Mudtown Interview: Terra Lightfoot

Terra Lightfoot plays the Heartwood Concert Hall next Saturday, December 12th to what will (likely) be a sold-out audience.  Last time she was in Owen Sound it was with the Dinner Belles, who played an inspired set of originals and classic country covers to a small sold-out show at Rocky Raccoon Café in support of their latest album “The River & the Willow.”  Fast forward a year – Terra has a hit solo album, a cross Canada tour under her belt, and has just played Massey Hall.  But, she couldn’t be more grounded.  

Mudtown: Why is Hamilton the worst? (For an inside on this joke, follow Terra on Instagram here.)

Terra: So many reasons. The waterfalls, the hiking trails, the beautiful views of the harbour, the restaurants, art galleries, venues, the cheap housing, SUPERCRAWL, two beer festivals, our new Collective Arts Brewery and ManoRun Organic Farm.

You’ve played a number of dates opening for fellow Hamiltonian Daniel Lanois, who has worked with U2 & Bob Dylan, among others, and is a noted songwriter in his own right – how do you think (if at all) Hamilton has influenced his songwriting, and / or your own?

Well I think there’s a sort of grit and dirt involved when people think of Hamilton. For me that never comes out.  I write about the nature, the streets and places I gravitate toward, the views of the city from different vantage points. Dan has told all kinds of stories about growing up in Hamilton. I think it informed parts of who he is as a person, just like any city does. He’s very honest and true to himself. I don’t know if he’s written any Hamilton centric songs. Maybe the new instrumental music he’s writing is all about Hamilton?

The scene in Hamilton seems pretty strong right now (sensing a theme?) with lots of venues for live music, the  successful Supercrawl festival, the Green Belt picnic, plus producing acts like Arkells, Whitehorse, and yourself – what do you think other scenes (think Owen Sound) can learn from Hamilton?

I think that Hamilton has pockets of different scenes all over the city, just like any place…so we have different venues, different genres, young people, old people.  It’s important for any scene to be inclusive. I am just as supported by the punk community in Hamilton as I am supported by the blues community, or the rock community. I focus on supporting them too. Even if you are not into each band in your city, you still support them and talk about their shows. The last part I would say is supporting the out-of-towners when they come through – Owen Sound seems to have that part locked down! It’s Hamilton’s weak point for sure.

Your voice – justifiably – has garnered a lot of accolades, but you’re also a skilled guitarist.  What guitarists do you like, or have influenced you?  Are any of them from Hamilton?

Well I love Luke Doucet’s playing.  He’s an honorary Hamiltonian. I am really into Chet Atkins right now. I’ve always loved his playing, but I’m starting to follow it more. No surprise he called himself “CGP” – Certified Guitar Player.

Owen Sound, or Hamilton?

DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

When you were in Owen Sound last year for the Mudtown Music & Arts Series you played in the well-respected Hamilton group the Dinner Belles at the former Rocky Raccoon cafe.  It was a tremendous show, which displayed great group cohesion and formidable musicianship.  How is playing with your solo band different?

I love playing with the Dinner Belles, because we just get up there and joke around. It’s fun music too.  And, it doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note. It’s funny. My (own) band is understandably maybe more serious, about the songs, lyrics maybe. I’m much more vulnerable in presenting my work I guess. Brad Germain from Dinner Belles also has a solo project, Spruce Invaders, which is a space rock band. So cool.

Finally, do you have anything to say to the people of Owen Sound before the show next Saturday?

People of Owen Sound, your town is great.  I really loved playing there last time, and I can’t wait to see you all again!

Mudtown Interview: B.A. Johnston

B.A. Johnston performs for his first time in Owen Sound this Saturday, November 21st at the Coach Inn (click here for tickets). He granted Mudtown an interview in anticipation of his performance, which will include a donut eating contest, an all-Ween tribute band, and many, many snot-rockets.

Mudtown: Thanks for agreeing to the interview BA.  Your longlisting for the 2015 Polaris Prize sparked some controversy with people coming out vocally for and against your nomination, including an active campaign to get you on the shortlist, complete with its own hashtag #shorlistBA and a Downfall / Hitler Reacts video –   what would you have spent the $50K on if you had won?

BA:  Dunno. I guess I would have invested heavily into Dollarama and A&W stocks, and spent the rest on Savage Swords of Conan. I may have bought a van made in this century.

It’s not unusual for you to end up performing to an audience in a bathroom stall at the end of the night, cramming in as many crowd members as possible. Do you have a preferred kind of bathroom to perform in, or any particular venue’s bathroom that is ideal for the crapper concert?

I can’t really get away from the bathroom encore. The audience seems to want it and they give me trouble if i don’t do it. That being said I prefer a good sized girls bathroom. Sometimes there is poupourri in there.

You’re known as a son of Steel Town (Hamilton, Ont) and a devoted Ticats’ fan.  What do feel are the political-economic ramifications for Hamilton with respect to American Steel’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy application in the United States, and how will this – if at all – influence your songwriting?

Well it won’t really reflect much in my songwriting, but i think US steel are a bunch of crooks. And Hamilton will be left out to dry again, as we as a city tend to vote NDP, so no one gives a shit what happens there.

McDonald’s, or Harvey’s?

Harveys for burgs and shakes. McDonalds for everything else.

On a typical show you switch through playing guitar, playing a keyboard, and singing to backing tracks on a portable CD player – what determines your performance method, and have you considered doing all three at once?

Due to lack of skill and ability i am forced to do them all separate. May be for the best.

The minivan seems to be the preferred BA mode of transport and has been featured in your songs – what do you think of the demise of the minivan and rise of the crossover SUV? Would you ever consider driving a Tesla?

Man, the mini van ain’t going nowhere. You know how hard it is to find a used Dodge Grand Caravan? People can’t get enough of these things. People will always need a big slow dumb thing to drive their kids and crap around in. I would drive a Tesla if i can get a good used one for 2500 and it can haul all my crud.

You’ve been able to capture the Canadian spirit in song unlike any other singer-songwriter of our day, like a fusion of Stomping Tom and the Trailer Park Boys – to what do you credit your originality?  And, where does BA Johnston go from here?

Well,l you got to write about what you know. And, all I do is drive around canada and eat. I guess most people don’t write songs about eating or Regina. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Finally,do you have any words for the people of Owen Sound?

Come on down to the show. Good seats still available.

 

B.A. Johnston’s latest album “Shit Sucks” was longlisted for the 2015 Polaris Prize.  It is available via iTunes, and record stores across Canada.

 

Win Tickets To A Show You Suggest!

Stars, Elliott Brood, the Strumbellas, Zeus, the Sadies, Hannah Georgas, Doug Paisley, Jennifer Castle, the Weather Station, & the Burning Hell – just some of the artists who have played Mudtown events.

Now it’s your chance to have a say in who plays an upcoming Mudtown Records show AND win free VIP tickets to the event!  Just fill in our contact form with your name, email, the subject heading “Mudtown Guest Programmer,” and tell us who your choice you would like to see play a Mudtown event and why. Click here for contact form.

If we like your selection, we’ll contact you, and release the name of the artist through social media once we’ve confirmed their booking.

Good luck Mudtowners – we look forward to your suggestions!!!

NO HATE: A Concert for Community

Owen Sound and the surrounding area has a long history of tolerance and inclusion. From its role as terminus for fleeing slaves on the Underground Railroad to our proud heritage as home to one of Canada’s oldest small town Synagogues, we have shown a historical willingness to embrace diversity. Despite this, hatred and intolerance persist throughout our communities. Stories of racism, sexual assault, homophobia, & other forms of hatred stain local, national, & international news. We have decided to show – once again – that the people of our region stand in solidarity against hatred and discrimination in all forms.

Join us on Saturday, June 27th at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound, as visiting and local musicians raise their voices against hate. Featuring performances by Sonic Unyon Records recording artist Terra Lightfoot, eccentric entertainer and music educator Friendly Rich & the Lollipop People, Toronto art-country hipsters Beams, plus local performers The Sportswriters, Pete Devlin, & Deanne Hallman. Tickets are available online here, at the Roxy box-office, or by phoning (519) 371-2833.

All proceeds from this event will go to benefit the following not for profit groups: M’Wikwedong NCRC, The Women’s Centre Grey and Bruce Inc.,Grey Bruce Pride, United Way of Bruce Grey, & the Owen Sound Emancipation Festival.