Our little summer tour with David Newberry is coming up fast, and we’ll be trekking up to Ymir for the Tiny Lights Festival. We’ve done a trial pack of the car with the upright bass and four folkies (verdict: impossible) and we’ll have a cosy trip with some great shows on the way up there.
We kicked off rehearsals in Victoria this week with a raid on Meg’s luscious garden. After taste-testing three varietals of arugula and wondering what to do with the artichoke that fell over, we got down to reworking some of our older material for the trio format, so we’ll be singing a couple classic tunes in with the songs from the upcoming EP on this trip.
We’re in our final day of tracking the new record, everything sounds amazing, the sun is sparkling on the bay, daffodils are waving in the breeze, life rules. I (your food-obsessed narrator) had my birthday yesterday, and O’Mally associate Dan Wise just happened to have canoed out and dived for fresh oysters. Him and another food-loving band friend created a spectacular meal with those and some lamb loins from the land we’re recording on, with caramelized roast fennel, risotto and a pile of clams from the beach. Oh and a bunch of Saltspring island ripe goat cheese on the side. Yup.
You wouldn’t know it from the updates, but we’ve been on a bit of a health kick as a band, including lots of nutritious smoothies for breakfasts. There were even some of last summer’s blackberries waiting in the freezer. Fresh nettles are growing everywhere, and even though I treat the young ones with just as much care as the older scarier versions (you should see me standing over the sink with work gloves, tongs and scissors) I love them steamed. They made a particularly fine side to some sockeye ceviche the other day, but man that dangerkale is good with everything.
We’re in the middle of working on a new record! We’ve spent the last week on Mayne Island, and we’re heading back there today for another week of tracking at Fiddlehead Studios. We’ve been loving the process of recording live, and sorting through our takes while watching the sun go down over the bay is pretty darn golden. We’ve got Peter Mynett with us on upright bass, and for his birthday last week Meg bought a chicken from the neighbouring farm. She made a fresh walnut and basil pesto, and got it under the chicken skin so that when it was roasting it was also frying in olive oil from the inside out. Then those pesto chicken drippings did a number on the baby potatoes in the roasting pan. My goodness.
We took some time off this winter for writing songs, learning to make jambalaya and getting the gardens ready for spring. Looking forward to getting back on the road with some new material! ArtsWells is already beckoning, we’ll be taking the long way there and playing some shows with Jenny Ritter on the way.
O’mally successfully grilled a tender rack of lamb (raised on Meg’s family farm) on a sailboat moored off of Pender Island! We hopped on board a leg of The Stowaway’s wind powered tour, starting out at the Campbell Bay Music Fest, where our friend Jen hooked up a propane fired deep fryer and made deep fried vegan coconut ice cream in the field. The deep fryer ended up on the three-boat sail tour, and kept us all well greased. By day three O’mally had reverted to quinoa salad, and had also spotted porpoises, been spun around in a whirlpool, and learned some new old-time tunes.
Some mushroom tarts, fiddleheads, braised lamb and fresh grilled trout later, I’d say we’re back in the game. Good work, North Ontario! We’ve been augmenting our rich dinners with endless spinach salads and spinach salad wraps in the car. We’re headed to Montreal tomorrow, for a show and a video shoot, and we’re picking up David Simard to share the Maritimes portion of the tour with us…
Well, O’mally’s culinary adventures have mellowed out considerably since hitting Manitoba, which is probably a good thing in the long run. As good as the seared scallop croquettes, caviar, bourguignon and homemade perogies were, we… actually never mind. Western Canada rocks. Eastern Canada, I have high expectations!
We ran around a ghost town in deep south Saskatchewan, accidentally got jobs on our day off, got to see a great convocation of touring friends in Saskatoon, and spent a night in our friends’ cabin half an hour hike in from Falcon Lake, MB. We’re three weeks in and a little tired, but taking our time across North Ontario with lots of shows on the way.
We are on day 4 of our 2-month, cross-Canada spring tour, and we’ve already been fed fresh goose eggs, wild mushrooms and seriously the best grilled salmon. Things are going well. We had to say goodbye to our beloved Westfalia, and are now touring in a grown-up car that eats the Rocky Mountains for breakfast. The new car has sweet modern features like heat, and the old one has a love song dedicated to it that’s been recorded for the next album…
O’mally congregated on Mayne Island in early March for a photo and video shoot with Rob Alder in Meg’s beautiful wooden shack/house building project thinger. We were over there during the recording of Dave Newberry’s new album at Fiddlehead Studios, and there may or may not have been a party. Now we’re counting down the last month before heading out on our spring coast-to-coast Canadian tour, and looking forward to seeing old friends and visiting some new places on the way! Elise recently bought a viola, and is trying to figure out how people who normally play multiple instruments make it through doorways.
Meg and Elise went on a field trip to a very pleasant oyster bar at the tail end of December, where we had teensy local bay oysters, fresh grilled trout, a saffron-laden boulliabase and brandied chestnut soup. Earlier in December we played a great show at the Biltmore in Vancouver, as a trio with Adam Iredale-Gray on guitar and upright bass. Dear Biltmore, we love your big ‘ol sound system!
January 2011 saw us exploding into a five-piece band for some really fun shows at the Railway Club in Vancouver and the Fort St Cafe in Victoria, adding Colin Nealis on upright bass, and Nick Stecz and Jake Jenne on drums on their respective landmasses. We’re headed back into Fiddlehead studios in the first week of February to track some new songs with Jake and Colin, which are building upon the live recordings we did in November…. Meg recently learned how to make pho, and Elise created some vegan sausage rolls, or so she says.