DAMHNAIT DOYLE performing as part of the White Ribbon Concert to end men's violence against women, with JEFF MARTIN and members of the Tea Party, Bruce Cockburn, Snow, Ian Thornley, JIm Cuddy, Gordie Johnson and Steven Page at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Tuesday (June 4), 8 pm. $25/$30 at the door, free to first 200 NXNE wristband holders. 416-870-8000.
Being the first female to play a show raising awareness about the issue of male violence against women is a bit of a bittersweet feminist triumph. But Newfoundland-bred Torontonian Damhnait Doyle isn't asking any questions about her appearance at Tuesday's (June 4) White Ribbon Concert. "I didn't realize I was the first female participant until someone told me," Doyle proudly proclaims, "but I'm looking forward to packing a hit of estrogen into the night. I feel like I've been asked to join the old boys' hunting and fishing society or something!"
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the White Ribbon benefit show, and once again the Tea Party's Jeff Martin has devoted himself to pulling together an impressive roster of mostly male performers.
Doyle says she doesn't know why he picked her to be the token girl -- "I think it was more about having a female presence than having me specifically" -- but has been a fan of the concert for years.
"There are so many things you can put your time and energy into, and I've always admired these men for choosing this cause."
Doyle's appearance on the all-boy bill comes at the perfect moment. Since following up a Juno nomination for best new solo artist in 1997 with her sophomore effort, Hyperdramatic, in 2000, she's all but disappeared from the music scene.
Now she's putting the finishing touches on her next album, which will drop in the fall. Hopefully, guest gigs like the White Ribbon show will ensure that audiences remember her as more than the Wenches and Rogues poster girl.
"I know," she groans. "I've been out of the loop for so long, I can't think about exposure or else I'd self-destruct."
Doyle says she's getting back to her roots -- "not Newfoundland Celtic-style music, but more organic" -- on the upcoming disc. Where Hyperdramatic was heavy on loops, samples and repetitive beats, this record leans toward trendy alt-country.
These days, Doyle's also hooked up with Maritimes soul sisters Kim Stockwood and Tara MacLean to form an East Coast girlie supergroup.
She says they're hoping to finish their trio record in the next little while and plan to blow minds with an all-girl mega-tour.
In the meantime, she's stoked about bringing some grrrl power to the White Ribbon bill, since it's a cause she keeps close to her heart.
"Being a woman, violence is never something you can ignore. I think everyone knows someone who's been touched by it, survivors of abusive relationships or even one-time occurrences.
"On my new record, I have a song about a woman in a violent relationship, but she kills the guy in the end, so I don't think I'll be playing that song at the show."email@example.com