I was on my way to perform at the Home County Folk Festival in 2006, waiting at YVR to board my plane. With an hour or so before departure, I went for a pre-flight walk as I always do, or should I say, did. This particular stroll led me to the bookstore and I purchase a book titled, ‘Heat’ by British author George Monbiot. Somewhere over Lake Superior, Monbiot argued that the single worse thing a human being can do with regard to the environment is to fly. Before the chapter ended, I made a conscious decision that the last flight that I would take, would be the one that took me home.
As a touring musician, this has proven to be, well, challenging. Crossing Canada in a van is time-consuming, tiring, dangerous and not always practical if you have a gig in Windsor on a Friday and one in St. John the next day. The upside is that you get to see a lot of this great country of ours. The downside is, well, you get to see a lot of this great country of ours.
When I began to set up my tour in support of my new album, Folklore, I wanted to take my time and not get caught in the frantic buzz of trying to do too much. I wanted to savour the experience this time. I wanted to really connect with the people, see their landscapes, and make real friendships. I am taking the train in March, from Vancouver to Halifax and back, with stops in Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg and shows inbetween, The train is a greener alternative but takes some serious planning, as it does not run every day, unlike it’s European cousins. Train travel in Canada is expensive and would be prohibitive, if it were not for ViaRail’s OnBoard Entertainment Program for musicians. In exchange for two 45 minutes sets a day, Via provides the passage. The rest of the time is mine to write new songs, learn Gordon Lightfoot’s “Great Canadian Railroad Trilogy” or gaze out the window and watch the aurora borealis unfurl.