The Cedar Shake tour


On a tour of one-night stands 
My suitcase and guitar in hand
And every stop is neatly planned
For a poet and a one-man band…

For the second time in 3 years, I’m heading out on a Home Routes tour, playing for audiences in homes and small venues, and staying with the hosts along the way. Last time, I spent two weeks roaming over northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan on the Borealis Trail; this time it’s the Cedar Shake tour of Southern BC.

The map is approximate (I’ll be spending more time on highways and ferries than shows in this depiction) but it gives the main idea: this is a mighty road trip. As a lover of geography, story, and landscape, I’ll be in my element doing the long drives between towns along this route.

I’m always up for a road trip, anywhere in Canada; better yet if it’s somewhere I haven’t been, or haven’t been for a long time. Many of the towns along this trail (Victoria, DuncanLadysmith, Courtenay Kamloops, Salmon Arm) are places I know fleetingly from my many trips across the country by car, bus, rail and thumb. But I’ve never spent the time it takes to get a sense of place. As for VernonMissionPrinceton, Anmore, Powell River, Lion’s Bay… I’ll be seeing them for the first time. How sweet it is!

It seems to me now is an opportune moment to spend real time anywhere, let alone on a tour of rural BC. We’re living in a strange period, when people seem driven apart. To talk to folks who are kind enough to welcome a musician into their homes; to hear their stories and share my own.. this seems essential to me. There’s something about seeing the photos on someone’s fridge, the books on their shelves, and hearing their concerns over coffee, that puts a performer right into the heart of the matter. And it’s essential to do the work of singing and telling stories in small places, for regular people who seek inspiration from us workers in song. When we make music together, in small groups in small places, we maintain some of the oldest ties and traditions that have made us human.

All of that is wonderful, and I’m grateful for it: for the work, and for the value it brings. But there’s more.

This is a time for listening, as much as for singing and speaking. And the long spaces between towns are as important as the time spent on stage.

After all, you can’t make songs without hearing stories. And music is the space between the notes.


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