Wednesday, July 29, 2015

don't let summer pass you by


Hi friends,

I'm doing a favourite thing tomorrow: playing a free show outdoors, with fantastic musician friends.

At 6:30 pm in the Regina city plaza, I'll be singing with a five piece band that includes Jeremy Sauer and Elizabeth Curry, who you know and love. Joining them are Bryce Lewis (Telecaster) and Steve Leidal (drums).  I stole them from Blake Berglund's band. And Blake himself will make an appearance, since you're already probably wondering about that. 

It all happens during the evening farmer's market.  It's a magical and fleeting moment in Regina's summer season when it's warm enough to be outside, there are few bugs and you can buy your supper from a man in a hot dog truck if you so desire.  There are lots of things to be thankful for in life, aren't there?

So don't miss it.  Summer will be gone before you know it. 

BB and I will certainly be singing the song below, which was just released to the world through CBC Saskatchewan on Monday.  Have a listen now, marvel at Bryce's skills on the Telecaster, and then come down to see the whole band knock it out of the park tomorrow.  

xo
bp

Thursday, July 23, 2015

catch up

The Ironwood Stage, Calgary; John Duff, Qmax Photography
Hello dear ones,

It's amazing how fast a month flies by.  I've been keeping very busy since the end of the East Coast tour with various adventures.

Five days after I got home from the east, I was tucked into Blake Berglund's tour van on the road to the Calgary Stampede.  As always, the Stampede delivered.  I was surprised, delighted and disgusted... in equal parts.  It's quite the experience.  And I got much better at singing harmonies.  It was a guerrilla-style, crash course approach to finding the third or fifth or whatever damned note sounded decent, but by the end I was nearly Emmylou Harris.  Sonny Rollins once said that one hour on stage is worth 1000 of practice, and I'd say the man was right.

After a rather rigorous schedule of back-up singing, I returned home to prepare with my band for the Festival of Words in Moose Jaw, SK on July 18th.  I shared the stage at the exquisite Mae Wilson Theatre with Miss Megan Nash.  It was a very special night.  Long to be remembered, and a definite highlight of my career.

The Mae Wilson Theatre; via @BlairWoynarski
As always, there's still lots on the go.  Tomorrow I'm headed up to Saskatoon with Elizabeth to play at a fundraiser for The Neural Health Project.  Saturday will see me at The Gateway Festival singing those harmonies alongside Blake Berglund again.

There's so much to come.  Too much to tell you all at once.  So keep in touch, friends.  I love hearing from you.

xo
bp

Monday, June 22, 2015

farewell, sweet isle.

Hello friends,

I've overridden my desire, and departed beautiful Prince Edward Island. Although a soft landing awaited in Pictou County NS, I was reluctant to say goodbye to the new friends I made at the Festival of Small Halls.

The festival is after my heart.  The venues are in rural locations, and allow for a comfortable environment to meet the people who attend. Many venues are churches with extraordinary architecture and acoustics.  Every one of our shows sold out, which is evidence that there is faith in the programming and their audience is willing to take a chance on acts they're unfamiliar with.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity and will sing praises for Small Halls until I'm invited to return.

Being on the island also allowed me to reconnect with friends from Canoe Cove, PE who I met last summer when I was on tour.  I've been adopted by families across Canada, and it has made for a better tour life.  My Canoe Cove kin, JoDee and Mari, have the rare ability to recharge my introvert batteries and give me a taste of home – a flavour which resembles rhubarb pie.

I have one more week on the East Coast until I return to Saskatchewan.  There's still a few new spots to see, including Cape Breton.  We've all grown fond of Maritimes, and are already planning our return.  Looking forward to New Glasgow, Antigonish, Inverness, Guysborough and Halifax!  I'm anxious to sing for you.

Thanks again to the Saskatchewan Arts Board for their funding of the tour.  I'm so proud to be supported by this historic organization.  It's an honour.

xo
bp

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

tour tunes


Hello friends,

All is well in the land of lupins, sea breezes and mud flats.  We're halfway through the tour, and today we'll make our way to PEI for the delightful Festival of Small Halls.  I've been keeping uncharacteristically on top of the photo evidence, which you can see hereVery thankful for all the media attention we've been getting, and the good people who have booked us, fed us, provided beds and all the kindnesses that make touring enjoyable.  It's been a fun ride.  We'll be back to see our East Coast friends next year for sure.

Before I got on the amazing aeroplane for Halifax on May 28th, I spent the afternoon with my old friend, Brent Nielson.  I met Brent at CBC Saskatchewan when I started singing around Regina.  Brent keeps himself busy with all kinds of projects: his own band Stillhouse Poets, shooting videos and doing sound at Creative City Centre.  The latter two came together recently in a video series he started called "An Empty Room".  He's been busy doing the videos with a host of wonderful artists, and I'm happy that I got to be one  Give the video a watch, and see what great work he does.

And the song is about touring! How appropriate for the times.

Lotsa love from the East Coast.
xo
bp

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

pegs



It's about time that this was shared on my webpage.

I love this video.  The way her mouth goes all sideways.  The straightforward way she sings.  The way her and Dave Barbour share glances.  His solo.  Her dress.

It's perfection, really.

enjoy.
xo
bp

Thursday, May 28, 2015

crustacean elation, commence.

The seldom seen, 5 am version of me.
The last three months has been an intense time for my team.  All of the required planning to get us out on tour has been the shared focus of our efforts and now, today(!), we're starting the work of travel and entertaining.

Thank goodness.

This is a big one.  22 dates across the Maritimes.  We'll be meeting the locals in three provinces and developing an audience the same way that we've done in Western Canada over the past five years.  It's exciting.

I've put a special emphasis on connecting with groups that have cultivated arts scenes in their community, acting as a hub for artists of various disciplines.  I intend to share as much of their successes as I can here.  Our dates in Parrsboro, Fredericton, New Glasgow, St Andrews and Inverness are exceptional examples of people enthusiastically bringing culture to their community.

But before we get knee deep in tour news over the next few weeks, please check out this little interview that I did with the extremely charming Paul Dechene at prairie dog.  If you've never heard the way I flit through partial sentences and half thoughts... this podcast will give you all you need and then some.

xo
bp





Friday, May 22, 2015

countdown to crustacean elation

Hi there,

After a wee (unintentional) break from the blog, I'd like to tell you a bit of news.  I've been busy here at Belle Plaine Corp.  I'm putting days in at the computer.  Dialing phone numbers.  Making it happen.

"Making what happen?" you ask.

Well friends, my trustworthy bandmates and I are hitting the East Coast in a week.  I'm thrilled about it.  We've put a lot of time into planning this baby, and in the end, we've come up with 20+ dates that have us singing songs all over Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.  You can see the tour dates here.  We're playing everything from halls to art galleries to soft-seat theatres to B & Bs.  You got an audience?  We got a concert.  We're set on getting the word out.  Speaking of which, would you do me a favour?  Tell your friends, aunts, East Coast pen-pals... anyone.  I want to meet them all.

Another massive thank you to the Saskatchewan Arts Board for their support of this tour.  We certainly would not be able to take on such an ambitious project without them.  I. am. grateful.  Without the Arts Board, I just don't know what I'd do. 

Hey, on that note, here's something I really want you to know.  My community lost a wonderful woman in February: the unequivocal Michele Sereda.  The last time I saw her was a warm and vibrant exchange, as they always were.  That day, Elizabeth and I were puzzling over how we could connect with an audience on the East Coast, and Michele encouraged us to take our project to the Arts Board.  Without her guidance, we would have never done so.  This tour is in thanks, remembrance and celebration of her.

And I want you to know about the delightful poster that I built.  It was reliant on the contributions of three talented artists.  Carey Shaw on photography, Terri Fidelak on illustrations and Brianna Coffin on graphic design.  This is a favourite of mine.  Praise be to visual artists!!!  You can see the full version here.  Even download it, if you like.

Please send well wishes, must-see eastern sights and musings to belleplaine@belleplainemusic.com.

xoxo
bp

p.s. if you're thinking, "Why didn't she tell me about this sooner?" I highly recommend signing up for the newsletter.  On the first of the month, you'll get all the straight dope about what I have planned.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

bootcamped

I went to my first ever bootcamp this weekend. Two great humans, Vel and Liam, from Coalition Music came out from Toronto and did their 10 week Artist Entrepreneur course in two days. It was intense, and fantastic. I'm honored to have been among the artists that were selected.

I'm so grateful to SaskMusic and Creative Saskatchewan for bringing the program out, and making it possible for me to attend. After the two days, I feel better informed, better supported in my career and even more connected to my community of musicians in the province.

And honestly, running a business based on creativity can be a hard slog. A weekend like this allowed me to see the good work of my peers, and that goes a long way.

As for the picture above, I didn't meet an artist manager, but after Blake drew this face on my snack, I began privately referring to it as my bananager. Not sure how my personal assistant, Siri, will react to this new team member, but we'll all just endeavor to get along.

Take some time to check out the other artists that I spent the weekend with:
Amy Nelson
Blake Berglund
Cquel
Del Suelo
DGS
Eric Taylor
Smokekiller
Judith Morrissey
Keiffer Mclean & The Curiousity Club
Mabaleka
Nick Faye & The Deputies
The Pistolwhips
Rebecca Lascue
We Were Lovers

Monday, April 13, 2015

what am I reading?


I've been working away at this little baby for awhile now.  Since I was in Australia.  I won't lie, it's challenging me.  But it's a good one to chew through slowly, while mulling over the finer points.


I can't yet figure out what D.H. thinks of Australians, but his characters are whole, his language is gratifying and his opinions fierce.


Anyway, I'm enjoying it.

And say, if you're looking for something to do on Saturday night, I'll be playing at the Creative City Centre with Blake Berglund and Amy Nelson in a songwriter's circle. We'll be talking a lot about the craft. (I feel like I do this at every show, but maybe I'll have some new nuggets of wisdom to share.)

till we meet again.
xo
bp

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

open sesame

I left Sydney a few days ago, not knowing when I will return next.  I'm not really a jet-setter.  Thanks to touring, I've become accustomed to long white lines, with every kilometer of progress made with the rotation of a wheel.

I can't drive to Australia. (Although, oy! What a trip that would be!) So, I fly.

Hey, here's a phenomenon that doesn't exist on the open road: the airport lounge.  I've heard of them.  I was even in one once – as the guest of a fellow traveler who knew the magical phrase that opened the mouth of the cave.

It was in the Sydney Kingsford Smith International, tucked away in a far off corner, that I found my haven.  Judging only from the entrance, this lounge was clearly more expansive than the one mentioned previously.  I noticed fellow travelers presenting their boarding passes.  I immediately felt I was playing the part of an interloper, and made the unanimous and unspoken decision with my travel companion to keep eyes forward and assume a brisk walk.

Which brings me to my #1 air travel tip: Dress well.  It just helps.

Shortly thereafter I found myself bellied up to the cold breakfast buffet with granola, yogurt, a smoothie, and a glass of juice in my hands.  I was sure we were trespassing.  With as much casualty as I could muster I surveyed what seemed to be a free-pour, fully stocked bar.  My transgression had to be obvious to all by now.

I sat down to enjoy my breakfast somewhat nervously while eyeing the bar, and was soon met by my smiling sweetie who had hit up the hot breakfast buffet.  His plate was full with eggs, bacon, potatoes, stewed tomatoes and beans. 

"I don't think we're supposed to be in here," I said.

But on second thought, why throw yourself out of paradise when you've entered undetected???  In addition to the open bar, there was a barista for goodness sakes!  When I grasped that everyone around me was drinking champagne it seemed best to do as the Romans, right?  It was halfway through my first flute that I saw we had one brief beautiful hour of bliss before a 13 hour flight to LA, then a connecting flight to Calgary for an eight hour layover and then home sweet...

"Would you get me another glass of bubbly, dear?"

We remained under the radar in the lounge until it was time to board.  By that time I was nearly convinced that we did in fact belong in the lounge.  We all do!  Equality and champagne for everyone.

Tipsy and full of smiles, we boarded alongside the tired masses who had missed the glorious secret breakfast made especially for the travel elites and the sneaky Petes.