R O A D :: D I A R Y

Just got back from Florida shooting a CBC Colin Mochrie special- what a kind and generous guy.. We shot in the Universal/MGM lot on the New York City Street set, Kim playing a grand piano and our band sneaking smokes in between takes while saving their instruments from the spray of night rain (ok, a hose to make the streets look radiant-oh the movies). Returned happy with some freckles and too many shoes (at a certain point one should seek treatment), my bandmates and manager pointed out that they have set a date for my intervention and it's in the fall, so even if I can't pay my rent, I can buy shoes safely until then! As you can tell by my lyrics, I often don't write when I am happy for I am too busy being happy to write, but things are good and that's quite nice to say out loud...Most exciting - "Davnet" is being released in Japan in July by a fantastic company and I plan to visit there in September...I cannot wait to experience first hand this beautiful culture... Check the site for tour updates, new shows are popping up all of the time and I'd love to see you there! Peace and Joy, dav

Road Diary Archive
Damhnait Tour Diary

Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Express
Growing up I always believed I would be a performer, the moment I stepped on stage for the Christmas concert in grade two, wearing my red nightgown, holding a teddy bear and singing a carol, I knew it was the life for me. It was clear to everyone at an early age that I wasnít going to be an athlete - I honed my acting skills pretending I was sick for gym class or cradling my ankle after missing a shot in basketball. Acting seemed like a natural fit and the best thing was that you didnít have to practice for seven months like you did for the Kiwanis Music Festival. To tell you the truth, I thought I was a terrible singer until high school when I got cast as the witch in ď Into The WoodsĒ then a week before our first show I opened my mouth and all of a sudden this huge sound came out - kinda like a bird getting stuck in a chimney, a hell of a sound for a small creature. So when I started working at Fredís records and made my first record it was almost as if it was a fluke, a game of charades totally weighing in my favour. After a couple of years I realized they werenít going to find out I was faking, so I better get down to work and get good. Still with every record I made and every show I gave I saw it all in film, in color , black and white and in the edit suite. I saw my songs as narratives for characters that displayed a slight resemblance to me but played different parts entirely . . . so last week in a meeting with our record company when Tara suggested I direct our new video, I felt a slight chill, fear, and then elation. Really I was just very touched Tara would trust me to take on such a task ( especially as I can be a little on the bossy side). Within two seconds Sheri our manager was setting up the shoot date for this week - wait a minute I thought- isnít this all going too fast? Itís like going from first date to marriage within a minute. So here I stand waiting to walk down the aisle except I forgot my veil and Iím wearing a hot pink dress and sneakers -- and I have to say, Iíve dreamed of this my whole life.

Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Express
If you happened to pick up the express last week, you would have seen me on the cover and if you were a friend or family member you probably picked up your phone , called or texted me or jumped on your email to tease the living daylights out of me. Well people it worked, like Chinese water torture I have been repaid any and every amount of ribbing, laughing and poking I have ever doled out in my life. I make it a practice to turn the ringer off on my cell every night, I have too many friends in Cape Breton whoís favourite thing to do is have a few drinks on a weekend and think itís a great idea to call people to tell them what an awesome time theyíre missing, how much they love them and then proceed to sing entire Stan Rogers songs while you sit on the other end wishing you were there so you could give them a smack. I guess my guard was down cause I forgot to turn off my ringer on Friday night and sure enough at four in the morning my cell phone started ringing right by my head, I jumped out of bed thinking the people downstairs had once and for all blown up the place with their video games, before I came to my senses and answered the phone. In the background music was blaring and all I could hear was some sort of mumbling, like Davnet, Davanet, I kept asking who was on the other end of the line but the only response was ď Youíre so SexyĒ over and over again. Now let me tell you this , there is nothing sexy about waking up a woman who has brown flannel pyjamas with big Hawaiian flowers on it, a mouth guard to stop her from grinding her teeth and locking her jaw, big wool socks on, toothpaste on any possible pimple threats and her hair in a bun on top of her head. To quote Dire Straits ďThat ainít workingĒ. Thing is, in my head, I will always be the girl in grade nine everyone called Dolly because I was so flat chested, so this whole sexy thing is bringing up some bad memories. My thinking is Kim and Tara made some elaborate internet voting manoeuvres just so they could have some extra on-stage ammunition - itís target practice every day.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Express
I'm sitting in my kitchen eating a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal, there's nothing like porridge to warm up your bones and remind you how exciting the first fall of snow was when you were a child, before it all fell apart and you realized the paralyzing affect it can have on inexperienced people. I've lived in Toronto for about ten years though I will always count St. John's as my home, so I am very cautious not to say anything negative about Toronto because it's not mine to laugh about, but the buck stops here. A snowstorm is not three quarters of an inch of snow, a state of emergency is when you've been snowed in with no cable or Tetley tea bags for a month, not when you've gotta crack out the scraper and please don't bother the Army to come in and shovel for you because they happen to be a little busy right now. We have our first Shaye rehearsal today since Christmas and I woke up this morning to a call asking "Should we postpone the rehearsal? They are saying on the radio everything is cancelled and to stay off the roads". As I jumped out of bed and ran over to the window I thought to myself there must have been a freak storm that started just after I went to sleep and never stopped, because I'd only gone to bed five hours before. I opened the blind expecting to see a winter wonderland and all I saw was a light crust of snow partially obscuring the grass. You've got to be kidding me!Sure I remember going to St Paul's Elementary school and they would send us out for recess and lunch to literally play in the snowbanks in our uniforms, now that's how you build character. So everyone is on their way over to my place and I've got to say I am excited, after spending most of last year writing songs for other people I can't wait to get back on the road with my girls and sing the songs we wrote together, but even more then that I am excited about spending that hour in the dressing room before the show, getting ready and putting on our make up, not to mention our snowsuits , which as I look out the window seems to be the new " in " thing here.

Sunday, January 7, 2007
The Express
moved to St John's from Labrador when I was six and my memories from there appear as if I'd seen them in a movie of someone else's life. Images of waking up with snow so high we had to dig a tunnel out the front door, skiing the bunny hill at Smoky Mountain and literally plugging in the car. I wish I had one of those now,not to warm a car but to plug into me, ah the luxury of having a week off , cooking every night, watching movies, lying in bed all day if you want to, so relaxed that you are in fact in some dream like state, frozen in a snow bank watching the cars go by, getting splashed by their tires and not feeling too badly about it at all. But it's back to work we must go, well maybe a coffee first, then work, actually I really should clean out the fridge, it's been ages, I didn't know I still had some red peppers in there, I really should cook them before they go bad, what should I make? Maybe a nice spicy curry, but I think I am out of coconut milk, so I have to go to the grocery store, well if I am going I should at least make out a list, eggs, pledge and ooh I should really get that new bathroom mildew remover I saw on tv last night, I wonder if I can even get that in the grocery store? Maybe I should turn on the tv and see if the ad is on again, I could order it for overnight delivery, it doesn't look like it's on , but you know how that works, as soon as I turn off the tv the ad will come on, I'll just sit here for another five minutes, ok ten, well if I've invested this much time I really owe it to myself to wait just another hour- oh there's a re run of Bridget Jones' Diary on CBC , I have to watch this, it's kind of like work, I mean there are songs in it right? Love that movie but now Iím starving, oh my shower tiles still arenít clean, think Iíll order some take out, let the red peppers wilt Ė oh thank heavens, the add for the mildew cleaner just came on!

Monday, January 1, 2007
The Express
I donít really know where to begin, I just simply had the best Christmas of my life. I guess I could start with arriving in Ottawa on December the twenty first with my passport and my vaccination records just two hours before my flight to Afghanistan. For half an hour I stood next to the baggage carousel waiting in vain for my guitar, which never arrived. This is pretty standard when you are a musician, you build things like this into the schedule and you end up renting or borrowing equipment, but letís face it where, would I rent a guitar in Afghanistan? An hour later -- after many frantic phone calls -- I was ready to board the plane with a brand new Gibson guitar (as soon as people found I was going to play for the troops they did everything they could to help). I really thought I was mentally prepared from my trip three years ago, but things are completely different when you travel with a General. I equate it to a James Bond movie, everything is action packed, top secret, ridiculously efficient but with a beautiful hint of Newfoundland. Just as I was settling into my seat with my ipod and a good book , General Rick Hillier asked if I would like to fly in the cockpit for take off,. Honestly, I wanted no part of it, I like to close my eyes and say Hail Marys but when Rick Hillier asks you, to do something you just do it. Hours later I was up there again for the landing in Croatia where the mountains poked out through an unmoving sea of clouds, adrenalin had me hooked. Later on that day myself, Rick Mercer, Mary Walsh ( the best roommate a girl could ever have) and Max Keeping set out in a Sea King Helicopter to spend the night on the HMCS Ottawa somewhere in the Persian Gulf. The fact that SeaKings have quite a reputation for falling out of the sky in no way stopped me from dangling my legs out the open door as we did 90 degree turns with nothing but a harness holding us in. After a couple of hours of sleep, we headed out on the Hercules for Christmas Eve in Kandahar where people embraced us like a box of Purity Biscuits and Kraft Dinner. I just hope and pray that all of the incredible people I met will make it home safe and sound , so that they can be with their families next Christmas. The amount of sacrifices they make each and every minute on our behalf is astounding, not to mention the constant danger they are in so that the Afghani people can have a shot at regaining their nation. There arenít enough words in this column to begin to describe their dignity and pride- in fact that was the biggest adrenalin rush of all..

Sunday, December 17, 2006
The Express
To quote my sentimental friend Kim Stockwood " All I want is to get back home this Christmas" , ah that feeling of landing in St John's, how a short flight turns into the longest one of the year,with the lights from the harbor and Stavanger Drive marking our path. Walking down the isle with enough baggage to knock out everyone sitting in their seats, finding yourself stuck in the middle of two people who seem just as excited to get home as you are, then at the end of the flight realizing you must have accidentally hit the recline button and your seat has been back for the entire flight, the shame and then the smiling face of the person behind you, who couldn't care less cause they are going home this Christmas. I know how lucky I am to be here, it just makes my heart go out even more to those Newfoundlanders who can't be with their friends and families this season, whether they are fighting for us in Afghanistan or representing in Fort Mcmurray they are here with us in spirit as we are with them.Also to my friends who've lost family members this year, to my nanny who's recovering from a broken ankle and to my sister in law's father Wilbur whose strength is inspirational and miraculous. Funny thing is no matter how old I get Christmas traditions remain somewhat the same, every year my Dad buys the tree and my sister decorates it, in fact two years ago when she was travelling in New Zealand and didn't get to come home we found ourselves Christmas Eve with a bare tree standing in the livingroom, we just had no idea how to go about decorating it. Sure I'd seen it done before but I've also seen brain surgery on the Life Network, so yesterday as we got back from around the bay visiting my grandmother my Dad and sister simply dropped me off and they went to get the tree. There was no guilt trip or expectations- no digs at the baby sister who gets away with everything , oh why can't every day be like Christmas?

Monday, December 11, 2006
The Express
Thirty one seems to be a perfectly good time to start lying about your age, or at least planting the seed of doubt into peopleís mind.. ďHappy BirthdayĒ people said to me this past Saturday and I would put my hands in the air and say, I canít believe Iím twenty two already, how the time just flies by, then the laughter would hit, followed by guilt riddled silence to compensate for laughing so hard and so fast. Thing is, I wouldnít trade thirty one in for twenty two if they gave me a million dollars, but lying about your age is oddly exciting and liberating. Really birthdays are just an excuse to have a party, after saying I wasnít going to do anything this year, maybe have a few friends over , I found myself squeezed into a little corner in my kitchen with sixty other people singing Bon Jovi tunes ( kidding about that part). Where did all these people come from? I guess word gets around when thereís a Newfoundland Kitchen party in Toronto. I woke up Sunday morning feeling pretty good about things only to walk into my kitchen , which had been a glorious haven the night before, to witness serious mass destruction. I had no choice but to turn on my heel and go straight back to bed. That was yesterday morning and it still looks like a bomb hit my kitchen , I guess Iím not getting a head start on the whole procrastinating thing, but then New Yearís Resolutions work much better if you set goals for yourself instead of stopping things you like to do (or eat) so this year I am saying in print that I will learn to speak Spanish- I am going to start just as soon as I clean up my kitchen, though I have to finish my column before I do that and I have a writing session in an hour and a Christmas party tonight, so itís not looking good for a clean kitchen today. Maybe I could listen to my Spanish lessons on cd while I clean up. and kill two birds with one stone. Chances are Iíll still be having this conversation with myself in a couple of days, this is just who I am and at twenty two Iím a little too set in my ways to start changing now

Monday, December 4, 2006
The Express
Ask a child about Christmas and they will tell you that if they don't get the new Xbox they will simply die. I see people scurrying around for months before the holidays in a mad panic to buy the perfect gift. A perfect gift being something that person doesn't already have and at exactly the some monetary value as the one they will give you. As every year passes, the job gets more difficult and the list gets longer, with new girlfriends of brothers, and the parents of girlfriends of brothers and, of course, the uncle's father's cousin's new dog that absolutely needs the all white meat dog bone from the new health food pet store in the mall. Really when you've got yourself spun like that by the time Christmas comes you have one sip of rum and eggnog and you pass out for days. Iím in a hotel room in old Montreal watching the snow fall in front of a back drop of twinkling lights and it feels like Christmas, real Christmas -- before people ended up in jail while trying to buy Cabbage Patch kids and when stockings were filled with oranges and handmade decorations covered the trees. Christmas is a special time for me because with my siblings, sister in law and my nephews living in England, it's the only time we are all together. Last year we decided to stop the insanity of spending because there was nothing we could buy that could come close to the preciousness of each other's company. So Christmas day came and I received my most beloved gifts ever -- because the truth of the matter is you have to put more thought in a gift when it's not expensive -- (word is Paul McCartney and Heather Mills split because he sent an assistant to buy her mother's day gift). As I sit here writing I look down at my hand at the most beautiful ring I have ever seen and it's because last year instead of buying me something I didn't need my sister made me a silver ring with her own two hands. In all honesty, I have no clue what she got me for Christmas two years ago ( which probably cost her five times the amount of money) but every single time I look at my hand I think of the true spirit of Christmas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Express
Itís one of those days that you wish the alarm clock would never go off, you could stay in bed all day while someone brings you food and responds to your year long backlog of email. After hours of cleaning things that donít need to be cleaned, as piles of clothes sit untouched, you finally venture outdoors and itís that in-the-middle kind of grey, with just enough brightness to hurt your eyes so you put on a pair of sunglasses and end up walking into a fire hydrant, After the cursing and the throbbing pain subsides you realize how lucky you are to even be able to walk as you see someone across the street in a wheelchair, you take a deep breath and remember what a luxury good health is and resolve to consider yourself blessed for the rest of the day. In the last three years as John Allan Cameron battled Bone Marrow Cancer he lived with the resolve that he was blessed regardless of how much pain he was in. For most Canadians, John Allan felt like a member of their family as his tv show was beamed into their living rooms in a time when there was only three or four channels. Singing and playing fiddle tunes on his twelve string guitar, John Allan brought Celtic music to the rest of the world and blazed a path for all of us to follow. When John Allan walked into a room people paid attention, sure they had no choice, as the audience members at the Grand Ole Opry found out as he walked onstage in a kilt, to gasps of shock, played his set, received a standing ovation then slept outside under a tree because he didnít have the money for a hotel room (that wouldnít happen again for the next time he went to Nashville everyone knew his name). But to me he was a dear friend whose strength will always astound me. John Allan spent the last year of his life very ill in hospital and everyday he prayed not for himself but for his wife Angela and son Stuart and that they would be alright when it was his time to leave them. With so much love here and from up above I know they will be fine, they question is what about the rest of Canada?

Sunday, November 19, 2006
The Express
I am by nature a somewhat squeamish person, prone to nightmares after horror movie previews , an avoider of pre-made sandwiches and unidentifiable meats and extremely fragile when it comes to the combination of stray hairs and food. I do, however, love to dip my toes into the absurd world of youtube where a click of a button will transport you far away from your troubles as you watch the ď Grape LadyĒ fall over and over again -- as you curse your inner heart for laughing so hard at anotherís misfortune. The way you justify it to yourself is the slight chance that these people are actors and itís all been staged for your amusement, like the wildly wonderful Borat. I realize now after seeing The Borat movie, occasionally watching a five minute clip on the small screen of your computer does not in any way mentally prepare you for the two hour onslaught of hilarity but mostly the grossness of some of the scenes. I had my head in my hands for three quarters of this movie , praying it would end and hoping I wasnít seeing what I was actually seeing. I havenít felt like that since the beginning of this year with the premier of ďRabbittownĒ -- which I loved up until the moment Sherry Whiteís character got her hair butchered and I raised my hand to my head only to remember that Iíd allowed the same fate to befall me earlier in the day- as Christmas, birthdays and New Yearís resolutions begin to hover, please remember that drastic and sudden changes are only a good idea about 2% of the time, not odds you want to gamble with really. Odds you do want to gamble with are Newfoundlanders! Had a fantastic time last week playing a fundraiser for Allan Hawcoís Company Theatre in their bid to bring ďA Whistle In The Dark ď to St Johnís next year. Letís just say at the end of the evening Brian Byrne, Barry Canning, Alan Doyle, Rick Mercer, Seamus OíRegan, Allan Hawco, Rex Goudie and myself were roaming the streets of Toronto looking for the Duke. We struck out but we did find a nice hospitable pub that let us sing till the wee hours -- and letís just say that if you loved Rex Goudie before youíll love him even more when you hear him sing Johnny Cash

Monday, November 13, 2006
The Express
There is nothing like a backhanded compliment to set all your senses into action -- with my favourite being, ďwow you look younger or prettier ( less like my cousin Alfred) in personĒ.Is that supposed to mean I look like petrified wood in pictures? No one wants to hear that sigh of surprise when you walk on stage in something other then a touqe and moomoo. Iím not sure why but people get away with saying things to a performer that they would never say to a friend or family member for fear theyíd get their butt kicked. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why when I make music I do so with the expectation that no one will hear it and if they do they probably wonít like it. Actually thinking about it now I realize that might have more to do with my terrible clarinet playing in grade six, I guess the trauma will never leave my squeaky bones. Somewhat more gentle this week have been the ďinquiring ď letters about when the new Shaye record will be in stores and when I say inquiring I mean kinda angry. This is probably the only time when kinda angry is sweet and flattering because it means that people actually care about our record., a little bit like looking into the future and being completely shocked to see how many people show up to your funeral. Although itís all wrapped up and ready to go we are delaying the release of ďLake Of FireĒ to February the sixth to coincide with a four part documentary being filmed about the band which will air on Global in May. Now for you who went to the stores last week I apologize and give you three options, 1) You can buy the record on itunes today, 2) you can wait until February 3) you can buy Kim StockwoodĎs brand new fantastic Christmas record called ď I Love SantaĒ, some rum and eggnog or 4) buy three big Mary sandwiches from Mary Browns. Either way we thank you for your support, it pays for the plastic surgery and botox ( well not for all of it, itís expensive stuff ). Checking the success of reality tv ( sorry Canada I mean documentary filmmaking) we realized that in order for our show to be a hit there must be at least one complete swan like transformation. Kim , Tara and I are drawing straws as we speak to see who wins the tummy tuck and nose job combo- Iíve got my fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 5, 2006
THe Express - You can throw out the uniform...
You can throw out the uniform and leave school behind but if you were raised catholic there is one thing you canít get rid of and thatís guilt. You can have shouting matches with it or politely beg for it to go away but you are wasting your breath, especially when it comes to things you cannot change. Like last week when I was writing in Nashville and I turned on my computer and nothing happened, I could hear the engine revving but there was infinite darkness on the screen, I didnít drop it or douse it in water , it just up and disappointed the hell outta me. Like so many things in life you donít really know what youíve got until itís gone. I liked my computer alright, I didnít sleep with it at night or anything but I had no idea what an extension of myself it actually was. So I thought first things first, Iíve got to get this baby to a doctor, so I extended my typing arm like a phantom limb to google some repair stores. Fine then I thought Iíll just drive to a mall, thereís got to be a pc store there, again I reached out to type in Mapquest. I felt alone at sea, how do people live everyday without their computers. So I set off using my ď fantasticĒ sense of direction (or so I thought ) after driving two hours around Nashville I finally saw a sign for the Holy Grail- the Green Hills Mall, perfect I thought, I can get it fixed and have my column done by tonight, maybe if I had googled the mall I would have seen the memo. The memo that says all women over 17 in the south when shopping must first go to the beauty salon for three hours, dress like they were going to a formal and apply ten times too much perfume, seriously you would need a floor sander to cut through their make up. I lasted ten minutes and went out to my car stared at my computer , apologised and said I canít go back in there. So contrary to public opinion I wasnít in rehab last week when I missed my column I was beating myself up with guilt because before I stepped onto the plane back to Canada I wrote my column on a friendís mac via hotmail and instead of pressing the send button, I pressed delete. My question is , is there rehab for guilt and procrastination, because I am sitting on another plane a week later, with my computer up to my face trying to read these words as I type- I still havenít gotten my computer fixed, oh the guilt is almost too much to bear.

Sunday, October 22, 2006
Iíve got to make some serious money and fast...
Iíve got to make some serious money and fast, gone are the days of doing things for artistic reasons, Iíve got to change my entire perspective, Iím gonna have to do it for the money. First off Iíll have to change my job, everyone knows you canít be a musician for the money, thatís just laughable. Maybe I could start designing diamond necklaces for dogs , gold plated garden gnomes or a state of the art filter that will make tap water ďorganicď, Iíd pimp anything on the shopping network with a bad wig, five inch heels and a smile nailed to each cheek if I could only return to the Humber Valley Resort to rest my head. Traveling with my band Shaye on a little tiny plane from St Johnís to Deer Lake, with only a few hours sleep , a little baby and everyone sneezing and coughing , I have to admit there was some complaining about the distance from the theatre to our accommodations. Being on the road is the complete opposite of being on vacation where you spend hours seeking out the most beautiful, historic and relevant parts of a town. If you are lucky enough to have twenty minutes off, a bland hotel room, itís bed and maybe a remote is the only thing you want to see. So as we opened up the door to our Chalet on the Humber River I thought I died and went to heaven , the view, the fireplace, the hot tub, and most importantly the laundry! I canít even try to pretend Iím cool anymore, having laundry on the road was the single most exciting thing to happen to my life in weeks, the shows, the parties, free clothes have nothing on it, they had to drag us away to go to sound check. For most people itís a luxury to go out for dinner, but when you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out everyday for months, the biggest treat is some home cooking so we stopped into the grocery store for some supplies, you would think we were staying for a month the food we bought , it was like a pack of wild animals whoíd never seen fresh food before. Between the sweet people who came up to us to say they loved our new song or saw us on the news the night before and our ridiculous chalet ( Oprah owns one) we were feeling pretty good about ourselves, then just as life planned it we pulled up to the theatre and through the poring rain we read the sign welcoming the provinceís own ďShayneĒ.

Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Express
Whenever you are lacking inspiration in your life all you have to do is open your eyes a little bit more and for just a little longer, you can find it everywhere, or you can close your eyes and discover it in your memory. Last night as I was flying back from PEI with Tara and her two young kids I was again amazed at how women do it all and in stride. As we carted the two sleeping kiddies ( one of those kids is a large four and a half year old), the diaper bag, our computers, instruments -- not to mention the lip gloss -- off the plane I was reminded how a parentís job is never done. Settling into exhausted sleep myself I remembered being two years old and my mom taking the three of us kids to visit our family in Ireland with about five stopovers, it seemed seamless to me at the time, as it always was but now being on the other side I cannot imagine doing that by myself . Then last week at Kimís house, while she tended to her son who was sick to his stomach (lifeguard duty as she calls it) I had an image of being seven and having the stomach flu and my Dad running to carry me down the hall( it wasnít a pretty picture, so I wonĎt paint it). Itís quite unbelievable when you realize how much work and dedication our parents put into us that weíll never fully know - I guess love is the biggest reward. Then you look at someone like Elizabeth Grandbois who has raised over 2.2 million dollars for the fight against ALS as she herself struggles with the disease, you canít help but be inspired as she and her wheelchair goe across the country by train. We just played at her sold out show in PEI and we hope to see you in Corner Brook when her tour finishes this Saturday . Then yesterday I found out that my Nanny who babysat me as a child, ď learned me to drink teaĒ and always made me feel special, broke her leg. Itís never good getting a call on the road when it starts of with ď donít worry everyone is fineĒ because itĎs usually means the opposite, but, in this case, when someone can get through the tough times in life and still have a smile on their face -- like my grandmother -- it is fine, because youíre lending inspiration to the world.

Sunday, October 8, 2006
The Express - There are certain moments in life...
There are certain moments in life when it becomes clear not everyone has been given the same information and opening up the paper this Thanksgiving Sunday was one of those moments. While we were all face and eyes into turkey dinner, North Korea was testing a nuclear bomb. Now a nuclear bomb isnít like having a glass of wine a day, taking vitamins or eating fish while pregnant, there isnít a pro and con list , just a bleak, dark page -- and itís certainly not like burning the peas pudding , where you have to begrudgingly start from scratch -- it annihilates everything and anything in itís path. There are certain things, like scary movies, I choose not watch because they literally get inside my brain and keep me up at night, for weeks I have to check under the bed, in every closet and double lock the doors . One of the things that gave me nightmares as a little girl was the searing image of a child naked ,scarred and crying wandering the streets of Hiroshima alone after the bomb hit,. For a month I had to shove blankets in between the cracks of my bed and the wall and keep the overhead light on. I think as we grow older and learn that fears swept under the carpet donít go away, we hope to conquer them, so I jumped at the chance to visit Hiroshima when I was playing in Japan last year. I am not sure what I was expecting exactly but I was prepared for the worst of my nightmares, what I wasnít expecting to find was peace. Like in all of Japan, the first thing that strikes you is the warmth and beauty of the people. You donít have to speak a word of the language ( although it helps greatly when ordering food when your bandmate is seven months pregnant and really does not want a raw egg on top of all her meals) to know you are truly welcome. Like all of us, the Japanese are guilty of fighting guns with guns, swords with swords and words with words but they have the wisdom to know that there is no retaliation to nuclear warfare. I was blown away by Hiroshima, it is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world - once savaged by man but lovingly watered and nourished back to health. Instead of leaving there with a sense of despair, I miraculously left with an overwhelming feeling of hope and peace. Not sure what the North Korean military schedule is like, but I think they need a field trip-fast.

Sunday, October 1, 2006
The Express - There are two ways to look at life
There are two ways to look at life, I prefer looking at it half full but right now I can see nothing but a half empty glass. Many things can factor into oneís take on the day and fatigue is high on the low side of that list. The two other Shaye gals and I met in the lobby of our hotel at 6 AM to go and co-host Halifaxís morning radio show and start promoting our new record, everything was going smoothly (well as much as it can for 6:30 in the morning), a nice cup of hot tea, some Justin Timberlake, some good and bad jokes and then it was time to play ďbreak the bankĒ. Seemed like nice clean fun, random people calling in hoping for a chance to get on air and win some money. The premise of the game is to keep opening the ďvaultĒ door with the prize money increasing each time until you bow out and make a dash with the cash or the buzzer goes off and you lose everything . A lovely woman with two young kids was the second caller, after five rounds and $750 she decided to cut her loses, much to the relief of Kim, Tara and I who were holding our breath hoping for her sake we didnít here the dreaded sound of the buzzer. We cheered and congratulated her, $750 is a pretty good pay check for three minutes on the air! Then the torture began, they opened what would have been the next door had she continued - $800, to which we offered, ďcome on whatís fifty bucksĒ , then the next door at $920 at which point our words of encouragement started to fall a little short. The doors kept on opening; a thousand dollars, three thousand dollars , then twenty five thousand dollars! You could have cut the air in the control room like a knife, there was simply nothing to say as she politely said how upset her husband was going to be as one of her children cried in the background. Then it did the unthinkable, it went up to fifty thousand dollars, now instead of being happy with the $750 that appeared out of nowhere, this family will for the rest of their days be walking around, thinking and talking about how their whole lives would have been changed with that fifty thousand dollars, even though it never was. Youíd think this was a precautionary tale and it is. That, however, is not going to stop me from setting my alarm and calling that studio tomorrow morning till I get through- come on bank I dare you, I am not afraid ( well maybe a little).

Sunday, September 24, 2006
The Express - Complicated
Why is it the things designed to make our lives more convenient just end up making things way more complicated ? I remember a time when you could leave your house and walk down the street without a cell phone ringing or a blackberry chirping and now if you leave a message for somebody and you donít hear back from them within an hour you feel somewhat slighted. You know they saw your number, yes maybe they were busy and couldnít answer but why havenít they called you back yet? This is why I tell everyone who might have the occasion to call me, it is not a personal slight, I simply do not answer my phone. Call me anti-social if you will but if I am at home and somebody rings my doorbell I wonít answer unless I am expecting them, the same goes with the phone -- because the rare times I am at home, chances are I am busy doing something ( I wish I could say it was my dishes). I would much rather leave a message for someone then have them answer and hear a convoluted excuse as to why they canít talk to me. Just let me leave a message and call me back when you are not busy. Then there are text messages to add to the social burden, instant little snippets whose social code requires an immediate reply. I, for one, never mastered typing on a full size keyboard let alone 12 little buttons. Now there are a million ways to be physically disrupted on a beautiful sunny day, it seems all peace has been lost from communication -- not to mention the advent of myspace. Once it was an incredible way for people from all over the world to share music with each other and now it is just another excuse for the catholic guilt to seep into my bones. I started off with a shebang, complete and utter addiction, for weeks I let myself be sucked into the wormhole of the international music community. I had conversations with some of my favourite all time musicians like Mike Scott of the Waterboys and Jane Siberry -- who ended up designing my site. It was thrilling and an incredible rush , but now seven months later as I log into my account I am overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to keep up with it. What was I thinking? I can barely respond to my email let alone myspace! If you are surfing the web check me out at myspace.com/damhnaitdoyle and I swear Iíll get back to you -- though it just might take me a year!

Sunday, September 17, 2006
The Express - Homesick
There are more than a few things that trigger a tidal wave of homesickness in me, some good , some bad. Hearing the song ďFishermanís BluesĒ by The Waterboys, ordering fish and chips only to get halibut instead of cod, watching the new commercial for the Bonavista truck and wondering why in the world they didnít hire a Newfoundland actor ( Iíll give the guy a hundred bucks if I am wrong) and partridgeberry jam. Another one of those random things is having to pay four dollars and fifty cents for a teeny tiny bottle of water in an airport in Calgary, it floods back memories of clear clean water flowing from the taps, where as a child youíd let it run for hours waiting for it to get cold and the thought of a Brita was something out of a science fiction book . All I know is if my flight doesnít board soon I will spend enough money on water to feed and clothe a child in Indonesia for a month ( but no water mind you). We are beginning to do some shows and promo for the new Shaye record and as excited as I am itís been two years since I did the whole wake up , fly half way cross the country, go to sound check, shower, try to get something to eat that wonĎt kill me, get dressed, go to the gig, pack up and head right to the airport for the red eye back and all I can say is it is painful, truly painful. I remember as a child air travel was a luxury and something I counted down sleeps for, how can I get that back? Why is it that all the things that were so exciting to us as children become such a chore to us as adults? Ok now I am just getting a little off my rocker, itís the fatigue setting in and I donít see it letting up anytime in the near future. As soon as I get off the plane I head to the studio to begin a song writing camp for the new Canadian Idol which sadly is not a Newfoundlander (not everyone is that lucky) but another very talented singer from Quebec. Though when you look at the year Rex Goudie just had, who actually wins doesnít mean a thing, thereís room for all the homesick Newfoundlanders in the world (two million votes worth in fact).

Sunday, September 10, 2006
The Express - Superstition
Many of us are unaware of just how much superstition guides our days, the little things we subconsciously do and even more likely the things we donít do, I mean, who in their right mind would actually open up an umbrella indoors or willingly walk under a ladder? Crazy people thatís who , people who break mirrors just for the fun of it and smile when they see a single black crow on the side of the road. Luck is the dirtiest four letter word Iíve ever encountered , it scales the heights of Mount Everest and the depths of Death Valley, it takes you on a roller coaster that spits you out just when you feel comfortable, then it appears simply as an equation with many variables , a riddle to be solved as people obsess about how to hold on to their luck with the strangest things that couldnít possibly make a difference. Really if you are going to have lucky socks at least give yourself the lea way to wash them every once in a while. I gambled for the first time last winter after seeing a Jann Arden concert at the Niagara Falls Casino, instead of sitting, yawning and watching my friends I decided to put twenty dollars in a slot machine. Thing is I won 1200 dollars in 20 minutes and the rush was like a tidal wave. I felt so powerful ,a king among men, I swear people heard the bells going off and they gathered around just to see what was so different about me. What made me lucky and why had they been playing the same machines for ten hours , sinking more and more money in but afraid to walk away lest someone sit right down after them and win the big one? Itís a feeling I will never forget for the rest of my life and one that never I wish to taint, youíd think Iíd have taken Vegas by storm eager to relive that euphoric feeling, but no, I lost twenty seven bucks and called it a day. Every press of the button was dragging me away from my happy place, I could see my star fading, I guess itís like being an actor , you are only as good as your last film and you are only as good as your last win, so Iíve decided to quit while I am still on top, I think Iíll focus on something I have more control over like predicting the weather in Newfoundland.

Sunday, September 3, 2006
The Express - Labour Day..
Oh that Labour Day trick, making you totally forget about Monday as if it didnít exist at all. Banks are closed, the supermarkets have shut down, nothing to do at all but think about doing laundry, too bad you didnít buy detergent on the weekend! Then your mother asks you what you wrote your column about this week and you respond ď column, what column?Ē as it slowly sinks in that you completely forgot. Now it all makes sense, the everything happens for a reason angle that was looking sharp and menacing this morning as I looked out my window and saw the rain bucketing down on my long planned camping trip. I can picture myself now hours away from civilization waking in the middle of the night fearless of the bears but sweating from the by line ďdamhnait doyle was sick this week, her column will reappear next WednesdayĒ because nobody ever believes it and itís only a matter of time before the rumours start swirling around about diva like behaviour and rehab- although if there was a week long treatment program for addiction to Fishermanís Friends Iíd be there in a heartbeat. Iíve got to save it for something good , something really good and not a camping trip because, after thirty years, Iím still not quite sure I like camping .Itís gotta be on reserve like the five year old bag of peppermint candies Iíve stashed away in the back of my cupboard-- never anyoneís first choice but will do the trick when itís three in the morning and you havenít had wheat, dairy or sugar in a month( not for me obviously). Iíve got to save it for next weekend when I go to Las Vegas for a friendís fiftieth birthday, not that I could use it now, Iíve got to wait at least a couple of months till youíve forgotten about this column or maybe Iíll win a million dollars and pay someone to write my column for me as I am served breakfast in bed in the penthouse suite. However, that doesnít look all that promising because after thirty years Iím still not sure I like gambling either. Then again, the music business is the ultimate gamble and two minutes ago I heard the new Shaye song ďLake of FireĒ on the radio for the first time and Iíve got to say gambling is pretty enjoyable right now. Maybe Iíll put twenty bucks in a slot machine, maybe.

Sunday, August 20, 2006
The Express - End of Summer
I am not sure what happened but I swear summer just started a day or two ago and now dare I say it , itís almost gone, just hanging by a thread waving goodbye. Why do I always feel like a schoolchild going into September with that underlying nagging feeling that my life is about to get that much harder. Itís not that I spent my time swimming and lying out in the sun but I knew I could if I wanted to and that in itself is a luxury. I am, however, quite excited to get back into some kind of routine, one that involves exercise and excludes fish and chips. I felt the call of a walk up Signal Hill this weekend at the Woody Point Writerís Festival when I had to leave at intermission to change because my jeans were too tight. Bodies are like cars - when neglected, they simply rust and fall apart. I usually do hot yoga four or five times a week and now after a month away itís like Iíve run out of oil. Iím cold all the time, Iíve no energy and then out of the blue my jaw locks. Iíve always heard that little popping sound when Iíd eat , but Iíd just chew on the other side and not give it a second thought, until three weeks ago when I was at a friendís house innocently eating popcorn and then snap. At first I thought it was a pesky unpopped kernel but as I raised my hand with another fist of Tabasco soaked popcorn it just hit my chin and nose. My brain was commanding my mouth to open but to no avail. When I woke up the next morning I thought, ah well, itíll get better by itself, I donít have to sing for a couple of weeks, plenty of time. But as all things do, it got worse before it got better . Sure I should have been only eating soft foods, but how can you go to Italy and not eat, well everything thatís put in front of you . Then, of course, the weeks flew by and my gig was up. It was time for ď A Bulletin of DoylesĒ with Alan, his father Tom and authors John and Marjorie, and I could hardly talk, let alone sing. Just as you see a gas station the moment your car starts to sputter, I went for the high note and my jaw unlocked, so I am on my way up the hill now with shades of winter in the sky to pay my body back.

Sunday, August 13, 2006
The Express - AIDS Conference
I was about to send off my article yesterday -- talking about my adventures in Italy and about flying back with a bottle of red wine that I stupidly stuffed into my suitcase last minute because of the new flying restrictions -- but something in my gut told me to hold off . . . so here I am way past my deadline, glancing at the clock trying to somehow digest the last 24 hours. Last night I had the honour of attending the opening ceremonies of the International AIDS conference and to say I was blown away would be an understatement. To hear people so moved by their personal journeys in to the stronghold of the disease in Africa and Asia and how it moved them to profoundly change their lives made me realize how lucky they are, because they no longer have the choice to turn a blind eye. The truth is undeniable when babies are dying right at your feet, yet too many of us wait until we can actually see something before we believe it. The fact is a very small fraction of us will ever go to Africa and see the effects of the AIDS pandemic for ourselves. There are a million wonders in the world but the biggest one to me is the notion that as you walk down the street lost in thought the people you pass live a life as deep and complicated as your own - every human life matters exactly the same. I have always been so proud to be a Canadian - the people whoís favourite word is sorry, the flag that is recognized world wide as a symbol of goodwill and generosity and, of course, the poutine - but last night I was embarrassed and ashamed for us. AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, it is quite simply undeniable. I wish I could say the airport was fogged in and thatís why our Prime Minister was unable to attend, but the fact was, it was a long planned choice. We as Canadians canít say we didnít see what was happening in Africa , didnít hear, that we didnít know, because we do and every single day we as individuals, communities and as a nation donít help, we are deciding whose lives are worth something and whose arenít,. And that is simply not Canadian.

Sunday, August 6, 2006
The Express - Somedays I can't remember ....
Somedays I can't remember how to spell my own name but I could never forget the face of a kind stranger. One night backstage at a George Jones show I got to talking with one of his truck drivers who almost wept when I told him I was from Newfoundland. It seems last winter he rolled into town hauling George's gear and got a flat tire at one o'clock in the morning. Used to American highways he was shocked when a man showed up at all -- let alone in the middle of the night with his wife and child. Thinking a call like this would cost him an arm and a leg, he was actually confused when the man refused a dime and said he just wanted to help. Well I feel the same way about Orbetello , Italy. It's not exactly where you'd want your rental car to break down -- certainly not in a remote parking lot by the ocean in a country where the only part of the language you speak refers to food and wine. Thinking it was just the battery, I took out my phrasebook and asked the gentleman if he could recharge it but, sadly, it wasn't that easy. In a conversation of gestures I learned that not only was there no way to fix the car but he was under orders to tow it and leave us where we were, standing in the middle of a parking lot with a pile of suitcases and too many shoes. No sooner had we unpacked the car when he singlehandedly started putting everything back in - he just couldn't leave us stranded. So to the cab of the tow truck we went, not knowing where we were going but loving every minute of the adventure. We were off to the mechanic where he spent the next hour getting an English speaker on the phone. There were no rental cars available for 150 miles so our friend packed us up -- with the car still dragging behind -- and took us to the train station half an hour away. After pictures and goodbyes we settled in for a four hour wait for a train going nowhere near our accomodations, with no food except for half a chocolate bar - it was not a good time. Then, just before our train departed our friend reappeared -- out of nowhere -- with the mechanic driving our car! It dawned on me that I didn't even know his name and then I realized, it didn't matter, I knew his kindness.

Sunday, July 30, 2006
The Express - Pet Peeve
There are always two sides to every story , perspectives and interpretations which end up giving legitimacy to almost every action. With that in mind you can walk through life without being bothered by things that shouldnít take up any space, you can just shrug things off . But every once in a while people do things that you canít really explain. Throughout the years I have pretty much whittled it down to just one pet peeve, though Iíve realized it has taken on the velocity of twenty , because when it happens my blood boils, I can hardly breathe and if I could somehow leave through the back door of a moving plane I would in a heartbeat. When perfectly nice people get on planes and as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off they jam their seats back right into the face of the person behind them with no care or thought. These planes were designed before the decline of the airline industry and before they added all those extra rows, leaving customers with barely enough room to jam their knees in. So, here I am sitting on a plane with my lap top jammed into my gut (the screen one quarter open and invisible to me), and a tv inches from my face. Iím using most of my mental energy to will the woman in front of me to adjust her seat -- even an millimetre -- and using the rest trying not to pull a David Hasselhoff. I am not generally a claustrophobic person but right now I feel as if I was in a sealed sardine can. Compared to this, hanging out in the bathroom would be like being in the Prairies . I am trying to see it from her point if view but I canít find it. I am just staring at the little plane on the screen as it makes itís way across the country, counting the minutes. Funny thing is, this woman has actually helped me make a positive move in my life- away from procrastination because this is the first time I have ever finished a column before three am Monday morning, so for that I thank her. Just remember not to jam back your seat on a flight, especially not if they have children and definitely not if they have a laptop -- because they could be writing an article about you.

Sunday, July 23, 2006
The Express - I grew up sharing a room ...
I grew up sharing a room with my sister and some nights I would be up until six in the morning finishing a book with a flashlight underneath the covers so I wouldn't wake her. Reading gives me energy and ideas and always leaves me with more then what I started with. TV does the opposite, if there is one on in the room it's impossible for me to pry my eyes away from it, Mr Dressup could walk into the room wearing a Madonna cone bra and I wouldn't be able to look up. So one day about five years ago I realized that if I was ever going to write another song I had to give it up, a cold turkey diet for the brain.The first month without cable was a rebirth of sorts, a new world where you actually respond when spoken to and participate instead of observe. After the initial shock wore off it honestly felt like someone had lifted a heavy blanket off of my mind, but like all things in life there are exceptions and now when I go into a hotel room the first thing I do is turn on the TV and find some good ole reality programming. Reality shows are like car crash TV, it is being somewhere you absolutely shouldn't be , hearing footsteps and hiding in the closet while being forced to overhear private conversations, you have no choice, it's ridiculously uncomfortable, yet you can't leave. What is it about people sharing things about themselves they wouldn't tell their best friends that is so compelling and why in the world did Kim, Tara and I agree to let a documentary crew film a behind the scenes look of our band Shaye? I guess it's because we think we're funny, we might be wrong but we believe it. I can't tell you how many times the three of us have looked at each other and said " If we only had a camera here" and now that the cameras are in the room, it's terrifying. I thought I was a pretty exciting person until I had five people in my kitchen filming me making tea, I think we'll be ok though, we had a test taste before filming and we can all tell the difference between tuna and chicken. Most of all though we love each other and if you are going to watch TV, that's a good thing to see.

Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Express - Glow of Youth
There are times when you just need to unplug, literally unplug the phone, the modem, let the batteries run down on your cell and computer and not answer the door. This week after two and a half years of sweat and tears we finally finished the new Shaye record and for the first time since high school it actually felt like it was summer. I was free of that lurking nagging feeling you get when you are lying in the sun , that not only is it dangerous to your health but you should be doing fifteen different things and relaxing is not one of them. Well I went out on a limb and used only 15 spf sun block hoping to recapture the glow of my youth and after two days of burning, lounging and not answering my phone I realized that now a days I actually get my glow from working and I missed it . Besides leisure is lonely and isolating, everybody I know works for a living and no matter how hard you try you just canít play a good game of tennis by yourself. Things change as you get older, you want to leave a mark in the world no matter how big or small and time is measured in diminishing amounts , each grain that slips by becomes more valuable and precious. The key is enjoying your life everyday as you toil away, little things like fudge sticks , handwritten letters and hopping on your bike and going absolutely nowhere. If this doesnít do the trick and you really want to feel like a kid again just listen to your mother when she warily tells you that in last weekís article you said people immigrated from Europe when in fact they emigrated, it was like The Kiwanis music festival all over again. People would kill themselves practising all year round while I would start just a day or two before (some crazy notion I harbour to this day that procrastination gives me an edge, case in point itĎs three in the morning as I write this ), my mother would sit towards the back of the room with her fingers crossed hoping against hope I wouldnít forget the words. Itís quite nice to know that in this big world where you are accountable only to yourself , you still have to answer to your mother.

Sunday, July 9, 2006
The Express - Even Though...
Even though I donít have a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job , Sunday always feels like it should be a day of rest. A day filled with lazy laundry, coffee to go and disney movies at 6. Sundays should be eased into with tender loving care not broken into with the sound of low flying planes buzzing your neighbourhood. You know the drill, lying there half asleep asking ď Am I awake or am I still dreamingĒ, I lay there for a good minute until the shaking of the walls answered my question. Again a plane overhead, I opened my window to see the Snowbirds ( after seeing footage of random air show crashes this is not a welcome sight), only to have my head turn towards the sharp buzzing of what was either a huge bee in my ear or the Molson Grand Prix. Oh yeah that ole thing, I actually feel bad for the Grand Prix this year because the only thing anybody in the city of Toronto cares about is the World Cup, and when I say anybody, I mean everybody . One of the amazing things about Toronto is the richness and depth of itís neighbourhoods , people who immigrated from Europe in the 60ís are still living in the same houses they bought when they arrived , with their families just a few doors away. People have fiercely retained their language, their culture and most importantly their pride. Pride in an individual is often quiet and reserved, but in a group pride is loud, especially when you live right in the middle of Little Portugal and Little Italy. I never had to ask who won a game all month, Iíd hear about it as soon as I walked out my door, todayís final match however took on a bit more of a serious tone. Looking at the faces of the people piled into the street , standing on their tiptoes crying I realized this was not a game, it was life or death situation for these people , not only the Italian community but all of Toronto ( save the French of course). Truth is, the majority of these people never watched soccor before this month and it made me realize at the end of the day itís not the sport we crave, itís the camaraderie, that blissful feeling of being a part of a community and a team that we truly desire.

Sunday, July 2, 2006
The Express - IPOD
I think people are born with or without a savvy for technology and no matter how many times you read the instructions to something, itĎs just not going to work. My family is 50/50, half of them are computer wizards and the rest of us, well letís just say trying to tape something on the VCR is a little like watching William Hung sing on American Idol. Truthfully I would rather be weaving baskets with the Mennonites then doing online banking or answering my cell phone, that is until I got my IPOD. Never before has a machine rocked my world so hard. When it came into my life everything changed, all mundane tasks were transformed into moments of majesty, taking out the trash, doing laundry, anything and everything was a perfect excuse to listen to my IPOD. Going to the gym and getting on the dreaded cardio machines became a pilgrimage - the longer the better, an hour feels like five minutes when you can literally listen to any record you have ever owned with the click of a button. I spent days importing stacks of cds into my computer, things I have worn out and wonderful treasures buried at the bottom of my bookshelf Iíd forgotten about. And when I discovered the shuffle feature I thought Iíd died and gone to music heaven, oh the beauty of never knowing what song is going to come next. But as the universe is wont to do the shuffle started to play little tricks on me. Out of the seven thousand songs I had stored on my IPOD it started playing really horrible demos of my songs -- songs I thought Iíd erased off my hard drive -- followed by some brilliant Billie Holiday piece. Then one day I had it in my purse with a bottle of water which leaked ever so slightly and turned the screen into a losing game of Tetris. I vowed not to buy another one citing bad consumer polices, really should a little drop of water be able to destroy a $400 IPOD? I lasted three weeks without it, three long weeks where I didnít go to the gym, or do my laundry and the only long walks I took were ones lamenting my loss. Now Iíve got a beautiful shiny new black IPOD and the only thing I have to do is get it to stop playing the Beatles every two songs, Paulís voice just donít sound the same to me anymore.

Sunday, June 18, 2006
The Express - Some people are born performers
Some people are born performers, thriving from the rush of a live audience with the heat of the spotlight warming their souls, while others have to fight off the nausea and pray it'll all be over soon. There have been many times over the last twelve years I have waited in the wings and wondered why nobody warned me this feeling of horror would actually never go away, the same way you wonder why in the world they don't teach you how to buy a house or car or do your taxes in high school. So this winter as I stepped up the walk to Stompin Tom Connors house for his birthday party I felt an overwhelming urge to run for the hills. I'd heard about the huge room in the back of his house replicating a PEI legion with it's horseshoe shaped fully stocked bar, regulation pool table and full size stage , but mostly I heard about Tom and his knack for calling a spade a spade. My gut instinct was to hide in the corner of the room , quietly sneaking bites from the cheese tray, until I was called to meet Tom myself "do I have to, he looks busy" I asked under my breath, but no, the man wanted me to sing and it was his birthday. So as I stood silently before him he said to me, " Nobody else here knows this, but you're shy aren't you" almost as if he was sharing a secret about himself, for a zen like moment I thought I was off the hook but no, he still made me go up there and sing..So when the opportunity to write this column came about I thought what a great anonymous but creatively fulfilling thing to do. That was until my three year old nephew said "there's auntie rooroo on the back of the bus", I thought he was joking, then we turned up my street and got stuck behind a metrobus with my picture smack dab in front of us. Then the paranoia sank in, I hope no one sees me and thinks I am following the bus around staring at my own picture and then the self doubt, what do I have to write about that is the least bit interesting or relevant. Then of course came the ultimate fear, how long till someone draws a moustache on me?

Sunday, June 11, 2006
The Express - Seven o'clock...
Seven oíclock Monday morning as my alarm was caught between two channels and started screeching like a wounded bird, I flung my left arm over to my bed side table praying for it to stop, but my arm didnít move. I lay there for a minute wondering if I was still dreaming , but no, I could wiggle my fingers and toes and really thereís no way to sleep through a cross between Abba and Raffi, the jig was up. Just like you canít hold your breath for nine minutes, you canít avoid the stomach flu when everyone you know has it . So with a knockout combination of a scorching fever and a throat mined with razor blades, I picked up my guitar, scrawled down some directions , wished I had a job I could call in sick for and headed out the door .You never know where you might see the ladies of Shaye pop up, frankly neither do I somedays and this last week was no exception. After spending so many years as a solo artist I have always loved being on top of every little touring and business detail, so it was a few years before I realized I would go insane if I tried to keep up with the schedules and lives of three such completely different women and I should go with the flow and enjoy the adventure. Still I had to double check I wasnít hallucinating standing side stage at our gig as Tony Blairís barrister wife Cherie Booth cooed over Taraís baby Stella while her bodyguards eyed us for weapons when they should have been checking me for germ warfare. Or when we walked off stage to see Suzanne Sommers preparing to go on but crying because she enjoyed our performance so much ( and who said she couldnít act). There is something about the unknown that is always very exciting but it will never be as appealing for me as the tried and the true. I am thrilled to be coming home to Newfoundland to host a fundraiser for the Holy Heart Of Mary Auditorium next week. Some of my favorite memories and performance highlights have transpired on that stage - I wouldnít be a working artist if it wasnít for the I spent time there in theatre arts and choir and the incredible teachers I had. Plus, it was the last time I got to call in sick.

Saturday, May 13, 2006
The Express - Over the years...
Over the years as my friends have begun to settle down , get married, buy houses and have children, I have been watching from the sidelines, observing in awe and bewilderment. The amount of self sacrifice and love required for parenting is equal to nothing else on the earth, (except for maybe renovating the kitchen and bathroom of a house when youíre still living in it) and I must admit at times I canít help but feel a little selfish. I have to fight off the urge to lie when Kim calls me at twelve on a Sunday afternoon after sheís already been up with her two kids for six hours and asks me what I am doing, when Iím lying in bed reading a book . Or when Tara explains in detail her recent and very long home labour as I scrunch my face in pain and mutter ďnot even an AdvilĒ. All this time I have been squeezing every last drop out of being an independent and dependent less person, free to go wherever I want, with whomever I want and whenever I want. Thing is itís Saturday night at 11:30 and I am at home cleaning my apartment, writing my column, paying bills online and I could not be happier. What happened to me? What happened to the stay up till the sun floods through the windows person, the sing all night till Iíve got no voice left person? The most rockin party Iíve been to in weeks was a three year olds bowling birthday bonanza . Seriously though, whatís more thrilling then double chocolate cake and a loot bag? It was like the JUNOís all over again except dropping a bowling ball on my foot was a lot less painful then having to sit through two hours of Pamela Anderson. Now itís Sunday afternoon and I am eyeing piles of laundry like new shoes, who knew it could hold such charm. Iíve seen this happen to friends I just never thought it could happen to me. Maybe itís because my work seems so much like play these days, I donít need the added excitement. Tomorrow we go into the studio to finish the new Shaye record and I canít wait to get back to work with my sisters, I just donít want to disappoint them. See they love hearing about my crazy adventures and I donít have any! I think I might have to give in, put on my party shoes and go out tonight, but only for them of course!

Friday, May 5, 2006
The Express - Change
Change is inevitable, humankind will evolve and upend until there is nothing left to discover. Right now the music industry is undergoing a change akin to the industrial revolution with endless benefits and boundless drawbacks. Tensions reached a fevered pitch this week when a coalition of Canadian artists joined forces to denounce the actions of lawmakers and record labels who they feel are unfairly representing them by threatening to sue people (mostly young kids) who illegally download their music. Question is how can you punish people when they donĎt know they are committing a crime? Twenty years ago kids made mixed tapes , then they burned cdís and now they are taking them from the internet. Most teenagers today have always had a computer in their homes, and have never known a world where you canít just go press a button and get your favourite record for free. The problem is that most people donít realize they are stealing , itís not as if they are going to the mall and stuffing a bunch of cdís under their shirts , but the effect is the same. If you donít water a plant it will die and the same goes for musicians . If you donít support artists especially local ones, how do they eat and pay their rent ? Let alone fund their next cd, the one you are dying for because you loved the last one you downloaded so much. It should be up to the artists to decide if they want to give away their music in exchange for an increased fan base. Things are never going to be like they were fifteen years ago when a gold record was commonplace , not to mention big hair and gold lame hotpants -- and that was just the men! We couldnít deny the steam engine and we canít deny the power of the internet for instantly exposing bands from Avondale or Torbay to the rest of the world with the click of a mouse . Maybe itís a situation where the internet service providers act essentially like cable tv , charging a straight fee to download music. Who knows what will happen, but until the issue is resolved when you want the new Joel Plaskett cd , step away from your computer, take a walk downtown and go into Fredís and buy it - it feels good

Friday, April 28, 2006
The Express - Our Peacekeepers
The single most incredible experience I have ever had was playing for Canadian peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan in December 2003. I remember being on tour in Labrador when I got the call from Tom Cochrane asking if I would be interested in going to Kabul to film a Christmas special with Rick Mercer, without hesitation my response was ďyes Iíd love toď. As the departure date grew near, as the airline tickets were purchased and my arm was riddled with vaccination marks, the fear seeped in. What in the world was I thinking, was I crazy? I was assured we would be safe and that the utmost precautions would be taken and true to their word the military protected us like a nest of newly hatched eggs cradled in a convoy of tanks . The level of self sacrifice and dedication the men and women in the military regularly employ is astounding , I just wonder why I had to travel all the way to Kabul to find out about it. Not only did I leave with a deep respect for our soldiers I also left feeling that the playing field should be level. If I wasnít prepared to go there then the last thing I would want to do is send someone on my behalf. My friend Kevin Fox made that trip with me and left feeling the same way, so it was no surprise when he told me he was going back to play for the troops next week. However the stakes are quite a bit higher now as Kandahar is considered a ďHot ZoneĒ, anything could happen at any time without warning or prior intelligence. The Taliban have come down from the mountains with the ultimate weapon of war in their back pocket -a group of people intent on giving their lives in exchange for martyrdom. This is where we have sent our brothers and sisters to wait for the unknown and they should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are in our thoughts and prayers and not just when the headlines tell us weíve lost another one. Our peacekeepers should be recognized as being as important if not more then any politician or VIP in this country. When a soldier is killed we lose a part of ourselves, the very least we can do is lower the Canadian flag and be allowed to welcome them home.

Monday, April 24, 2006
The Express - No matter what you do...
No matter what you do in this life, whether you work in a grocery store or run the country, every job has its ups and downs- its all relative to your environment. Each day you ride a wave and barring unforeseen circumstances the crest of that wave is generally uniform. When you surf the same waters day in and day out , it is so easy to forget to appreciate the view. The clear blue sky above your head, the warmth of the sun against your skin, the support underneath your feet becomes a given and sometimes you can take it for granted, until you see it from another wavelength. This week I had the privilege of being a mentor to young student songwriters between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. We holed up just outside of Toronto at Metalworks, one of the countries finest recording studios in groups of 4 writing and recording a song a day. Iíve been in and out of this studio for twelve years , so when I arrived that first morning I didnít realize I would be seeing it as a magical, musical emporium. They were literally kids in a candy store, over the moon about just being there and getting a week off school didnít hurt the excitement level either. This was my introduction to SASS, a national organization championing young writers and to say I was blown away would be an understatement, I only wish there was something like this when I was seventeen as I set off all alone to Toronto to make my first record. I could have used some of the confidence and self possessed individuality these kids have and believe me when I say I will never forget the look of pure fear on my fatherís face the evening he dropped me off at the airport . Iím lucky to be here thirteen years later with the gift of seeing my life through the eyes of a teenager. As somebody who thrives on constant challenge and change , I often donít stop long enough to see how good Iíve got it and the reality is most of us let the little things obscure our view. However as I sat on the floor of the vocal booth coaching thirteen year old Sarah sing a song we co-wrote, I saw that wonder and excitement in her eyes, and all of the little things fell away.

Thursday, December 9, 2004
Damhnait's Tour Diary
I am an hour and a half into my 29th birthday and surprisingly I am smiling and peaceful. It's not that I find growing older depressing, on the contrary I find women get better with age, like good wine or that chocolate in the back of the cupboard you've forgotten about. So when I take the time to really look in the mirror, I find I actually like the things about myself we as women spend so much time trying to cover up. I like the lines on my face, the spots from the sun on my arms, the weary glint behind my eyes and I love my freckles... Those physical marks serve as a reminder of the best moments of my life. Of sunning myself on the top of a caravan in Dubai exactly one year ago on my way to Afghanistan, of braving my face to the storming heavens while walking through the gardens of a beautiful shrine in Tokyo with wonderful friends new and old, only to find a break in the Typhoon scarred sky and of drinking one too many mojitos exactly where Ernest Hemingway did in Havana. Maybe in a couple of years I'll let my hair go grey, but not just yet. I've got Spanish to learn, pottery to perfect and a couple of albums to write....oh and I need to buy a new bike, the damn thing got stolen ...I loved that bike, but to be honest I am quite flattered someone thought it was worth stealing.....Musta been the Kathleen Edwards sticker...dav

Monday, October 4, 2004
Damhnait's Road Tour
Fall is here, surrounding me like a big duvet, squirrels have invaded the crawl space above my apartment and I am eating more than enough to give me that extra layer against the cold...Earl grey tea and Nag Champa were created for days like this, to give the oncoming winter some romantic appeal. Easing in the change of season is the new Sarah Slean record which has been squatting in my cd player since Thursday last, perfect music for the day..I only wonder how long I will be able to ride my bike until the snow falls.. My $15 beat up flea market find is the source of my greatest joy...To appreciate such a basic thing for the first time in adulthood is like entering the wardrobe in Narnia..A whole new universe opens itself to you as it has been lying in wait for your age of discovery. Growing up in St. John's, bikes appeared to me only as devilish devices designed to unnaturally bulk up your quads for all the hills. As a child I didn't touch the stuff at all. When I first moved to Toronto I went and did the grownup thing and bought an expensive shiny forest green bicycle that sat challenging me daily and it scared the hell out of me, naturally. One day after years of neglect I decided to set the bike free and left it leaning up against my building unlocked. Three months it sat there taunting me..This in a neighborhood where bikes were stolen from underneath the bums of babies and sleeping grandmothers, perhaps it was thought to be a sting...I know for certain no one will steal my new bike, but for other reasons entirely.. I had a great summer, great music, great people and sunshine..At a certain point as a woman you have to ignore advice about never showing your face to the sun... Personally I would rather see Madonna's face a little wrinkled then the waxed pallour look she's sporting these days-A happy face needs a little sun. Speaking of happy faces, we had a great time with Nelly Furtado this summer. What a wonderful person, performer with a great band and a great crew... I watched every single show side stage and loved every minute of it, spectacular.. Shaye is off to Halifax this weekend to play with Symphony Nova Scotia and hope to see you there. In the meantime I am trying to learn some Japanese before my trip to Tokyo in a couple of weeks. Myself and Gordie Sampson are heading there to promote our latest solo records and hopefully write a couple of songs on the plane... Actually I am going for the food... Peace and Joy, Damhnait

Friday, May 28, 2004
Damhnait's Road Tour Diary
Just finished a great acoustic rehearsal with the Shaye band in my livingroom, the sun is shining and it's the weekend. What could be better then that I ask. We have a very busy summer lined up and for that I am excited. Opening for Dido in Toronto June 8th and 9th, Jann Arden the end of June and Nelly Furtado in July. That's some serious female talent from around the globe. I just want to soak it in, close my eyes and listen to three of my favorite artists sing, White Flag, Unloved and the glorious Try...Good Lord, Nelly's vocal on that song is one of the best I have ever heard... Just got back from Florida shooting a CBC Colin Mochrie special- what a kind and generous guy.. We shot in the Universal/MGM lot on the New York City Street set, Kim playing a grand piano and our band sneaking smokes in between takes while saving their instruments from the spray of night rain (ok, a hose to make the streets look radiant-oh the movies). Returned happy with some freckles and too many shoes (at a certain point one should seek treatment), my bandmates and manager pointed out that they have set a date for my intervention and it's in the fall, so even if I can't pay my rent, I can buy shoes safely until then! As you can tell by my lyrics, I often don't write when I am happy for I am too busy being happy to write, but things are good and that's quite nice to say out loud...Most exciting - "Davnet" is being released in Japan in July by a fantastic company and I plan to visit there in September...I cannot wait to experience firsthand this beautiful culture... Check the site for tour updates, new shows are popping up all of the time and I'd love to see you there! Peace and Joy, dav

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
A few words to get the ball rolling again.
So much has happened in these last few months that I have actually had a webdiary mental block. Afghanistan (simply the best experience of my life), meeting my new nephew at Christmas, the ECMA's, CMW, that I don't know where to start...

So it will come in drips and drabs these next few entries. For now some words for Cpl Jamie Murphy from Newfoundland...

a man walks alone
his feet crunch the hard sand like snow
the only noise for miles
for the sharp slap of pre dawn air like a movie you saw about the war, but colder
so cold, you don't believe it even when you're there
in shorts and shoes you walk to the shower
guided only by memory and a north west star
two months to go, then Christmas, just nine more days
counting backwards on fingers and toes
it's going to be over soon
no chance you're not going home
those thoughts are long gone now
not like the first week
when you would cry into your pillow and think
but I'm just a boy

To be a man making peace in wartime
To walk in those shoes
To ride in that jeep
To die not only for your country, but the whole world
To be a man making peace in wartime

Wednesday, December 3, 2003
I just might be the oddest person I know, a walking dichotomy. In the past year I have done nothing but perform for people-full on, but when it comes down to it-I am painfully shy and reluctant. I love to jump on artists websites, read their journals and indulge in the tiny details of their day, but I am so hesitant to do the same. I realise it's been months since I have written, yet I have enjoyed the most fascinating months of my life with lots of wonderful things to share. I guess it's another quirk I get to lump in there with not liking sand in my toes, not liking raisins and never taking pictures....Good thing about being in a band-observing traits of the girls in your band and damn stealing them..I guess that's why I bought a disposable camera last night at Shoppers and took inane pics of Tara and Kimmy driving to a Walmart convention at 6 this morning.I mean what else are you going to do-except years later look back and go wow that was fun, glad I have a snap...

I can't remember the last time I heard a song once and had to have it, but today I saw a video for "The Darkness". This dude is an 80's version of Freddie Mercury-my jaw is still on the floor it rocked so much..Then I saw my friend Danny Michel smoke on Bullard-wonderful music-thanks to brown camaros.. Our next Shaye single is a cover of the Crash Vegas' immaculate "On and On" .. I remember when I first moved to TO almost ten years ago and my girlfriends came to visit me on McCaul St and we played that song over and over and over.... Fun to be able to play my favourite songs. Another good thing about this band is going back to the belief I had when I was 17, that I can do whatever the hell I want. We had a fantastic tour on the East Coast, unbelievable houses and ridiculous responses ... it's fun being in a band that gets standing ovations every night-very satisfying to share that with your best friends. Those of you who have seen the band knows how stellar our musicians are.....Our wonderful MD Kevin Fox ( Or Herbie The Love Bug I like to call him), Pete Fusco (the most incredible dancer on the tour-Picco Piquant), Stuart Cameron (my coffee making East Coast by way of Markham fave neighbour) and Blakey Manning (this is a drummer not afraid to let me cut his hair while drinking Black Horse at the Hill O' Chips Hotel-not a wise decision probably, but a loving one). You've seen them dance-next tour they'll get down to their sciviies...

Kim and I got home to NFL, Tara to PEI and then all to our home away from home - Cape Breton..We love the people there and we want to thank them for being so welcoming to us at such a hard time. Cape Breton lost a noble and mystical man by the name of Carlo Spinazzola, so pure of heart that everyone who was fortunate enough to meet his path will mourn his loss now and then rejoice in his memory forever...Godspeed to his family, friends and to Tina...

Maybe I have been reluctant to write because there has been such sadness in the last year and a half, losing so many young people, so fast. We will miss Steve Hoffman because he was such an individual. Kim, Tara and I Loved Steve and we want to thank his family for allowing us the privilege of saying goodbye.

I pledge to write more, especially as I prepare to expand my journeys to Afghanistan. I leave Sunday, Dec 7th for Kabul with Rick Mercer, Tom Cochrane, Kevin Fox and a killer CBC crew. I will spend my 28th birthday in Dubai, what a thought.... I believe I will have little sleep before then, for as my departure draws near my dreams become increasingly frantic and erratic - nothing a little jet lag won't cure. Off to sing about Christmas to those who won't see their families for miles, won't kiss under the mistletoe and won't have the luxury of a post turkey nap.... I just want to get home safe to meet my little nephew Devlin Hyde Doyle - what a name!

Much love and thanks to you for reading


Saturday, September 6, 2003
Snuck into the Film Festival's Smoozefest last night by way of the red carpet-I guess no one thinks you are on a covert op when you're coming in the front door! I have been going to music parties for ten years and I used to love the excitement, the rush of meeting new people-but I'm like an alleycat now (thanks Tote), there' s no one left to meet. So, it was fun to go last night and be mineral-free (jade I mean). On my way into the building, a really young, sweet, homeless man asked me what was happening inside and said he supposed that was where all the important people were. I looked at him and said absolutely not, it's the other way around. Of course, at that time I didn't know NEIL YOUNG was going to be there. I worship Neil Young, I admire his creative vision, his ability to blur the lines between artistic mediums and his devotion to his family. On my way to the bar (for friends of course) Neil and his wife Pegi passed in front of me and I felt the urge to yell "Keep on Rockin in The Free World". Thankfully I didn't, but hell it would have made a good story...Might need to rethink the ending.

Going to a meeting tonight with the girls and our video director (the brilliant Sean Turell). Things are getting very exciting with the Shaye record. People are just staring to hear it now and they are loving it. There were quite a few people there last night who have heard the single on the radio and loved it!!!!! We have our first gig this week (a private show), a photo shoot and video the next and then I believe we are off to the races...... peace and joy,


Thursday, August 28, 2003
Thanks to all the people who came out for my first in-store. Hard to believe I have been doing this for 8 years and have never done one before... Ah, the concrete floor on my bare feet, the florescent lights in my over-caffinated eyes and BOOKS - millions of them!!" The staff were a treat, so kind and talented (writers, actors, etcetc..) One even tried to "steal" me a gorgeous pic of Micheal Ondaatje (my fave) from the cafe - it was fruitless but I did get a great cappuccino.

I met some genuinely lovely people today and I thank you for your kind words and commitment to music - hope to see you at the Eaton Centre tomorrow!

Oh and heads up for Shaye's first single "Happy Baby" which is being added to Radio stations everyday...

big love, dav

Thursday, August 21, 2003
It's been so long since I have written and so much has happened - I don't know where to begin. Funny that I have such an aversion to computers and the changing ways of the world while my brother, sister and father are computer freaks (I guess I take after my mother in that regard). It's a little like going to the gym (diary entries that is) ó hard as hell to get there but when you do, you never want to stop.....

I have been on the road all summer ó why then on the only days off I have in TO are there jackhammers RIGHT outside my window????? Now, I am not much of a morning person, I am up most nights until 3 or 4 reading so I recoil at the prospect of jackhammers at 7:37 am....To keep me company while the sound of the jackhammer becomes a pulsing, rhythmic soundbite that carries me back to sleep I have made close friends of Neil Young, Steve Earle and Johnny Cash in just a few weeks. Ah the thrill of the Rock and Roll biography-stories so rich and implausible they'd be considered over the top for daytime TV. The most thorough of the books was Neil Young's Shakey - the writing is stunning and effective. I went and bought 4 of his records the day I finished and now feel a childlike connection to his music. My dad bought me the Steve Earle book, he became a fan after I toured Canada with Steve in 1996. I remember the first show opening for Steve and Corey Tetford from Crush ( he was playing guitar and singing Bg's) and I were standing sidestage when he started to sing the song Goodbye which I knew from Emmylou Harris's brilliant Wrecking Ball album. When I realised he had written that song I settled in for two weeks worth of disguised awe. As the book confirmed I figured he wouldn't have dug someone walking around telling him how good he was as he had just a year previously cleaned up his act and got sober. Steve has gone on to do so much for raising awareness surrounding the archaic practice of capital punishment his music is just his jumping off point ... I finished Cash just half an hour ago and realised it's time for me to start writing again and maybe slack off a little on the reading, although I have another Carol Shields book that has my name on it. Coincidentally I picked up my first Carol book (Larry's Party) the evening before she died and readily moved on to her latest novel Unless which refers to the lack of acknowledgement women writers receive when others writers (men and women) cite their influences. My heart was warmed in Johnny Cash's book when he twice refers to his love of Edna St. Vincent de Millay .... and of course his love of his wife - a beautiful passage.....

highlights from my book in progress....

We played Massey Hall, Kevin Fox and myself opening for Tom Cochrane May 10th...Wanted to write after that show but found myself confronted with stablishing new goals. It has always been a dream to play Massey Hall and it was better then I had hoped by miles!!!! I actually think it was the best time I have ever had on stage and I must admit it's hard to keep going when for a moment you believe the best is behind you!! Finished the trio record during time off in June and July. We are now proudly called Shaye - in a living tribute to Tara's sister who was killed in a car accident last May. We love the record and are becoming more of a family every day in preparation for the ride we are boarding...The record comes out in October and we start a Newfoundland and Labrador theatre tour shortly there after....

Finished a new video for Traffic last week again with Benji who brilliantly directed Another California Song. The video is simple and sweet and enhances the song nicely...I have been having a difficult time catching up on my e-mails and phone calls because I have been so busy and I don't really see an end in site..Just returned from Jasper on the weekend - my Lord it was so beautiful. Driving in was like a scene from a movie with the fire raging to the left of us blocking out the moon and the stars, it felt so primal and that feeling didn't leave when we were told it was a controlled burn..... The Folk Festival itself was fantastic and it was again a treat to get to sing Afterglow with Tom. What an amazing gift to be able to sing that song in front of a frenzied audience..I joke about how I haven't made music with an eye for wanting commercial success but as soon as I sang bg's for Life is a Highway I changed my mind..Totally unbelievable to see an audience from that perspective - totally freaking out!

Off to Thunderbay tomorrow - I resolve to write next week when I get back and the week after that!

cheers and thanks, dav

Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Well, the first leg of the Cochrane and Red Rider tour is over... I am exhausted but mostly sad. Funny that not two weeks ago I was so shy and reserved that I asked Kevin to enter the tour bus before me, so I could ease my way in. Well now we have finished in Regina - RR and crew have headed to the states and we fly to TO tomorrow. Not since I played the founder of the Sisters of Mercy for an international (habit wearing) nun convention have I hugged so many people and felt so connected. What a GREAT group of people that are now friends. Can't wait until May 1 in Hamilton to start it all over again (and work on my abs singing No Regrets and Highway). In the meantime I go into the studio tomorrow night with Kim and Tara to finish our trio record with the fantastic Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin).... I am looking forward to hanging with my sisters (my real live sis lives in England - hey kiki) and catching up - their friendship makes life so much easier.... Wow the video stations play great music late night: the incomparable Kathleen Edwards, new Matthew Good and now Big Wreck- gotta love it!

Looking forward to playing as a four piece in Ottawa Saturday night at Barrymore's for Atlantic Scene and then the songwriter's circle Sunday and Gordie Sampson is gonna be there - now his new record is going to blow people's minds!

love my parents for raising me in a way that allows me to embrace the long awaited good times, oh and lending me money to make my record (don't worry I paid them back).

love dav


Monday, April 21, 2003
Well, I am in Regina after a long bus ride from Calgary and I must say 5 shows in 4 days is tiring! I am about 10 days into the Tom Cochrane tour and I am having a blast. Tom, Red Rider and their fantastic crew are amazing-truly giving and we are having such a great time on the road. The shows have been fantastic, some theatres, some arenas and all crazy fans of TC & RR and I hope news fans. I hope that some of you reading this are the GREAT people who have bought my records at shows these last two weeks-thank you so much.... There are a couple of things I have learned of late and that includes-never announce to an arena full of people that you like Tequila because you might never be able to walk again without hurting peoples feelings. Learn the words to your favourite songs before you attempt to sing them at the late night bus jam. When travelling on a bus with 11 men and you are the lone female bring pictures of your favourite women like your mother, grandmother, sister, girl bandmates to remind yourself that other lifeforms exist. Never build a Tiki Hut without good wind coverage and never go anywhere without Kevin Fox-the man who will sing and play like an angel and keep the ladies in the front happy!

talk soon,


Tuesday, March 4, 2003
Well, I am on the plane to Newfoundland and the tour is over. If anyone saw the Blurbird North show in these last two weeks, you will know what a fantastic time we had! What an eclectic group of people...if I had to make a list of who I would invite to a dinner party living or dead, I'd ask these people. We had so much fun playing, contributing to other's songs and of course dancing on the bus for Dance Party USA (not only is Sarah Slean an unbelievable artist-that woman can boogie her ass off). We played in Halifax at Hell's Kitchen last night and as we suspected we blew out the tour in fine form with much on and off-stage tomfoolery, Jager and pizza...Funny, I haven't really toured in six years and this was a great way to ease myself back into it. Lesson number one - I need to bring a smaller suitcase, much, much smaller. It's really just the shoes I need to downsize as I usually end up wearing pretty much the same thing every show. You should see the amount of stuff I brought on this trip with me, very green indeed and a little like a travelling circus. Lesson number two - don't sleep all day on the bus or you won't be able to sleep at night. Lesson number three - no matter how hungry you are after the gig NEVER eat thai green chicken curry at one in the morning or you will have horrible nightmares about things I can't mention here. Lesson number four - bring Neil Osbourne with you to every gig so he will strongly encourage people to buy your brand new CD because people listen to Neil!

I am home for a week of supposed rest but I am going out tonight to see
Sarah Slean at the Ship Inn, where I played my first gig!

Talk soon



Tuesday, February 18, 2003
I am back in Toronto after the East Coast Music Awards and I am excited and tired... Halifax was as per usual a complete blast and a bit of a blur. Saw some amazing bands like Mark Bragg, Wintersleep and Buck 65. Crazy stuff going on music wise at home and it's totally inspiring. It was a trip to play the awards show and to do it sitting on a bed - I have never been so relaxed doing live TV. It was great to have my band out there with me, to have Kevin Fox as my partner in crime singing away and Joel Plaskett on banjo (He gave me a copy of his CD and it's awesome).

Had fun Saturday night singing with my girls "Saltwater Trio" at our first real gig. Kim Stockwood, Tara Maclean and I are in the middle of recording a CD that will be released next fall. We have been cutting tracks with Bill Bell (Danko Jones) and Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin) and will continue to record around my touring schedule, Tara's solo recording and the baby in Kim's belly. It's has really invigorated my love of making and recording music-I can't even begin to explain how fun it is for us and scary for others when we get together and have a little caffeine in the studio!

Went today and saw the video for "Another California Song" today and it's so freakin cool. Benji Weinstein directed it and did a kickass job. The girls sing on the track and have roles in the video-Kim as the motel receptionist and Tara as my captive! The idea is that Tara is my boyfriend's new girlfriend and I steal her, throw her in the trunk, take her to the motel and tie her up. Again, the most fun I've had on any video and it looks fabulous.......

Doing laundry, unpacking my new apartment and getting ready to go on tour tomorrow afternoon. Off to Vancouver for the Bluebird North tour with Sarah Slean, Danny Michel, Choclair, Neil Osbourne, Blair Packham and Shari Ulrich - it's going to be a blast and I can't wait to get back out on the road, it's been so long. I'll give you updates from the road and let you know how it's going!