This month has been all about woodshedding. Sometimes as artists, we spend so much time performing songs that are already written, that we don’t take time to learn new covers and write new songs.
There’s a lot that can be gained by learning cover songs. It’s something that I used to shy away from… (Younger me: “I’m an original artist. I write my own music and I’m going to play MY songs!”) …but in reality, the cover songs are the ones that made us want to take up our instruments in the first place. Why not pay homage to them and give them our own little twist to personalize them? Plus, we learn by listening. We get better at our craft by studying those who inspire us.
There are SO MANY songs that mean something to me and for so many different reasons. It’s hard to single any of them out. Recently, Paul Gilmore (father of Troy Gilmore, singer of the Victoria band Chase the Bear) happened to video an open mic performance of my cover of “Not a Pretty Girl” by Ani DiFranco. This song feels like an anthem to me. It’s one I wish that I could say I had a hand in writing. As a Libra, I have always been fiercely independent – this song reflects my need to stand on my own to feet and say: “I can do it. I don’t need you to rescue me.” I have loved this song since the first time I heard it.
While I have not “shared” the open mic video publicly, it is currently up on YouTube as a private link, which you can check out here:
One of my biggest inspirations is Holly McNarland, a Canadian singer-songwriter, Juno Award winner and Lilith Fair performer. I cover a few of her songs and I was lucky enough to have opened for her in July 2014. Here is a performance of my song “Show Me Yours” from that show:
With all that being said, I did manage to get out and play an open mic at the Fernwood Inn this month. I have known the host, Paul, since the early 2000s, when I played bass in a rock band called lateforbingo. (Did you know I used to play bass in a band?… here’s a few pictures for proof…)
While writing this newsletter, I went looking for some of lateforbingo’s old music online. We recorded 2 demos in 2000-2001. Most of our online presence has long disappeared, however, I did find 2 songs from the November 2001 session still listed on the CBC Artist page.
I loved playing bass, but when the band disbanded, I found myself wanting to focus more on songwriting. So, it made sense to transition to guitar as my main instrument… and that’s kinda how I found myself here – as a solo, singer-songwriter. As much as I sometimes miss playing bass, I’m really happy with and proud of where I am now.