P.E.I. performing artists continue to hit high notes in their musical careers.
And The Guardian continues to report their successes and achievements.
Today, we offer updates on Rose Cousins and Ten Strings and a Goat Skin.
As a songwriter, Rose Cousins knows how to navigate the landscape of the human heart.
As a performer, she knows how to belt out songs in front of an audience night after night, continuously reaching the emotional highs and lows necessary in her music.
In 2017, Cousins has done both – recording “Natural Conclusion”, her new CD and touring it across Canada and the United States.
“This past year has been very challenging and rewarding. And, for me, those two things aren’t very far apart,” says the P.E.I. native, during a telephone interview from Halifax.
The first part of the year was demanding with “lots of interviews” and “a lot of vulnerability involved with being on stage and playing the new music”. Then there was “traveling, touring and shows.”
“So there’s been a lot of really hard, physical work. I recovered a bit from that in May. Then I toured on and off for the rest of the year, doing festivals and concerts,” says Cousins.
Her hard work has reaped rewards.
“I feel really proud of the record that I made… And the wonderful affirmations (came) at the end of the year, being included in a few, notable year-end lists,” says Cousins, whose CD, "Natural Conclusion" received a Grammy nod for best engineered album, non-classical category.
“The Grammy nomination is just wonderful. In moments where doubt creeps into you and you wonder whether your hard work is going to get you anywhere, if you sustain it, it’s moments like this (that make it worthwhile),” says Cousins who will be in New York City on Jan. 28 for the Grammys and plans to celebrate with her CD’s two engineers.
Other exhilarating moments include “singing into the same microphone as Jim Cuddy” when she performed with Blue Rodeo in Halifax, singing with Ron Sexsmith in Toronto and having American singer Lizz Wright cover her song, “Grace” and name her album “Grace” and being a part of her CD launch.
“So it’s been a great year. It’s been challenging and rewarding and I’m thankful for all the peaks and valleys.”
TEN STRINGS AND A GOAT SKIN
It’s been a wonderful year for Ten Strings and a Goat Skin.
“2017 was pretty jam-packed with some amazing adventures. We did plenty of tours in North America and Europe again, but we we're given the opportunity to visit new countries, like Sweden and Scotland,” says Jesse Périard, a member of the bilingual folk/fusion trio that includes Caleb Gallant and Rowen Gallant.
The band has grown in leaps and bounds in skill level and performance style over the past seven years. Starting out in P.E.I.’s small halls, the trio quickly graduated to larger venues, both in Canada and around the world.
This past February the band performed for the king and queen of Sweden, at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, as part of Canada 150 celebrations.
Then, this past April, during a tour of the Shetland Islands, they received word that their album, “Auprès Du Poêle” had just won best roots/traditional album at the 2017 East Coast Music Awards. (The band competed in the category with Coig, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Rum Ragged and Shannon Quinn.) “This award was truly unexpected seeing as we were up against four amazing bands,” Periard said, during an interview at that time.
He says that although “we enjoyed pretty much every tour of the year”, one of the highlights of 2017 was being able to tour more in Canada during the sesquicentennial.
“We we're honoured to play some major folk festivals in Western Canada during the month of August, as well as the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton. It was so nice to finally be able to play more gigs in our own country,” Périard adds.
Closer to home, he’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon in October that the band performed with the P.E.I. Symphony Orchestra.
“Being able to play some of our songs backed up by 40 other musicians, to a crowd filled with mainly family and friends, we still get chills thinking about that day. It was another highlight.”
Now that the new year has arrived, the band is thinking about its future.
“We're looking forward to 2018. There will be some big announcements for sure. We're also very looking forward to touring Australia for the first time this April.”