Meadow music kicks off
Perched in the Rocky Mountains in Kananaskis Country, Mount Engadine Lodge has long been known as a location blessed with majestic views, sightings of wildlife, hiking and skiing, comfortable wilderness lodging and hearty gourmet dinners.
But it has also become known as a home for musicians, a unique live music venue and, more recently, as a singer/songwriter retreat and recording studio.
Musically, all manner of things is taking place at the lodge this year.
The fifth year of Music in the Meadow kicks off this weekend (July 21) with Cara Luft performing. Luft is a former member of the Juno Award-winning Wailin’ Jennys who has flown off on her own.
In all, four Meadow events will be held, with folkie John Wort Hannam in on Aug. 18, The Jeffersons (Juno nominee Lisa Brokop and new hubby Paul Jefferson) on Aug. 25 and Suzie Vinnick playing the blues to close out the series, Sept. 8.
Amidst the Music in the Meadow shows, Sing For Your Supper Shows will take place Aug. 7, when Vinnick and Rick Fines drop in after Calgary and Canmore folk fest gigs, and Aug. 26 with folk singer/songwriter Chloe Albert. Sing For Your Supper events take place when a musician is touring through the area, squeezes in a trip to the lodge and performs a show for whoever is lodging at the time.
Luft, Vinnick and Albert are becoming very well acquainted with the lodge, as the three were key ingredients in the creation of the album The Engadine Sessions – Come to the Mountain in April and May of this year.
The three, along with the valley’s own Cori Brewster, blueswoman Kat Dancer and folkie Karla Anderson, all took advantage of the lodge being closed to stay, write music and record on site.
Mount Engadine Lodge is becoming well known for its music aspect, says innkeeper Chris Williams.
Music in the Meadow has evolved from an event for which it was “hard to find people to play because they didn’t know where we are,” said Williams, “to have interest from about 50 performers this year. And that included 15 Juno nominees.
“It’s becoming a coveted concert to come to. The artists stay here when they play and it’s a whole different experience from the bar gig.”
In putting together The Engadine Sessions, Williams said things moved quickly from the initial idea stage to inviting the six women involved. “We turned the living room into a studio, brought in recording and sound engineering guys and over seven nights, the women wrote 14 original songs.
“The idea was to have everyone do two songs. Cara was so worried about having a couple that she rushed back from a gig at the Ironwood (Calgary), got here at 5 a.m. and finished a song. Then Kat and Karla did an extra song each.
“My best story about the recording is that for a song Karla wrote, and she said ‘I don’t write happy songs,’ she did write one and Suzie said ‘that’s going to get a lot of airplay’. Then she asked to do backing vocals on it. That was a real magical thing.”
Currently, said Williams, the CD is being pressed in Toronto and will be available at the lodge in the first or second week of August. Pre-sales are going well, he said, which is just as well, because funds from the sale will go to a bursary for female singer/songwriters who are underfunded and need help to get a career started.
The recording session went so well, said Williams, that in October, the six women plan to get together again for a six or seven city tour, with dates to be announced.
“That’s going to be a pretty amazing group of female singer/songwriters in one room,” he said. “CKUA and CBC are dying for the CD to come out, because they play all of their music and they can’t believe we got them all together.”
In anticipation of a September release and October tour, Albert’s single “Something Magnificent” has been released on CD Baby and Anderson’s song “Simple Little Truth” will be released in August.
“The musicians and engineers said this is the first time they know of where a group got together like this to write and record at the same time. It’s quite an event for a nine-room backcountry lodge.
“For me, I’ve gone from an innkeeper to a music promoter – if it’s successful, I think we’ll continue with it with different artists in the future.
Tickets for a dinner and concert are $90, limited to 30 seats and are available by calling 403-678-4080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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