Juno award-winning, folk singer/songwriter, Catherine MacLellan, will be stopping in Fernie for the first time on Thursday, March 23 at The Arts Station.
Originally from Prince Edward Island, MacLellan brings with her the sound of the coast, wherever she goes.
A singer as well as a songwriter, MacLellan gained much of her musical inspiration from her songwriting father.
The bluegrass artist started off as most do, playing in small gigs, trying to work her way up the ladder. Leaving home at the age of 17, MacLellan experienced many places far from the land of familiarity, including Halifax, Toronto and Australia. Despite all her travels, she always found herself coming home.
Putting herself out there into the nightlife of different cities led MacLellan to meet people and eventually put a group together, but after a few years of doing this, MacLellan went solo again.
“Eventually I just realized that I wanted to do my own thing, and I had built up enough confidence to do it,” she said.
MacLellan would describe the music scene on Prince Edward Island to be very rich, incorporating the traditional style of fiddle pipe players, as well as a large songwriter community, indie rock as well as a vibrant dance scene.
“Anything you want is there,” she said, laughing. “In a very small place.”
2012 was a very successful year for MacLellan, as she won Folk Recording of the year and Solo Recording of the year at the 2012 East Coast Music Awards. As well, MacLellan was a five-time winner at the 2012 Music PEI Awards, and also won English Songwriter of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA).
However, 2012 was miniature in comparison to her successes in 2015, when MacLellan won CFMA Contemporary Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, three Music PEI awards, as well a Juno for Roots Solo Album of the Year for her album, The Raven’s Sun.
“In 2015, winning the Juno was a big feather in my hat,” said MacLellan. “It’s just kind of nice to know, that on a broader scale, not just in your hometown, people like what you do.”
“I never really had big expectations of what would happen. My only goal was that I would be doing this for a long time. I always knew that this is what I was best at, and what I wanted to do,” she added.
MacLellan’s new album, The Raven’s Sun, incorporates themes of life, death and transformation. She considers herself to have written consistently with these themes ever since she was a little girl.
“When I was 14, my dad died, and that was a big trigger in my life to kind of investigate the world around me and the world inside me,” said MacLellan. “And that’s kind of how I started writing songs actually, just trying to deal with the grief of losing a parent.”
Eleven years ago, MacLellan had a daughter, and this shifted her perspective in life to focus less on herself and her sadness, and more on the joy of raising a child.
For the island girl, she writes when she feels a song brewing. Most often, if she is home, she will write in the same place; a room with a table facing two large windows, looking out from atop a hill towards a forest filled with eagles and ravens which often pass by as they fly.
“It’s a pretty inspiring place to write,” she said.
MacLellan enjoys the fact that grassroots contains strong themes of community.
“To me it just means people, good people, surrounding yourself with good people, trying to seek those people out in every town I go to,” she said.
The East-Coast musician is excited to stop in Fernie for the first time on Thursday, March 23, before proceeding on to Calgary. She will take the stage at 8 p.m., and tickets will be $20 for adults, $15 for members.