Best Vancouver albums of 2016: Skye Wallace – ‘Something Wicked’ (self-released)

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Although Skye Wallace’s 2014 debut album LIVING PARTS existed in perpetual twilight, a runaway energy exuded from its expansive landscapes in which she could easily have been imagined riding horseback across dewy, misty terrains. Producer Jim Bryson picked up on this triumphant kinetic energy when he saw her perform at last year’s Calgary Folk Music Festival and helped her maximize it in the studio.

The resulting album, Something Wicked, is bolder, stronger, and more daring than its predecessor, landing closer to folk rock and even twangy blues rock. Strings and uptempo percussion and rhythms are less preoccupied with creating ambience. Wallace’s voice rises to match her band’s energy and volume as she sings with disarming vigour and greater candor: for the first time, she’s largely traded narrative fiction & non-fiction for tales drawn from her own life.

Whether inspired by the living history that surrounds her throughout her travels across Canada or motivated by events in her personal life, Skye Wallace is a storyteller at heart. Maybe we can never truly tell fact from fiction in her writing, but it’s always alluring to imagine something wicked.

Standout track – “Not Ready for This to Start”

See the rest of my picks at Vancouver Weekly.

West 4th Avenue Khatsahlano Street Party announces 2016 schedule

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My favourite event of the year, the West 4th Avenue Khatsahlano Street Party, has announced its 2016 schedule. Khatsahlano is Vancouver’s largest free music and arts festival and features seven performance stages, food trucks, market tents, giveaways, and a whole hell of lot more across 10 blocks, from Macdonald to Burrard. Here’s what I’ll be checking out (names descend in priority as they run from left to right):

12:15 pm – Alea Rae (now DOUSE)
1:00 pm – Nathan Shubert
1:20 pm – Malcolm Jack
2:00 pm – Holy Hum
2:30 pm – Noble Oak
3:00 pm – Gang Signs
3:30 pm – Winona Forever
4:00 pm – Twin RiverPlazas / Jody Glenham & the Dreamers
4:30 pm – Mesa Luna
5:30 pm – Mu
6:00 pm – Woolworm
7:00 pm – Skye Wallace / White Poppy / Rodney DeCroo
8:00 pm – Hannah Georgas

Interview with Skye Wallace

Interview with Skye Wallace

I recently chatted with Skye Wallace about her upcoming album, the Maritimes, personal connection to geography, revisiting familiar places as an adult, and establishing one’s own roots. Read an excerpt below, and watch her perform “These Are the Words” in Sam Soo’s kitchen.

During her recent travels, she revisited many of the places from her youth. But she returned on her terms, this time planting her own roots instead of relying on pre-established family connections. She reflects on one trip: “That was the first time I’ve been to Newfoundland, other than St. John’s, by myself. Other than that, I’ve been with family. This was just a completely different experience, very integral to my connection to place.”

Returning to a familiar place but with years of new lived experiences behind her – as a different person, in many ways – has led her to discovering new aspects of that place, making it new again. “I think that’s so exciting. That’s such an exciting thing to experience, having multiple contexts for a place that you’re very familiar with.… It’s a very interesting development and relationship to have with a place.”