VIDEO & PROSE....
Below you'll find live performance footage, as well as a few short companion pieces written for selected clips. Enjoy, and check back here for future additions.
"PHOENIX", performed at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 09/28/2017
Way back in 2002, I left my hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario--young woman, going west. When I'd made the decision to transplant myself into unfamiliar soil, my grandparents (then in their mid-70s) proposed a road trip. We'd drive across the country, we three, and land me at my destination. For them it was both an opportunity for adventure, and a way to ferry me safely to the other side.
When the day came, we backed out of the driveway in my grandfather's car, and as we drove toward the end of our street, around the corner and onto a bigger street, then onward to a main road, which led onward still to the highway, my grandfather popped a tape into the car stereo--a tape which he'd carefully cued to begin playing Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again". A priceless moment I'll carry in my heart forever. The love I've known cannot easily be described.
As it turns out, that song selection proved relevant not only to the immediate moment of embarking, but also a beautiful foreshadow of chapters to come--the sort of foreshadow you look back on as a subtle magic, mysterious and meaningful. Yes, as it turns out.
On the road again,
I just can't wait to get on the road again,
The life I love is making music with my friends
and I can't wait to get on the road again
For those who aren't familiar, this is Willie's chorus.
...I came to Vancouver to go to school. Outside of my schooling, I landed in the midst of a vibrant, inspiring music and arts scene. I stayed. I got a day job, and I made music. I love art, and that part of my being has brought me into orbit with so many beautiful souls. Making music with my friends is one of the gifts life's given me, and I'm grateful for these connections, for these moments.
These thoughts come to mind, re-watching this performance. It took place at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, BC. The show was curated by my dear friend and musical accomplice, Beth Southwell. The idea was to have a band of songwriters, each one bringing a few of their songs to the list, then rotating between stepping out as front-person and stepping back to accompany the others. Some of these people I had known for years, others were new introductions who became future friends and musical pals. An all-around beautiful night with music in the air, friendship its driving force. So, there you have it, as Willie Nelson sings...
P.S. Lest you be guided astray by the "On the Road Again" reference in this entry, toward thinking of Phoenix, the place, somewhere out there "on the road", I must clarify: The title of the song I'm performing here actually refers to that mythical creature which, upon dying, spontaneously combusts, subsequently rising again from its own ashes. "They'll love the phoenix with its wings spread like an immaculate flame..."
Christie Rose w/ Miss Quincy & the Showdown, Live at the Media Club, Vancouver, 2014
Bob Dylan. How can so many exceptional lyrics come out of one person? Is it a formula? Is it the Muse? Is it the fascinating ability of some people to perform alchemy, absorbing all they encounter, churning it up within themselves, melding the elements to produce an output that's striking, magnetic and new? If you're a lyrics-lover, Dylan's catalogue is undeniable, even if his genres aren't your style.
...I start with that because, of course, this is a Dylan song.
One night, while out a show and mingling, a passing comment prompted a memory of Grammy Awards past. I made a mental note-to-self to consult the internet later on, at home. Thus, I found myself in the wee hours searching for Soy Bomb...
Perhaps you'll recall: In 1998, Dylan's Grammy performance included a large group of people standing behind the band, dressed in black, swaying in appreciation to the music. Seemingly from nowhere (but actually from this group) emerged, mid-song, a guerilla performance artist. He stepped right up next to the singer and began dancing wildly, head jerking, torso and arms flailing. On his bare chest, applied in thick black paint, were the inexplicable words "SOY BOMB". A bold move? I should say so. But what really got me was how absolutely unphased Dylan was. Like: "Okay, wise guy, you're having your fifteen minutes. I've seen it all, and I've played through it all. Now excuse me while I carry on with this song as though nothing's happened." The only shred of a hint at acknowledging the intrusion: a very brief and subtle side-eye given to the wings, making sure the wranglers had noticed and were maneuvering swiftly to deal with it. Indeed, Soy Bomb was immediately escorted off stage, the camera person doing a tasteful job of positioning him out of the frame. A truly bizarre moment in Grammy history.
...Anyway, I'd made that mental note-to-self because I couldn't recall what song Dylan was singing during that incident. I intended to google it, and google I did. The song was "Love Sick", from the album Time Out of Mind (1997). A moody, brooding, atmospheric number so different from my own material. It spoke to me then, and I wanted to sing it... with a badass band.
Fast forward to 2014. I had the good fortune to be invited on tour with Miss Quincy & the Showdown, an all-girl rock n' roll band. I was hired as the back-up singer and keyboardist. Miss Quincy (also known as Jody Peck) had heard me cover this song and asked if I'd like to include it in her set. This allowed a moment during each show to spotlight my vocals, a testament to her generosity and the nature of her heart. I loved singing with Jody, and I loved performing this song with that band.
This footage is from the final performance of a three-week tour across Canada. I've not performed this song in many years, but I'm grateful it was captured then, back in our home town, in its particular moment in time.
@ the Rio Theatre (Vancouver)
"Kiss Me" (Tom Waits)
June 6, 2013
video courtesy of Daniel Robbins (DR Media)
"Blind to the Aim"
video courtesy of Daniel Robbins (DR Media)