Driving in to BC I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders and my heart filled with space and light. These past few weeks I've been woodshedding, getting ready for the first string of shows I've done in quite a while. It means so much to me that my old friends Taylor James and Angela Harris are playing with me. Angela was the first artist to record one of my songs, and Taylor has just a released a record with three of them on it. These women brought me into music and now they are bringing me back.
Over the past seven years, I've been so busy going to school, becoming a nurse and starting my first "real job" of my life, that long stretches of time went by where I barely picked up a guitar and only wrote a song when it was screaming at me. I kind of felt like the artist in me was dead. But when I landed at Kicking Horse Hostel in Golden yesterday, where I was welcomed warmly by Tanya the owner, I pulled out my guitar and finished a song that's been bugging me for months. It felt like a grace.
Identity is a funny thing. For a long time, I thought of myself as an artist, first, last, and always. When I went to nursing school, though, I discovered a part of me that was hungry for knowledge, coupled with a strong desire to serve in a practical way for the first time in my life. I graduated and put my nurse hat on, but like always in this life, I feel a little like an imposter. I hope to bring my art to my patients in subtle ways, but truthfully, they've given me more than I give them. They offer me a window though which I can gauge my own strength as I watch them struggle courageously with their illnesses. Their stories and experiences prompt me to examine my own motives and behaviour. I have a feeling that all I see and do at work is going to filter into my writing, as long as I can keep that window open.
Truth to tell, I've learned some uncomfortable things about myself over the past seven years. Some flaws in my character test me again and again. When I succumb to my lower nature, it weakens my ability to serve and to create art. And my shadow is always with me. I try to see her coming.
Can I integrate these two sides of my nature and bring something beautiful into the world? Time will tell. That is certainly the object on this little "Truth to Tell" tour. Those who show up will be expecting a polished show, so I've been practicing my ass off. I have a few new songs to offer as well as some of my favourites from the past. I can't wait to hear how we all sound playing together. In all the years we've known each other, this will be the first time Taylor, Angela and myself have shared a stage. The addition of my ex John Ellis on the Vancouver and Brackendale shows adds an extra element of drama. It's been a long time, but he taught me everything I know about music and I'm determined to show him I still have my chops. Fingers crossed!
It's been seven years since I've been to the coast. During that time, my life was a country song - lost my marriage, my mother, my career, my dog, my truck and myself. And then came the flood.
But I found much more than I lost. I realize now all these experiences have given me a new perspective on the world around me and where I fit in. My goal over the next few shows is to share that experience as honestly and openly as I can. "Truth to Tell," I'm not the same person who packed up and left Ashcroft broken and bereft. All those difficult years have served to make me more aware and more determined to bring value to others. Am I still an artist? If you come to the show, Maybe you can let me know what you think. Myself, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am.
ME & MY SHADOW
I met my shadow last night she crossed across my face
The girl I thought was there before was suddenly erased
Staring back from the mirror was someone I couldn’t place
Me and my shadow
Don’t fuck with me she said her voice was soft and flat
Her gaze was dark and deadly and her countenance was black
She stared as if she knew she’s got the ruthlessness I lack
Me and my shadow
Is she going to possess me turn me into someone else
My evil twin my doppelganger my better stronger self
I met my shadow tonight in the looking glass
She’s got style and she’s got taste
And she ‘s taking out the trash
Guts and grace a poker face so you better watch your ass
For me and my shadow
Has she already possessed me is it too late to rebel
My evil twin my doppelganger is headed straight for hell because
She knows just what you’ve done
She knows just where you’ve been
She’s a warrior a savage she’s a demon and a queen
She’s got your name and number
and she’d love to make you scream
She is my shadow
I met my shadow last night
And then came the dawn
I haven’t yet decided just which side I should be on