Monday, May 2, 2016

snake break

Photo by Megan Nash.

Hi friends,

How was the weekend?  I've been trying to take a few days off here and there... like a regular person would, I think?  It means I (ahem) get out of the house on weekends.  I see friends like Megan Nash.  She and I run into people like Stephen Whitworth from the prairie dog. He provides me with an impromptu Snake Break.

That's what you guys do, right? 

And on Monday morning I wake up to the work, and the same old Slow and Steady.

I've got some good things coming up that I want you to know about.  This week is all about prep, rehearsal, and pack because on Saturday I go back to my touring ways.

Saturday, May 7th
U of R Prairie Kitchen Party Dinner & Benefit


The SCES Exchange
Blake Berglund's Album Release
with The Windows Up Above


Sunday, May 8th
The Happy Nun
Forget, SK 
1:30 pm
Mother's Day Brunch Concert

and then...

Monday, May 9th
Common Café
Moose Jaw, SK


Tuesday, May 10th
House Concert
Swift Current, SK
with Colter Wall

There's more after that, but you can check the Shows page, or just check in next week. Looking forward to hitting the road, and seeing as many of you as I can.

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

in review

Hi friends,

It's been some kind of seven days. There are weeks that pass simply: work, eat, run, rest, repeat. And then there are some weeks that are a complete spectrum of emotion, full of surprises at each turn. Here are seven things of note from the past seven:

1. I was awarded $10, 000 from Ralwco's Project 10K20 on Tuesday. A M A Z I N G.  I've been conceiving my next studio album for some time, and this is another brick in that wall. I have so many emotions... suffice to say that I'm overwhelmed. New album! Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you, Rawlco.

2. My fella, Blake Berglund, gave the world another musical offering, and a sneaky peek into our private life with the artwork. (Photography credit goes to Del Barber while they were having coffee in my kitchen.)

3. I'm reading this book, and I dig it.

4. Loretta Lynn turned 84 on April 14th (or so Wikipedia tells me). She also just released a new record this year, which is the coolest thing ever, and an example I plan to follow when I'm 84.  I read this article about her recently. If you've ever wanted more details about her song "Fist City," look no further.

5. As a participant in "commercial activity" in our nation, I'm required to file two kinds of tax returns: income tax and GST. (Being an artist is lookin' pretty sweet right about now, I'll bet. "Two tax returns per year?" you think. "Sign me up!!!") My GST return has been "selected for an examination." Off to the tax doctor for me.

6. I visited the IMAX theatre twice this week.  Once with my five year old niece and a bunch of her Sparks buddies, and once to watch Star Wars — which made me feel like a five year old.

7. I wrote my 300th morning page in my Artist's Way quest.  An accomplishment that means everything to nobody.  Except me.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nicols & Haggard

It was a nice weekend of singin' solo for two nights, combined with a trip to Winnipeg with Blake and Bryce in support of our friend Quinton Blair — Three cheers for him launching the EP Cash Crop (love that name) into the world!

As many of you are aware, last week delivered a sad surprise with the death of Merle Haggard.  The drive to and from Winnipeg with Blake and Bryce was spent listening to a constant stream of Merle's songs.  There's no denial that he played a defining role in country music.  And there's no doubt he will be as celebrated as he is missed.

In that spirit, I offer you this:  Once upon a time, Merle's late guitarist of 20 years, Roy Nicols, quietly gave a guitar to a man who lives in Regina.  The guitar was thought to be lost by Nichols fans, and Fender guitar enthusiasts.  It is a piece of country history.  Last week it surfaced, and when it did, I made the trip with the boys to Sawchyn Guitars to see it.  It only seemed fitting to play something of Merle's to say thank you for all the music he gave us.

The video isn't the best quality, but you can still see the smile on Bryce's face, as he plays the instrument of one of country's greatest sidemen.


Monday, April 4, 2016

juno we were there?

Steve, Bernie, Blake, Bryce & I at JUNOfest 2016
Hi friends,

It's the day after the JUNO weekend in Calgary.  It's always a thrill to be a part of a weekend that comes with such prestige and publicity, as well as getting to rub elbows with industry folk from across the country.

The highlight of the weekend came on Saturday morning when Blake and I attended a brunch hosted by the Six Shooter Records folks.  The two of us were asked upon our arrival if we'd play a couple of tunes, and we accepted.  At the last moment we thought we'd throw in our rendition of "Summer Wages" by Ian Tyson.  Unbeknownst to us, Holgar Petersen was there – owner of Tyson's label, Stony Plain Records.  It came as a bit of a surprise, and had we been aware, we certainly wouldn't have had the stones to sing it.  As it often goes, naivety was a gift, and Holgar gave thanks and compliments for our performance.

Now it's back to work, and back to the stage.  This week has a few performances that I'm excited for.  Thursday at Casino Regina for a Brighter Futures for Children Fundraiser, Friday in Gravelbourg with my friends Megan Nash, Scott Richmond and Jobi Nichol and Saturday in Winnipeg with Blake to open for Quinton Blair.  More info on the Shows page.


Monday, February 15, 2016

the pros of collaboration

Posters are:
a) Disposable art? 
b) Temporary installations? 
c) Necessary and mundane marketing techniques done in repetition? 
d) All of the above?

Let's discuss.

I've been having fun with them lately.  I used to take the approach of just getting my face out there: a photograph with the details of Who, What, Where, When, and How Much. 

Now I'm getting bolder.  Having more fun with the images.  This past year I've started collaborating with my dear friend, Terri Fidelak.  I like to think that we're making mini dramas with our posters. 

My favourite reaction to our most recent effort is: Whoa. She smashed all his good stuff. 

I know what little story the image tells me, and I'd sure love to hear yours. 

It's a tiny risk to take.  The show may be better promoted with a photo so you know it's me: my face, my show, right?  But this is way more fun.  And as a self-employed, self-governed artist... I guess I'm drawn to having as much fun with the work as possible. 

It's my second collaboration with Terri, and we have some ideas to explore in the future. They might get a little darker, or a little more playful.  Hard to know.  But I sure hope you enjoy them.  They're meant to give you a peek into my brain.  Into what kind of artist I see myself as.  A bite-sized visual of my inner world.

speaking of which...

I got to host a Valentine's Day special on CBC Radio 1's  SK Weekend with Eric Anderson yesterday.  Eric asked me to come on the show to talk about my new album, the upcoming tour, and best of all, he had me choose all the music for the three hour show.

I had no idea how difficult this task would be.  Artists are not known to speak/sing of the glories of love.  We're prone to focus on its pitfalls, and disappointments.  And don't forget that the songs I chose had to be 80% Canadian content!  But I rose to the challenge. 

In order of appearance, here are the songs that spell L-O-V-E to me:

 1. 5 Days in May - Blue Rodeo - Blue Road
 2. Sugar Buzz - k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang - Sing It Loud
 3. Sunburnt in LA - Library Voices - Lovish
 4. Stronger Than That - Bahamas - Bahamas is Alfie
 5. Crazy Arms - Belle Plaine - The Unrequited Love
 6. Could I Have This Dance - Anne Murray - Greatest Hits
 7. Safe and Sound - Hawksley Workman - For Him and the Girls
 8. Taj Mahal - Sam Roberts - We Were Born In A Flame
 9. Legendary - Belle Plaine - Notes from a Waitress
10. Vincent Gallo - Carolyn Mark & The New Best Friends - The Pros and Cons of Collaboration
11. You Turn Me On I'm A Radio - Joni Mitchell - For the Roses
12. Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis - Belle Plaine - The Unrequited Love
13. Patience Phipps (The Best To You) - Jay Malinowski & The Deadcoast - Martel
14. Good Heart - Belle Plaine - The Unrequited Love
15. I Love - Tom T Hall - Country Songs For Children
16. Harvest Moon - Neil Young - Harvest Moon
17. If I Were A Carpenter - Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash - The Essential Johnny Cash
18. The Color of Love - Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash - Johnny Cash and His Woman
19. No One's Gonna Love You (Quite Like I Do) - Jenn Grant - Compostela
20. Old Love - Belle Plaine - Notes from a Waitress


Thursday, February 4, 2016

smash it, crash it... whatever it takes.


The first single from The Unrequited Love got released out into the world today. Thanks to for previewing it.

You can hear it HERE.

I am super stoked.  So happy.  Nervous.  I've been hatching this egg for quite some time, and it's a bigg'un.  Some new songs, some old songs, some songs I love by other people.  It's a real mixed bag, and I made it because I want people to get what I do when I'm on stage.  If you're here, reading this, you might already know what that is.  And you might also know it's weird to answer the question of what kind of music it is.

So what am I doing to celebrate?  Y'know, the usual: cultivating myopia by staring into the blue light of my MacBook Air.  I'm composing emails to people that I don't know.  Asking them to weigh in on my album so that I can get a quote or two.  My Grandma Laila told me, "Be careful about asking questions that you might not like the answers to."  I'm wading deep into those waters.  May the critics be kind.

All things aside, The Unrequited Love feels like a great step towards the artist that I want to be. And as I release this album I'm working hard at writing a new album for you.

If you haven't, go listen to "Crashing Through".  And then tell me what you think.  I'll just call my Gran and cry to her if I don't like it.


Monday, January 18, 2016

the return of unrequited love

Carey Shaw Photography
You know what's super exciting? Releasing an album. And guess what? I'm doing that this year. The Unrequited Love is coming out on March 4th. Huzzah! What's more, my sweet band of buddies (the chaps that make up The Unrequited Love) are going out on the road for a mini tour in March.

I've got lots of news to share about the making of this little baby, and I'll be doing so over the coming weeks. Old stories, artwork as it moved along, tunes(!). You'll get it all.

For now, I'm looking forward to getting in a van, and hitting the road to visit some of my favourite joints. You can read about the whole thing here, in this fancy press release.

The dates on the horizon are:

March 3
The Park Theatre
Winnipeg, MB
with Kevin Roy

March 4
The Bassment
Saskatoon, SK
with special guests

March 5
The Artesian
Regina, SK
with Megan Nash

Very happy to share this news with y'all.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

hello to 2016

Me and my pal Dale.
First things first: Happy belated 2016, friends!  It's already a good looking year.  Lots of creative work ahead.  I gots the urge to write, and I'm digging in.

Last year was a big one - for me, for my friends... I got caught up in the whirlwind of activity.  I kicked 2015's ass, and it kicked mine too.  In the end, 2015 and I have settled at being even, with a mutual respect for what we learned from each other. 

I'm getting things back into motion with my first show of the year on Friday.  Blake and I are opening up the 2016 Northern Lights Bluegrass concert series in Saskatoon.  (Check tickets out here.)  I'm so pleased I'm part of their programming, and very excited to be back on stage with my cowboy.

On a related note, here's from our last show of the fall tour that promoted our 7" vinyl.  It's a proud moment from the biggest tour BB and I have ever done – and with a smokin' live band.  I love these guys.  I hope you enjoy too.


Friday, September 4, 2015

five humans, one van.

photo courtesy of Dan Canfield

It's our vinyl release day!  Can you believe it?  My 7" with Blake Berglund is officially out in the world.  You can now hear our take on a couple Zachary Lucky songs on iTunes, and we're off and running on the big Western Canadian tour.  Pretty excited to be out promoting a new release again.  We're in good company too.  Zachary himself released a 7" today, as did my dear friend, Mr. David Newberry.  Please take the time to check out what those fine songwriters are putting out in the world.  (I should mention that I've been digging on Newberry's release for a couple of weeks now, and I can say it is fine.)

We started this run of dates off strong with a sold out show at Village Guitar & Amp Co.  And we spent the day leading up to the show visiting media outlets in Saskatoon including CTV, Global and CJWW.  If you missed those early morning performances, you can see them here and here.  (Keep in mind we had a 5:15 AM wake-up call!)  It couldn't have been a better day or a better show.  Lots of new faces, and so much support from our friends and family.  Our hearts were filled after a big night.

If you're wondering where we're at and when, you can check that out on my shows page.  Or you can follow our tracks on Facebook or Twitter.  I just posted a whack of photos to Facebook that you may enjoy.

Thanks to all of you out there who are supporting us by coming to the shows, and listening to the tunes.  Thanks also to Creative Saskatchewan for their generous support of this tour.  We're out to make you proud.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

full circle

Chris Graham Photography
I think Saskatchewan might be a little sad that the long weekend is over.  It's always bittersweet... such beautiful sunny weather, but there are those little wasps buzzing around your plate of BBQ reminding you that sweet summer is fleeting, and soon will become autumn.

Though if you're blue about that, I think I have something to lift your spirits.  Blake Berglund and I are cooking up lots of activities for the fall.  We've got an announcement of tour dates for September,  the release of our 7" vinyl on September 4th and a new video to enjoy in the meantime.

Blake is putting out our first release from the vinyl to commercial country radio, which is a crazy thing to me.  Everything has come full circle back to me singing "Islands In The Stream" to my dog when I was a toddler.  Country radio is what formed my early understanding of music, and now you can apparently call in to your local country station and say,

"I'd like to hear Blake Berglund and Belle Plaine's song 'Town to Town'."

Will you have to sit on the phone for two hours?  Will you be nervous to hear your voice on air?  Will you be waiting by the radio to record a version through your ghetto box onto a cassette tape?  That, I don't know.

But I sure hope so.

These days are full with tasks, with achievements, and with my deep gratitude for your support.