Thursday, March 12, 2015

teenagers, right?

UPDATE FROM OZ:
still beautiful.  still hot.

I didn't start in the professional world of music early in life.  Though I had plenty of music training, I generally worked on the fringes of the arts industries.  Aside from waitressing, which fits squarely in the realm of the entertainment industry as I see it, I've been employed by a children's theatre, a recording studio, and as a lighting technician.  It was that last one (which kept me in a tiny, windowless, black room for six nights a week), combined with my father's death that made me realize you have to chase down what you want in this world.  So I saved up as much money as I could and dove into the deep end to tread water full-time.

I have a couple of musician friends who are teenagers.  I'm in awe of them.  They're such great writers.  They inspire me to be fearless.  Since I've been in Australia they've both released music into the world.

Take a minute to check these young'ins out: Colter Wall and Kacy Anderson.

And yeah, that's yours truly singing on Colter's "Caroline".  Ya got me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

nina

 

She's been popping up a lot lately.  Maybe it has something to do with Australia.  At any rate, I've been meaning to share more of my favourite videos in this little thread, so why not start with Ms. Simone.  

Someone once told me that they saw her perform.  According to him, when she entered she walked straight to the edge of the stage, and stared into the crowd daring them into action.  Any action.  No one moved.  

I wasn't there, but just watching a few videos gave me a sense of why the audience was paralyzed.  If you're interested, watch a couple songs from her performance at Montreax Jazz Festival in 1976.  It'll give you a solid understanding of how Nina didn't take shit from no one.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

hello from below

Hello from Australia!

Having arrived in Oz straight from a prairie winter, I'm quite certain that I'm literally the fairest in the land.  I've found a new look, and it's defined by a massive sunhat, sunglasses and copious amounts of 60 SPF.  I may actually shoot light back at the sun.

After flight delays, lost baggage, and a box of electrolyte sachets, I'm finding my groove on the other side of the world.  I've managed to squeeze a lot of critical activities into my first five days here including:
    - the smelling of the frangipanis
    - multiple ocean swims
    - a schooner of VB
    - crushing and smelling eucalyptus leaves
    - a meal of kangaroo, cooked on the barbie
    - group crosswords (possibly an activity specific to my friend group)
    - vegemite and toast
    - supping, aka stand-up paddle boarding (I couldn't figure out why my friends kept asking if I was going to sup with them.  Why would I eat alone?)
    - consumption of mangos and passionfruit.  What we get in Canada does not hold a candle.
    - enjoying a Golden Gaytime.  Aside from the frangipanis, this may be the thing I looked forward to most.

Despite the fact that I lived here, and was fluent in the fantastic local slang, I'm back to my old ways of asking the meanings of words, for people to keep repeating what they've said, and still being lost even after an explanation.  So it goes.

And as it turns out, I really do like long walks on the beach.

xo

The first of many Australian Gaytimes.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

testy little beauties

Dropping a needle on a record warms me right up.  Vinyl and magnetic tape are like living things.  Affected by nature.  Destroyed by the elements.

I took great delight in teaching my niece how to fire up the turntable when she was barely three.  We played Paul Simon's Graceland.  Now she's a leading expert at four years old in the art of vinyl care.

A few days ago I got a package delivered to my door that brought a small dream of mine into fruition.  After breaking through a few layers of protective cardboard, I found four 45s containing the tracks that Blake and recorded with Jason Plumb this past summer.  Blake and I convened for a first listen and got to hear our voices replicated through the magic of vinyl grooves, stylus and speakers.  I've never experienced the like.  It's so exhilarating to hear your music surrounded by the warmth of analog.

The test presses that I was sent passed the test.  Somewhere in America, an order has been placed for 300 little beauties to be manufactured.  I can't wait to share them with you.  You'll have to be patient though.  Vinyl will not be hurried.

I should also mention that I'm writing you this little post from the comfort of an airport bar.  In 23 hours (metal creatures of the sky willing) I will touch down in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and resume my activities, with a healthy dose of daily vitamin D.

xo and g'day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

tour update

thanks to Jay Kimball for this snap of Mervin's show.
Hello friends,

It's been going really well out here on the Saskatchewan tour trail.  The weather has been unseasonably warm and although it's undermined our angle of being resolute winter warriors, I don't really miss packing the van in -40°C weather.  I can live with Mother Nature getting the best of me on that one.

We've had the privilege of connecting with our arts community in the province and have unveiled some brand new songs (that made us a little nervous at first).  We're midway through a great run.

In Swift Current we were greeted with many friendly faces, the friendliest of which being our host, aka the bass player from the Midnight Roses.  We were royalty in Kindersley on account of my familial connections.  North Battleford brought an incredible spread of food, thanks to the hard work of our concert host/chef and we had a third of the population of Mervin come out to our show – as Jeremy put it, that would be 60,000 people in Regina... making us the Rolling Stones of Mervin.

On the road, Willie's Roadhouse has been serenading us in the tour van, teaching us more and more about classic country and the hitherto unknown gems therein.  Elizabeth has been on top of all the meal planning, keeping us far from the fare sold in gas stations and fast food joints.  We've had comfy homes to stay in, and plenty to be grateful for.

We're back singing in Christopher Lake today, then to the amazing Keyhole Castle in Prince Albert, and onwards to Wynyard from there.  Huge thank you to all the hosts, presenters, and audience members who have shown us such huge support, as well as Creative Saskatchewan for providing assistance to us artists through their tour funding.

lots of love from the road,
bp

Monday, January 5, 2015

five years running

Somehow I've created an annual tradition of touring Saskatchewan in the coldest of months.  I'm not sure how it happened, exactly.  The first tour was a lark... I'd never booked a tour before and just kind of put one snowshoe in front of the other until I found myself in a 1985 Corolla with Farideh and Jeans Boots.

The following year I was promoting the release of Notes from a Waitress, and then it just seemed the thing to do.

And so, I announce to you, my Fifth Annual Prairie Winter Tour!!!  Ta da!

This year, Jeremy, Beth and I are hitting venues from January 22nd to February 7th.  We've got a nice mix of shows in art galleries, town halls, caf├ęs and our old favourite, house concerts.  You can see all the newly added dates on the Shows page (with a few updates coming soon), and if you're super keen, you could have a look-see at the press release.  Especially if you wanted to release some press about it.

So, zip up your parka and warm your little heart with one of these shows we're putting on.  And drop me a line!  I'm always there: belleplaine@belleplainemusic.com

And it's only -35°C in Regina with the windchill. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

a show of diversity

photo thanks to @ReginaFoodBank for this beaut.

Hello friends,

It's been a busy Christmas season thus far, and I've been playing an array of shows.  Everything from immaculately planned holiday parties with topless male models(!), to CBC Saskatchewan's Christmas Party, to Johnny Cash Tribute nights, to owning the role of a sultry lounge singer.  

It's rare that I play such a variety of shows and I've been eating it up.  

Tonight, I have the pleasure of performing my last trio show of 2014 at Slate Gallery here in Regina.  It'll be a mash-up of the new songs we're crafting, the Christmas songs we've mastered (and still enjoy!) and some old standard BP fare that we have a soft spot for.  We're all looking forward to it very much.

And tomorrow!  My goodness.  Tomorrow night Elizabeth and I are playing for an audience of yogis...  who will be yoga-ing while we play!  My beat-the-lack-of-heat winter activity is a new found yoga practice, and I am deeply grateful to Emma Korkola of Yoga Mala for inviting us into her community by asking us to perform.  It's entirely new territory, and I'm so thankful to be padding around a warm studio developing my practice.

By Saturday I'll be rushing around the city trying to jam in all my last minute Christmas To Dos with the rest of you.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

the leading role

Angels,

A long-time reader of this blog would know that my childhood portraits may have displayed a streak of... independence.

Behold.  Another photo displaying my childhood insolence.

But dear reader, this is where it all began.  In Kindergarten I was cast as The Virgin Mary, and made my stage debut singing "Little Donkey".  This was a big deal in a five year old's life.  A leading role, setting the path for a lifetime of dreams.

However, as you may glean from the photographic evidence, I was displeased with my co-star.  I thought my childhood crush Scott Wozniak was worthy of Joseph's role, but it was Anish Kanungo who won the  part. (And who Mr. Google has informed me has become a doctor.  Well done, Anish!)

So it goes in life.

Though I have no appearances as the Virgin this year, I will be singing a bucket load of Christmas songs over the next few days.  The band and I have been hard at work learning every Jingle Claus Merry Sleighbell Marshmallow Christmas tune there is going.  Though many of our performances are of the private party variety – email belleplaine@belleplainemusic.com to book yours today! – I recommend that early birds head down to CBC Regina on Friday from 6 to 9 am for The Morning Edition's open house.  You can support their Comfort and Joy campaign for the Food Bank of Saskatchewan by doing so, and that's a very good thing.  There's lots of fun reasons to attend: a CBC prize wheel, kids craft table, hot chocolate and coffee... plus it's free!

May your heart be light, friends.

xo
bp

Monday, December 1, 2014

country mouse

BB and I visit Corner Gas at TIFF 2014
Cowpokes,

My childhood years were spent on a small grain farm in Saskatchewan.  I was a border-farm kid: I went to school in Rose Valley, had a line on the Quill Lake phone exchange and our mail was delivered to Fosston.  With populations of 296, 409 and 55 respectively, you can make your own assumptions about the booming metropolis that surrounded me.

With thanks to the Regina Folk Festival and Agribition I got back to my roots on Saturday night, playing music to open up the rodeo cabaret.  The bill was shared with that guy in the photo, Blake Berglund.  My band performed a good dose of twang – with heartache, drinking and death as the central themes.  We did our best to get them dancing, but still have a thing or two to learn about it all from Berglund.

Will I continue down this path and become a country singer?  Will I find a plot of land with an old barn to house a half dozen goats and a pair of ponies?  Will I just dream longingly of my imaginary double wide trailer in Pincher Creek?  It all remains to be seen...

Monday, November 24, 2014

professional help

Applying the final coat of glaze...
hi friends,

I got started on the artwork for our live album last week.  I had a whole team of talented ladies whose primary goal was to make me look good.  Which is awesome.  Let's just admit that right off the hop.

The whole process started when I fell in love with artist & superb human, Monique Blom.  I'm often surprised by the truth she teases out of me in our easy conversation.  She's a force, and you should just get on board with her art.  Basically, I met her and then selfishly devised a reason to collaborate.

But then I wanted to work with photographer Carey Shaw too.  Her portraits make me ache with nostalgia for things I've never experienced.  As Monique said, "You take pictures of my childhood memories."

And then there's my old pal and collaborator, Avril Biggin.  We've grown up as freelance artists over the last three years, and frankly, I can't imagine working without her.  Together we created the artwork for both Hello from Belle Plaine and Notes From A Waitress.

So... I just figured I'd throw them all together and see what happened.  I have no idea what it's going to look like, but I'm sure it'll be real good.

Also, I have to say a huge thanks for the expert skills of April McDougald, and Danni Knox for applying the powders, creams, sprays and various elixirs to tranform me from Farm Girl to Super Fancy Lady.

As a group, these ladies made what is usually a sweaty, uncomfortable experience into something that was creative, collaborative and made my face hurt from laughing.

And since you've read this far, I'll reward you with a little sneak peak of what we made.  I think it's really exciting.