Dearestly

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This day has been a long time coming. Many songs written over many miles travelled, stories of love and loss, joy and sorrow. Days where I wanted to give up and quit, but kept finding the resolve to keep on keeping on, making so many beautiful moments and memories along the way. And here we are, July 8, 2016, the day I get to share my new album, Dearestly, with the world.

There’s much that I could say about all that this album holds, but I’ll let the songs speak for themselves. It’s been a labour of love and I am so proud of how it all came together. Howard and Josh who co-produced the album were so instrumental in shaping the songs and the sound, and it really wouldn’t be the same without them. It was such a fun and collaborative process to write and record these songs, and it helped me rediscover my passion for creating and performing music. Not that I had lost that passion, but I was certainly very burnt out from a few years of constant touring and some intense personal struggles. But they say that beauty is born from pain, and this album is a testament to that.

Dearestly is available for a pay-what-you-feel digital download today, and physical copies (CD & vinyl) will be released August 19. We decided to do a pay-what-you-feel model for the digital download to get the album into as many ears as possible. Since we don’t have a lot of industry support, our fans and friends are who will help us get the word out. We also announced a big cross-Canada tour happening this fall, so check out the dates and see if we’ll be playing near you!

I hope you will check out Dearestly, download it, maybe pre-order a physical copy, and perhaps even share it with your friends. And if you enjoy the album, I’d love to hear how it makes you feel, what songs are your favourite, and which ones really speak to you. I’ve kept these songs very close to me for so long, and I’m excited to give them to the world and see what happens with them.

Much love,
Lauren.

In the Blink of an Eye

When you’re used to tours that last two to four months, spending ten days on the road goes by in the blink of an eye. But it was a ridiculously fun ten days with lots of adventures, van jams, good chats and many a long drive.

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I had an all star team of musicians playing with me on this tour including my old piano teacher, Adam Gill, our good friend Darryl Swart, and Mathew Des Roches, who opened for all the shows with his wife Sherry with their musical project WhiteBird. Their two year old son Phoenix was also on tour with us, and he did extraordinarily well on the road! It definitely helped that we were driving through rural Alberta and he has a fascination with “diggers,” dump trucks, trains and other large vehicles. Every day he’d get my attention from the back seat and point out a tractor or big truck.

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It was a little strange not having Zoltan on stage this time around. He switched roles to doing sound, and he did an amazing job of it. He’s quite a master with those faders, and even though we missed having him dancing around with his tambourine, he played such an important part in the sound of the show.

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It’s so neat to see how people come together and work alongside each other. We had lots of good times in the van working on harmonies or jamming songs, chatting about the future of music or just reading and listening to music. It’s awesome to find a group of people that you really jive with, and I hope that you’ll be seeing more of these odd folk in the future.

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Now that we’re home, it’s back into regular routines and planning ahead for some big tours later this year. Thanks for following the adventure!

Cheers,
Lauren.

Mid-Tour Reflection

We’ve been on the road six days, and I have to say that this has been one of the funnest tours I’ve ever done. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s been a year and a half since I last was on the road and it feels new again, or the fact that we have a two-and-a-half year old on the road with us, but either way, it’s been a slice. We’re halfway through, enjoying a day off in Edmonton, AB today before continuing to the northern region of the province and finishing things off in Calgary.     

  
  
The shows themselves haven’t been hugely attended, but we’ve been having so much fun playing together, and every day there’s something meaningful that happens. We’ve made awesome connections with so many people, many times over delicious food, and as always, we’ve been experiencing some of the greatest hospitality ever. That’s what tour has always been about for me, and it’s those connections that have kept me going over the years. 

  

For me personally, this tour has been a launch into a new season, and stepping into some new boldness and creativity. It’s been so great being on stage again and exploring the performance side of the music after spending the greater part of last year in the studio, which is also completely fulfilling but in a very different way. 

  
  
Everyone who’s on tour with us, Zoltan, Adam, Darryl, Mat and Sherry (and of course Phoenix) has brought such a unique energy to the group, and it’s really neat to see how everyone interacts and relates to each other. I feel like I’ve grown so much even just in these past five days, especially with regards to my confidence and boldness on stage, and I’m excited to continue being challenged and grow musically. 
  
I have a feeling that we’re going to get to our final show in Calgary and have a hard time parting ways, but who knows what the future holds. These musical bonds that we have forged run deep. 

  
Thanks for following our journey. 

Until next time,

Lauren. 

From Up Above

 

Last week I had the opportunity to see something I’m so familiar with from a completely different perspective, and it amazed me how almost unfamiliar it seemed.

My dad took me on a morning flight in an American Champion Citabria from the Springbank Airport out to Canmore and back. It was a beautiful cloudless day with a bit of a chill and no wind, the perfect day to head out to the mountains. Apparently lots of people had the same idea because there were about seven planes in front of us waiting to take off at the same time. As each pilot communicated with the control tower about their route, we realized that we were not the only ones headed out to Canmore!

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“Springbank tower India Bravo Bravo is on Charlie ready for departure 26.”

We started accelerating down the runway and I noticed a big ol’ coyote running beside us, out for a morning stroll. We lifted off the ground, climbed to 4500 ft and followed the Trans-Canada highway, a road I’ve driven too many times to count and know all the turns and mountain views. From the air, however, it all seemed brand new. I saw the gradual shift from the sparse prairies to the forested foothills to the rocky outcroppings of the mountains, their faces covered in a dusting of fresh snow. I saw estate homes nestled in the trees, hidden from the view of the highway. Herds of cows grazing on exposed grassy hills, and the Bow River making its way through the untouched land of the Stoney Nakoda Reserve.

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We climbed up to 7500 ft as we entered the mountains, flying right next to the bold face of Mount Yamnuska and hugging the north side of the valley. It almost felt like I could reach out and touch the sides of the mountains. At this point, the motion of the small aircraft was having quite the profound effect on me and my stomach, so we decided not to go all the way to Lake Minnewanka, but loop to the south side of the valley and head back. The Three Sisters stood like Queens, the morning sun illuminating their rocky faces. We flew next to Ha-Ling Peak, which Zoltan and I climbed back in 2010, and over Heart Mountain, which I climbed on a youth group trip when I was 14. We saw a cabin and heli pad on the top of another smaller peak and many lakes and rivers and hidden valleys tucked away in crevices in the mountains.

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High above the ground, looking at life below with bird’s eye view, I felt so small in comparison with the grandeur of the land and the mountains that surrounded us. Just a speck in the passage of time, a humble being among so much beauty. It was a moment of peace, and enlightenment, broken only momentarily when I threw up my breakfast from motion sickness.

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Coming out of the mountains, the flatlands spread out before us with Calgary in the distance. We flew to the junction of hwy 22 and hwy 8 and then headed northeast up to YBW (Springbank Airport). We landed, back on solid ground, but with an entirely new perspective on my surroundings. It’s amazing how one perspective change can make something come alive again, perhaps a practice that can be applied to other areas of our life.

Have you had any experiences lately that have changed your perspective on something? Comment below with a story!

Until next time,
Lauren.

Ancia

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I watch an otter
Poke his head out of the water
And look at me for a moment
Before he disappears again.
As I wait for him to reappear
I notice other sights and sounds
On the water and in the air.
I’m captivated by this place;
Is it okay if I just be still
And not move or think or speak?
I wait for nothing
I’m fully present
Nature is honest with me
And shows me true beauty.
Every piece of this moment
Is a timeless gift.