Seventeen WOWS in A Sea of Sound @ Folk Alliance International 2019

For four days and four nights, Folk Alliance International stormed the Fairmont Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and I was there. You couldn’t help but to experience all the feels; the highs, the lows, ultimately ensconced in a mix of awe, chaos, spirit and crazy.

Imagine music rooms, set up for performances from the Lobby of the hotel through to the fifth floor. Musicians attending from all over the world, playing Official Showcases from 4pm and Private Showcases from 10pm through to until 3:30am. Music for almost twelve hours, non-stop, for four days, nights (and mornings.) Close to two hundred concerts happening at any given time. If your imagination is overwhelmed at the thought, and your heart is palpitating just a little, then you are on the right track.

Last Spring at Canadian Music Week, the seed was planted to attend FAI 2019 in Montreal. This outstanding (if a little overwhelming) music conference is usually held in The United States, so when I found out that Canada would be its 2019 home, I jumped at the chance to be there.

Thanks to Scott Doubt for the photos!

Thanks to Scott Doubt for the photos!


After a lengthy application process, with hopes to be given an opportunity to play an Official Showcase, I would be informed with a polite no. So instead I applied as a First Timer and was even awarded a scholarship to help with the registration fee. I sent out a tonne of emails, filling out more applications for a variety of Non Official/Private Showcases, to which I would recieve a handful of “Yes’s” YES! We music creators/bookers/managers LOVE a Yes. So there it was, a seed sprouted!

I have attended a variety of Music Festivals/Conferences but nothing could ever prepare a person for what could happen. Heading into something like this, you need an open heart, a fierce drive and a thick skin. FAI developed an app so we could attempt at making a schedule, a schedule for your daily workshops, panels, talks, inteviews etc and a schedule for performances. Sticking to the day time plan wasn’t so hard (on very little sleep, I might add) but sticking to the performance choices previously made was, at the best of times, quite difficult! One could very easily be swayed into a room by the sound of a harp, a voice, a familiar face or a fiddle (to name a few.) Great surprises are so rare it seems, but not at Folk Alliance International. There were surprises around every corner.

Here are my TOP SEVENTEEN picks, in no particular order, and please excuse the Ipad photos (I have now learned that snapping shots with an IPAD is SO uncool. Ha!)


1) Sara Ajnnak is a Sami artist from Sweden. I happened upon her in a tiny hotel room, her voice called me in and put a spell on me, taking me across the hills of the North, along cold, fresh rivers into a future of quiet beauty. I was fortunate enough to catch both a Private Showcase and an Official one.

Sara_Ajnnak

Sara_Ajnnak

2) Gangstagrass, you really could not have come up with a better name for this American Bluegrass meets Hip Hop combination of sound. Their music beckoned me into a few different rooms, PACKED rooms, touching on all the senses….

Gangstagrass

Gangstagrass

3) Harrow Fair is a BOMBPROOF duo based in Toronto, Ontario. I was in complete awe, mesmerized by their musical prowess. Just WOW.

Harrow Fair

Harrow Fair

4) Alash Ensemble is a trio of throat singers from The Republic of Tuva. Tuvan Throat Singers who will blow your mind into a million pieces. #icanteven

Alash Ensemble

Alash Ensemble

5) Ordinary Elephant is a country/folk duo out of Texas, now living across The States in a tiny home on wheels with their dogs. This music is brutal honest truth about what it means to be alive in this crazy world. Harmonies, Love and truth, cuts right to the heart.

Ordinary Elephant

Ordinary Elephant

6) Vishten is a spell binding “make you wanna dance” trio from Prince Edward Island & The Magdalin Islands, an Acadian trio who I fell in Love with.

Vishten

Vishten

7) The Way Down Wanderers are a five piece Bluegrass/Pop band out of Illinois. Their subtle playing and sweet, playful stage presence captivated me in such a way that I could not look away (if but for a moment to snap this photo.)

The Way Down Wanderers

The Way Down Wanderers

8) Mama Mihirangi & The Mareikura were an outstanding trio of fierce, firey and friendly women from New Zealand. What a distance for this profound trio of Maori women to make, all the way to Montreal, Canada. I was blown away (to tears at some points) with their EPIC performance featuring soulfire, dance and siren sounds.

Mama Mihirangi & the Mareikura

Mama Mihirangi & the Mareikura

9) BLISK is a quartet of Balkan singers from Eastern Europe. Their harmonies and traditional songs kept me entranced, their dancing and traditional garb and instruments make this Toronto based band stand out in the best of ways.

Blisk (sorry could not get all four ladies into one shot!)

Blisk (sorry could not get all four ladies into one shot!)

10) Good Lovelies have been a favourite of mine for some time, but I had not the chance to see them live for many years. How lucky I was to have them perform in a cozy hotel room (right before me in the “Ladies In Waiting” Private Showcase room) Their music reminds me of honey, campfires, Canada and great lakes.

Good Lovelies

Good Lovelies

11) The Dardenelles are one of my favourite traditional Irish/Newfoundland bands from Newfoundland, Canada. I have all their records and LOVE their passionate playing and up beat sounds.

The Dardenelles

The Dardenelles

12) Vox Sambou is a collective of talented musicians based in Montreal, Canada. Their lively performance had the audience on its feet dancing to the large sounds of this amazing up beat group.

Vox Sambou

Vox Sambou

13) Nick Sherman in an Indigenous artist based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario from Sioux Lookout. His crafted songs take you for a ride through the life and times of a Dad on the road, a soul seeking troubadour who sings with a mighty set of vocal cords.

Nick Sherman

Nick Sherman

14) Joe Bel is a French Chanteuse who took my breath away. I was so happy to randomly find yet another amazing songstress. My cup runneth over!!! Love!!!

Joe Bel

Joe Bel

15) Red Moon Road has also been a favourite of mine since I heard this soulful trio of talent, from Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada many moons ago…. I Love their harmonies and how they trade off songs, songs which take you to another time and place. Real music.

Red Moon Road

Red Moon Road

16) Lisa Canny is an Irish music maker from County Mayo. She plays a plethora of instruments but can really steal you away with her Harp playing. Her voice is also killer. I was very happy to stumble into her performance, a lucky find, indeed!

Lisa Canny

Lisa Canny

17) Jackie Venson is a riveting master of music, hailing from Texas. There are no real words to stick on this power force of a musician. I was very lucky to find her on my way to someone else. Sorry to that other person but MAN do I want to do better since hearing her.

Jackie Venson

Jackie Venson

So there they are. I could not possibly pare my top picks down any further, as it is, I am missing way more greats on this list. To say I am grateful and honoured to have been privvy to such a MASSIVE event doesn´t cut it. What a whirlwind of sights and sounds, a blast of Musical Chaos that will keep me fueled for quite some time. It was pure excitement and a true please to be among such wonders. Hopefully you can take some time out of your busy schedules and have a listen to some of these new introductions?? Have fun while you are at it, I know I will.



My Life In Pictures

We have floated on over into Autumn, and Summer, as per usual, has flown. For any readers who have visited from time to time for a new blog, apologies to you and hopefully you haven’t given up completely! This past weekend I shared a show with a new found music maker from England, living in Germany, Ben Meech. Thanks for the kind words, Ben. Sometimes all it takes is someone saying “Go for it! I will read your blog!” .

So here I am once again, after many moons and MANY life experiences, it’s hard to know where to start! Many times I thought of writing about our tour through the United Kingdom (mostly Scotland) but I was waiting for the wonderful Canadian musical website “Roots Music Canada” to post the blog I wrote for them, “A Soul Full-filling Tour in Scotland” which you can read here.

We spent six weeks on the road, driving through the U.K in a 1996 Mitsubishi which we Lovingly named “Gypsy Heart” or Gypsy, for short. I recommend this journey for any and all. There is just SO much beauty around every corner, I had NO IDEA the majestic beauty of Scotland. It simply blew my mind…..

Loch An Eilein Castle, just outside of Aviemore, Scotland

Loch An Eilein Castle, just outside of Aviemore, Scotland


We did a LOT of wild camping, and saw a LOT of castles! Loch An Eilein Castle, (which I could swim to) is just outside the town of Aviemore (which reminded me a little of Banff, Canada.) I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Speysound, a local (and wonderful! community radio station) while there.

We toured a LOT of the country and one of our destinations was Urquart Castle, on Loch Ness. Once upon a time this castle was inhabited by the Grant family (my mother’s side are the Grant’s) so naturally we had to go have a tour!

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Naturally, I had a swim in Loch Ness it was a MUST!! So coooold, but refreshing. No Nessie sightings, either.

Living on the road and camping in a tiny home on wheels, I might just have to devote an entire blog to just that subject but if there is any desire at all to do such a thing, I say go for it. We had a solar panel, which helped immensely, charging our Ipad/Iphone and the wee cooler (fridge) we took along.


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We played a good few shows and really got to see the ins and outs of Scotland (again, to read more and look at more photos, click on the link above re: Scotland Blog on Roots Music Canada.) Of course we also had to take in a Whiskey Tour, which lead us to Talisker, the Lovely distillery on the banks of Loch Harbort, on the Isle of Skye. What a spot and I had no idea how it all went down. Yummy stuff!

Talisker Distillery

Talisker Distillery

Also, we climbed a mountain. My first ever mountain! It was pretty much the hardest physical thing I have ever done. At the time I thought “GET ME OFFA THIS THING!” And I was cursing life. But the next day, as we were driving away from the area, I saw that majestic mountain from a whole new perspective and it got me thinking that I might even try doing another one sometime. Ben Hope…. A gorgeous rock!


Holding on for dear life at the top of Ben Hope 937metres

Holding on for dear life at the top of Ben Hope 937metres

Moving on from that EPIC adventure in Scotland, and onto some great news…

After months of waiting, I finally received a few boxes of freshly pressed brand new CD’s. A lot goes into the manufacturing side, not to mention the performance side! There were NERVES let me tell you. The past winter, I had a concert in the city of Bern with a fellow (wonderful!) songwriter Peter Finc, who happens to also record LIVE SHOWS! Double whammy of goodness… So we recorded this “Live In Bern” project And I am happy with the way it turned out, even if a few of my nerves are present… You can order a copy from ME personally and I will send it to you snail mail style. I am not releasing this one online. Just shoot me an email lindsay@lindsayferguson.com

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Onto deliciousness… We are into the third year now, of having a garden/food forest. It has been so generous this year. Every day heading outside with a basket, collecting free organic, no pesticides, food grown from seeds. It blows my mind. My husband is more the green thumb but slowly I am getting into it. I SURE Love to cook and prepare the stuff. Small miracles in the back yard…

Calendula and Green Onions

Calendula and Green Onions

Oven roasted potatoes and beets from our garden

Oven roasted potatoes and beets from our garden

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The last weekend of Summer, 2018 was a goodie. I had the opportunity to sing in Osogna, Ticino, Switzerland. It is the Italian part of Switzerland, you have to cross the Gotthard pass (mountain) to get there. What a weekend of beauty. From mountain water pools, to balmy nights eating figs to glaciers…

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I welcome Autumn. It is my favourite time of year. I look forward to the nights geting longer, making pumpkin soup, eating by candlelight, wrapping up in sweaters and scarves. Hikes through the forest in the Fall, there is nothing like it! I am happy for it’s arrival and that I too, am here to enjoy it.


180 Days Later

It's been six months, 180 days since I wrote to you the last time. I can't really say what or why it has taken me so long to come back here! Maybe it's that I enjoy those personal connections, those connects that happen between real life people, the back and forth conversations between us where we can look at each other, see the nuances, the expressions, the crinkles, the colours! We can hear the textures of voice and sound around us, be inspired through what is happening in the back ground, what we are seeing, feeling,  the smells, the looks, the hustle! When I sit here, in my office (I use the term lightly though, as this room is also where I create and practice music, create and design cards, earrings, dreams and the like) up here in this old farmhouse, it isn't as much fun to ramble on about life and it's qualities/quandary's without the real life you!

Home_office_with_a_view

Home_office_with_a_view

 

Alas, it is also nice to connect here and to share a bit about my life, with you, my friends, family and fans! How lucky am I to have YOU, whether in actuality or virtual reality, I am happy you are here. Over the past few months, life has been very kind. SO  many changes and SO MANY new songs!!! When I think back the to the last six months of life, it looks good... To be SURE, I am grateful... But where to start?? Switzerland, Ireland or Canada?? I've had the good fortune (desire, will, perseverance and MIGHT) to perform and travel to and within all of these countries since I last wrote...All of these places have been home to me at some point and cultivating the connections and friendships that life has afforded me between these patches of land.... My heart! Oh the people you can meet, the places you can go!

Dried_flowers_from_the_garden_make_an_excellent_gig_poster

Dried_flowers_from_the_garden_make_an_excellent_gig_poster

Ireland was very much like I had remembered it. Full of small yet profound moments, enforcing my belief in magic, fairies and musical healing (and the true meaning of "The Hair of the Dog." What a spot. I even tried my hand at busking for the first time. It was the Galway Arts Festival and everyone was out on the streets, sharing their talent, the hustle was real! As I was wandering around the market, with my guitar strapped to my back, a fine guitarist asked me if I wanted his spot to play and he accompanied me for a few songs to break the ice of "my first busk." I have to admit, I was nervous. I decided, in the end, to rent a guitar for my performances, otherwise I would have had to pay double what the renting cost was to bring my (lug my) own guitar through airports, train stations and more. It was a fabulous idea, thanks to Opus 2 for the rental! 

Photo_cred_Jennifer_Higgs

Photo_cred_Jennifer_Higgs

 

Summer is ALWAYS great, everywhere but I would probably have to say that about Spring and Autumn too. I am not a HUGE Lover of Winter, but I DO enjoy the darker, shorter days (call me crazy) but candle light and cozy just go hand in hand with the type of life I aspire to (and) have! Hot drinks just taste that much better when it is freezing outside. Recently I went to a Christmas Market up on Mount Pilatus, in Switzerland. CHECK THIS VIEW OUT....

View_from_Mount_Pilatus_at_sunset

View_from_Mount_Pilatus_at_sunset

I mentioned song writing and LOTS of it. The tap seems to be very giving and new songs are coming at record speeds! This means that a new record will be imminent in 2018. Not sure how but where there is a will there is a way! Here is a favourite shot from the past Summer, singing at The Wakefield Market.... It remains to be one of my favourite gigs. Not only do I get to sing for a huge range of people, all ages, but the gift of singing in the middle of all that ART and Loveliness can not be compared....

Singing_in_colours_at_Wakefield's_Market

Singing_in_colours_at_Wakefield's_Market

As we get older (I just passed another year around the sun) life starts to reveal truths. OR, rather, we start to really see them. I am sure they are there all along. It has been monumental (and slightly mental) getting older, because... WISER!!! Now I know things and am stronger with regards to things that would have tortured me in the past. It gets easier to say things like "No thank you!" and "Yes, I really DO am going to be kinder to myself!" Which leads me to sharing the BIGGEST change that I made, for myself, ever...

Lovely_deliciousness_from_our_garden

Lovely_deliciousness_from_our_garden

Around six months ago, I watched the documentary "What The Health" and decided to eat a plant based diet. It was on a whim and I NEVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE thought I would do it or even wanted to do it. Ever. I thought, maybe two weeks might teach me something. Well, it taught many somethings. Some of which I would never share with anyone, because it is not my duty to try and change you. So I will not pontificate. I will say, that I have never felt better in my life and no longer live with chronic pain. I am not one for labels (plus I can't label myself as the DREADED V word because we have chickens here who, when they feel like it, give us eggs!) It is a very sticky topic, FOOD. So do what you will, but know that eliminating animal products from your life will change you for the better. Maybe one day, when I am feeling stronger about this discussion (you have NO IDEA how many people hate on folks who want to change -or have changed- their diet to plant based, all of a sudden EVERYONE cares where I get my protein) I will elaborate in another full on blog about the subject. It has become VERY interesting to me, now that I feel so different!!!! Anyhooooo.....

In January, I am playing a VERY special concert. It will be recorded LIVE and I hope to get a few songs down for a Lindsay Live record! It has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time, and it is FINALLY happening, thanks to Peter Finc. If you want to be in the audience and you live in or near Bern, please save the date JANUARY 20th, Werkhof 102.

A_gardenhouse_a_sunflower_and_a_rainbow

A_gardenhouse_a_sunflower_and_a_rainbow

So I will leave you now and I will not let another 180 days go by with SO MUCH WEBSITE SILENCE! Life is a gift and I am privileged to be able to share with you little tidbits about the things I learn, the world I get to know. In the meantime, I will keep crafting words into songs and hope that you will keep listening.

Lots of Love,

Lindsay 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Social Media

A_Lindsay_Live_Set_List

A_Lindsay_Live_Set_List

Once upon a time I was very involved in Social Media. Now, I am a dabbler. Years ago, I met a friend who is smarter than most when it comes to computers and the evolution of Social Media (Thank you Jef Harris of Chaos Academy!). He helped me with this website, even before I had recorded my first full length record, "Sound." He helped me set up my Myspace page (now obsolete) and encouraged me to post regularly on Facebook when it first started. He has been sending me links, setting me up with various platforms (Soundcloud, Instagram, Itunes, Twitter etc) and has helped me, immensely, with all things 'computery,' aiding me in getting these links OUT there. He is the one that said "post a blog WEEKLY, do a PODCAST bi-weekly, the people WILL come!" And I was (and have been) trying (all of my previous podcasts are up at Itunes.) However, more and more I am not inspired to continue as fervently. After days, weeks and months of going hard at it, finding things to write about, to talk about... I have finally realized that, for me, it is about the craft of music itself. I enjoy writing, I do, and I like to keep you up to date, but I have to be honest here.. I wonder, what do I have to say that is really so important, that can't be written poetically into a song? I really LOVE LOVE writing three to four minute songs, shedding light on various life issues and experiences, but this 'writing essays' thing can be tough. I understand that the life I have chosen "in the spotlight" so to speak, a person who is in pursuit of a musical life, should be very involved in Social Media. I understand that, which is why I have any platforms at all, but this 'Vanity Vibe' is getting tired. Don't you think?? Perhaps offering up words of wisdom is better coming from place of music, the real Universal Language. I will continue to share my dreams and ideas, I promise! This is a never-ending fight, 'til the end! However, this 'up in your face' thing is not what I would like to do, even if it is something I am supposed to do, it just doesn't feel right to me somehow. I enjoy a lengthy conversation about life, but to me, it seems MOOT if it is just one sided. I suppose it's a conundrum of sorts... One must keep connected to their fans and friends, but how in the world did they do it before the internet? Music has been around a LONG time.

 I heard recently by a whack of folks (in the industry) whom I highly respect, that websites are soon to be obsolete! People (festival and venue bookers) are turning more and more to social media sites such as 'Soundcloud' for a listen, rather than perusing all that websites have to offer. The saddest thing of all is that people won't be leaving their house, what with all the live streaming and music available at the click of a button. I remember years ago a venue owner (and friend of mine) saying, you just watch Lindsay, folks aren't going to go out anymore to enjoy Live Music, and boy, was he spot on!!! These are uncertain times for an artist and a venue owner. That 'back and forth' energy between myself and the listener, THAT is what keeps me in this circle of sound. I have to have it. The real feeling between souls connecting. Yes, it might sound 'wishy washy' but it is what it is. There is nothing like a real live and intimate concert setting. Nothing beats the real thing. So, get out there and enjoy that. Long Live LIVE Music.

In the meantime, you can find me in 'push button form'  at any of the Social Media sites I have listed earlier on in this essay/blog. Onwards and upwards.... Ho!

p.s Here are the lyrics to my newest song.... Seem kind of fitting to this topic:

ROBOTS

I'd give it all up....

What does any of it really mean? You gotta push, push, push 'til ya push, push, pushed it away!  What then, when you're left with not a thing? It makes me nutz thinking how we break it up to start it over again...... I'd give it all up

Tsk, tsk, tsk! You know, you're doing it wrong, see, I'm a pro, pro, pro watch me go, go get outta town! What now, how can I follow you plan, I gotta figure it out on my own to understand..... I'd give it all up

So used to making it all about the show... Teach me something I do not know! Attracted by all things shiny, twisted and strange... these ROBOTS keep me from being the change......... 

Touch me, swipe me to the left to the right, I watch the feed, feed, feed see you bleed, bleed into the night, hold still! Look what comes in clear! Magnetized glass, metal finger! 

I'd give it all up....