Greetings and salutations from a windy-driftin’ Amherst Island day! Another year come and gone, so many happenings, so many songs. In a world rife with change, I too have some alterations and growth to share. So without further ado, let me get straight to the point.
Embarking on the proverbial reflections not only spurned by the hype that is “The New Year”, but also by the rural reality that Willy and I are living in, (slow, methodical survival at the mercy of a woodstove and off-grid living), conclusions of lessons learned abound. Humility and gratitude for the many hands(seats, ears, long drives, CD sales…) along the way that have helped it all choogle on. And folks, I have been officially making a better ‘go of it’. Playing steady, and less when required, dressing up more, drinking less. The driving. The driving is at a frequency that promises a career in trucking or bus driving should all this fervor to live, breath and submerge in the arts world come to a screeching halt.
There have been brilliant blasts of energy on these artistic adventures, and there have been lonely nights as dark and as long as any old eve could be. Festivals with summer sun and lover at my side to truck stops in the rain with Dad on the other end of the phone telling me it’s time to get some sleep. “Ali, are you parked where the attendant can see you?”
But I am still here. And so are you!
I played somewhere around 200+ shows in 2016/17. Look Ma, all hands! Hands on the guitar, hands on the wheel, hands in the air, hands on my head. And it rocked, gals and guys! It rocked the casbah! My trusty and now semi-famous blue Buick Allure has seen the most westerly and easterly points of Canada, thrice-and-a-half, with the last journey taking us to to Cape Spear NFL spring ‘17 in a fog as thick as snow. From one end of the Trans Canada to the other I slung songs solo, with various talented supporting artists as well as many bill-sharers. Blue Butte, Taylor Guitar and I flogged the 2016 release “Clean Water” and sold close to 700 physical units, a modest albeit comforting figure to have reached as a ground-up kid-goat just getting over her wobbly new legs. We made fans, we made enemies only once, but that made for a great new song...we had fun. Well, I can’t say as though Blue Butte always had fun, but I would hazard a guess that she’s happy to be opened up on the highways as opposed to her previous life idling through city streets to and from court as a solicitor general’s car. By the way, buying a government-maintained ‘ex-cop car’ was one of the best purchases for a decent price. Low milage and like I said, very well taken care of.
Highlights of 2017 included, in no particular order:
Working lambing season on a 900 ewe sheep farm. Co-hosting Canadian Spaces with Chris White on CKCU. Folk Music Ontario, Witnessing the magic that was and is Shelter Valley Music Festival just after a mini-tour with Max Marshall. Finally performing my way to and from Newfoundland. Performing at Blue Skies Music Festival as a tweener as well as coordinating and co-hosting two workshops, my home and heart-filling festival of many years attendance now, an absolute dream come true. Working with Artist Manager, a friend and supporter turned official, Trish Bolechowsky of RedLeaf. Trish has been beside me every step over this new big growth period helping to make sense of the new chapters as they unfold.
The culmination of these revelations and experiences: this very week in early January I will be completing some final vocal additions to my third record, an 11 track album to release this spring, “That Place You Know.” There are songs about new roads to cherish and old roads we sleuth for comfort, songs about love both romantic and familial...there is even a song about a bear on a bike. It is a compilation of old and new songs from the last two years, and it is with great joy to announce that it will be travelling across this continent as well as others over the coming two years. I hope to visit as many friends as possible and make new ones along the way so lets stay in touch and make that happen? Artwork and release dates coming soon!
Not one for multiple official New Years resolutions I do hope, however, to up the frequency of my writings here and get to sharing perhaps some in depth descriptions of the more noteworthy experiences traveling folk life brings. Until then keep your chin up and stay safe. Thanks for reading, and for believing in the power of music.
As always, Loving This Road
January Birthday and Recording Finished Celebratory Shows:
Saturday, January 20th in Ottawa ON
Ali McCormick & Friends Jamboree
Irene’s Pub, Ottawa ON
$15/tickets at door
Doors 8:30/ Show 9:00pm
Opening Acts: Aly Marguerite(Montreal) & Ron Mills(Ottawa)
Special Guest: Jyzmine Wykes
This is going to be a rip-roarin’ fun time. I’ll have a trio with me for this one.
Sunday, January 21 in Westport ON
Ali McCormick Birthday Gig
The Cove Inn, Westport ON
Show: 12 Noon until 3pm
Duo Show with Bradley D. Scott
Miscellaneous Additional Post Scripts:
-Last month I released a new live video, “Tackle Box, Saw, Chain and a Knife”, beside me here is Ottawa Valley Guitarist extraordinaire Bradley D. Scott. Brad has agreed to take to the roads with me this year, something I very much look forward to: Video Here
-November saw the launch of this shiny new updated website!
-While “That Place You Know” is being mixed, mastered and sent off for pressing I will be shortly thereafter/during that time attending and showcasing at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, followed by an opening slot at the prestigious Folkus Concert Series in Almonte On., Saturday, February 24th Folkus Site Here
-And just for the fun of it here is a 'Baker's Dozen" List of bands/artists I discovered/ and or covered/ and enjoyed immensely. Note: List greatly, greatly narrowed down. Click the names below to view websites and listen in on what these gems are layin' down!
Happy New Year!