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SALLY COLE: P.E.I. singer-songwriter Rachel Beck’s decision to go solo reaping many benefits

Rachel Beck displays her self-titled album. On Thursday, the first single, “Reckless Heart”, hit number one on the CBC Music Top 20 national charts. She’s currently on a Maritime tour. SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN
Rachel Beck displays her self-titled album. On Thursday, the first single, “Reckless Heart”, hit number one on the CBC Music Top 20 national charts. She’s currently on a Maritime tour. SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN - The Guardian

When Amy Beck announced that she wanted a break from touring to spend more time with her baby, Lauren, the news came as a wakeup call to her sister.

 “There were mixed emotions. But, by the time we had the conversation, it wasn’t a huge surprise,” Rachel Beck tells me. 

After performing as the Beck Sisters for the past four years, the siblings were gaining momentum with their music. Their 2013 CBC Searchlight finalist success led them to stages like the 2015 Stan Rogers Folk Festival. They also received invitations to perform for The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their Royal Visit to Canada, share the stage with Serena Ryder and open for Tom Cochrane.

And it left Rachel longing for more.

“Amy knew that I was really passionate about wanting to tour the country, do interviews and everything else that comes with it.”

On the flip side, she knew that Amy was happy to stay at home and play locally.

So, with her family’s blessing, Rachel set off on a solo career.

Turns out it was a good decision.

Since forging a solo path, Rachel formed a band and recorded her self-titled album at Daniel Ledwell’s Echo Lake studio. Soon afterwards her first single, “Reckless Heart”, was released in iTunes and Spotify.

“It was really cool to hear from people across the country who really liked the song.”

Then, after a successful CD launch at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House in Charlottetown on Feb. 25, her single started rising in the charts.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I received a text from Rachel on Thursday (when I was almost finished writing my column) telling me that her song had just hit No. 1 on the CBC Music Top 20 national charts.

“Honestly, it’s surpassed any expectation that I had for the album,” she says of the seven-track CD funded by FACTOR.

Congratulations to you, Rachel!

Along with the text, the P.E.I. singer-songwriter sent along a note of appreciation:

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has been voting for ‘Restless Heart’. We’ve had the most online votes for six weeks.”

Now, as she prepares to continue her Maritime tour in Fredericton and Saint John this weekend, she feels encouraged.

And, yes, she misses having Amy performing with her.

But, she’s buoyed by the support of a “great band” knowing that she’s not alone on stage. 

Her musicians include Natalie Williams Calhoun, cello; Alan White, drums; Evan McCosham, bass and Bennett Buell, guitar.

“We just got word that my Saint John concert has sold out. So that’s very exciting.”

Up close and personal with Rachel Beck

- Favourite drink: Almond milk latte. 

- Favourite CD: “The Wilder Beyond” by the band Hillsburn. 

- Five things to take to a desert island: Family, piano, Spotify, expresso machine and a soccer ball.

- Website: Go to www.rachelbeckmusic.com/.

Call in and win

The question is: What’s the name of Rachel Beck’s single?

The prize: A copy of her solo CD.

Last week’s winners: Pat Neary won tickets to the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra concert. Alice Smith picked up tickets to the Winter Island Tour concert.

To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707.

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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