyes off him? All I could fixate on was him; it's so bizarre."