Hey, it’s another Friday, folks!
Another challenging week here in Manitoba, learning of new record numbers of COVID-19 cases, a health-care system under strain, a lockdown 2.0, and deaths rising at a frightening rate.
One of the few politicians I genuinely respect, Calgary, Alberta mayor Naheed Nenshi, spoke today at a televised press conference carried on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He urged people not to wait for the government to tell them what to do, but rather to do the right thing, now. He said bluntly what other politicians often dance around for fear of offending voters: stay home, collapse your bubble, don’t have anyone in your home who doesn’t live there (except essential workers), and observe the fundamentals of hygiene, masks and distance. He stated it isn’t an either/or about health and the economy; there is no economy without health. I’ve been impressed with Mayor Nenshi since observing his inspirational and motivational public messaging during the flood that devastated parts of his city in 2013. I even met him once, in 2016, when he was in Winnipeg for the national conference of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, where I was a volunteer.
But enough about that. Let’s get to some music. And since we’re talking municipalities and local government, let’s have another #buylocal look at some great talent.
Manitoba’s Carly Dow has been performing what she calls “witchcrafted folk” since 2013, and I’ve seen her play a few times. One of the most intimate performances we’ve witnessed was at our central library branch, downtown in the Millennium Library. The Winnipeg Folk Festival occasionally features three artists in each of an excellent series of workshops in a cozy, sun-kissed part of the building. My sweety and I have attended many of these, which have included some musical friends as well as our own Kieran West.
Of her latest work, Dow’s website says, “On 2018’s Comet, Carly demonstrates the steady growth of her craftsmanship with a full band behind her. The album features her characteristic clawhammer banjo and supports her melodies with electric guitars, strings, accordions and a driving rhythm section. They’re perfectly arranged to showcase the power of her voice. With songs for adventurers, lovers, and the worlds they inhabit Comet is proof again that Carly Dow is sketching the human condition in song and claiming her own place on the musical landscape in the process. Bring a compass, Carly will take you places.“
I listened to the album on Dow’s Bandcamp page while reading up on her and agree! And she is the type of artist best experienced live, plus I would go further to say in a small venue setting, where she and her audience can interact more easily. But we can’t do that right now, and it’s been about nine months since live shows were really a thing. As I said in my post earlier this week on “Looking Out My Window” by Slow Leaves, it’s a tough time for many musicians. And not just financially. They chose to be musicians to share their craft with people and make the world a better place. Being restricted from gathering puts a serious damper on that spirit. But we as music lovers can help by sending notes to artists to show we care about them, and buying their music and merchandise to support them in this in-between time.
You might become weary of me echoing Elbow leader singer Guy Garvey’s exhortation on his weekly BBC 6 Music program, Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, “… don’t stream it for a pittance… buy the recording so the musicians can make more!” but he’s absolutely right. We can make a difference for local musicians and other artists by buying their stuff.
So, please join me in a 100% safe, contact-free-from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home visit to either the store on the Carly Dow website, or her Bandcamp page (where you can up the price to send more cash to the artist). It’s easier than curbside pickup, and there are no markers on the aisles so you’ll always be heading the right way. Buy Comet today. You’ll be glad you did. And, hey, check out some of her earlier music, too.
After my first listening, a favourite tune on the album is “Dreaming of You.” It’s got the kind of beat and sweet twang complementing Dow’s lovely voice that will put it high up on my Car Tunes playlist.
Here’s the audio for the song from Carly Dow’s Bandcamp album page: