2011 in review

In the thick of the holidays, and with the end of 2011 approaching, I’m looking back on some of my gig highlights from the past year and finding it hard to make just a few selections from the best one yet (I hope to say that every year!) Remember…
January 29, 2011: My first gig of 2011 was part of Songwriters Unite! at Graffiti’s in Toronto, snuggled between songwriters and trying out really old and really new tunes. A fine start to the year!
March 10, 2011: The New Quarterly’s Toronto issue launch at the TRANZAC. I got to play a few tunes for some of the most discerning lyric-listeners out there – the literary crowd. A sweet celebration of my favourite Canadian lit magazine.
March 25, 2011: A sold out concert at the Hobbit House in Cobourg, where I got to reconnect with old friends, meet some new ones, eat delicious treats, and learn about the amazing big-hearted community initiatives going on in this town.
April 24 – 30, 2011: The “She Came on a Whim and Couldn’t Go Home” tour, named by my best tourbud, Kev Corbett. Kev carted me all over the impossibly beautiful province of Nova Scotia, from the Lunenburg harbour, through forests and peep frogs to Tatamagouche, then as far as the south shore to Shelburne, and back to bustling Halifax for a big birthday bash. I started dreaming of east coast real estate.
June 9, 2011: A set at one of favourite Toronto stages, The Rivoli, as part of Sara Kamin Presents. I broke a guitar string on stage for the first time. Ever. It felt like the longest string change of my life.
June 16, 2011: Another late-night NXNE set. This year’s stage was expertly managed and the crowd was kind, right into the wee hours.
July 17, 2011: A short train ride took me to Brantford for an outdoor set at the Station Coffeehouse in 40+ degree weather. The train dropped me off right at the venue’s door!
September 10 – 17, 2011: A whirlwind tour from Ontario to Nova Scotia and back, sharing gigs with some of the Maritimes’ best men: Ian Foster, Kev Corbett, Andrew James O’Brien, and Steve Haley. My train ticket was courtesy of VIA Rail’s On Board Entertainment Program, where I performed a couple of sets a day on the long haul between Montreal and Halifax, met some very interesting characters, and watched the landscape fly by from my sleeper cabin. I came home to a sunny show at the Queen West Art Crawl featuring a cameo by mando maven Joel Schwartz.
October 1, 2011: My Ottawa gals, Andrea Simms-Karp and Jill Zmud, made the trip to Toronto to play a beautiful house concert at Joanna and Allan Mills’ place. O’Hara House Concerts is fast becoming the hottest folk destination in the city. Surprise gospel harmonies, French folk tunes, and sneaky pre-release CD sales!
November 18, 2011: Andrea Simms-Karp brought me to Ottawa to open for her at her official CD release. Stunning venue and a spine-tingling new album for Andrea called Hibernation Nation. Sold out hometown shows are the best.
December 21, 2011: My final show of the year – a last minute fill-in slot at the legendary Daily Bread Food Bank fundraiser “People Still Gots Ta Eat” at the Cameron House in Toronto. A warm holiday gathering of friends, with lots of great music and real home cookin’.
…all the while recording a new CD. Skyline will be seeing the light early in 2012, so stay tuned! Happy holidays!

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