This Sunday night at the Aster Cafe will be show number #55 of the year. That’s deliberately less than the almost 60 for the prior year (but not by much!). Knowing how to balance the desire to play with everything else that one juggles in life is a challenge. No-one wants to turn into a marketing machine, constantly plugging shows but it’s also SO much fun to play and each gig is chosen for a different reason.
Some highlights this year include the residency at the Amsterdam. It was challenging at times, playing on a Tuesday night, booking all the other acts, getting bumped for another band! (That’s showbiz), but all in all it was a great experience. It helped the band grow and learn so much.
That’s a big deal, as this year we added Chris on drums and Reed joined up fulltime on bass. I can’t explain, and it would sound pretentious or precious if I tried, the feeling you get playing in a band. These talented folks playing songs I wrote and actually enjoying it, and bringing their own sounds and talents to the mix is a joy I will always be grateful for. This was also the venue for probably my most fun show, in April on my birthday. A birthday Hootenanny, I still can’t believe how many people came and sang and I’ll never forget Brian Just singing ‘It’s a Jolly Holiday with Katy’! So fun. I have plans to repeat this at the Aster Cafe this coming year!!
Another huge highlight this year was the Arc Gala in February. It was such a moving experience to be in a room with hundreds of people that have a connection to the disabled community. I felt the support from the stage as I sang about Peter and singing ‘Loving You’ felt joyous and right. Not too shabby that I got to not only open for The New Standards that night but got to sing a number with them! Bucket list item for sure.
Other highlights include playing the Southern Theater (Congrats Cobey), PRIDE, the Orpheum PARKLOT, Brits Pub (Think we may have a new tradition on our hands with St. George’s Day there), Brit Hoot at Harriet Brewing, and doing a live KFAI show with Brian Just. Huge thanks to Simon Husbands for that one.
Probably my best personal on stage experience came in Northfield in October. I was lucky enough to open for Ruth Moody, who is amazing, and the sound and ambiance was as perfect as you hope for. A small, intimate theatre full of people totally immersing themselves in a musical experience. I was nervous and wished I’d had my band mates with me, but it was amazing. Similar to the Southern Theater show and the type of gig that you just have to let sink in and be grateful for.
I cannot end the year without reflecting on Uke Fest! This has become a huge part of my life. It’s become bigger and better ever year and I love what it’s become. Each year I hope to add more players and variety and the fact that it’s now sold out two years in a row is so encouraging. Thanks to everyone that has been a part of this.
So that’s where I’m at. Trying to enjoy every moment that I get to be on stage. I spent so much time and energy in the past worrying about things but I feel so free now, even to look vulnerable or dumb on stage. It’s not an audition, I got the gig!
Hugely exciting plans are in the works for next year. New songs, a single, a full length, creatively exciting shows and hopefully lots of great shared experiences with my band and all of you.