On rotation at Heather Ramsay’s house:
I’ve been listening to Pharis and Jason Romero’s last two albums on repeat, partially because I’m too lazy to take them out of the CD player (yes, I still have cabinets full of CDs), but also because I haven’t gotten tired of them. I ordered Bet on Love and Sweet Old Religion for my husband’s birthday and they’ve stayed on rotation since the small packet came in the mail sometime in May. I have no idea which one is which, as they play, nor the names of any of the songs that accompany me as I garden, cook, eat, wash dishes, ask my mom about forgotten family members and repeat. Here’s a taste:
Honey and sugar in a big old pot, melting on an open flame
Salt and powder in another spot, giving it all the same
I love my old wanderer, I do I do; I love my old wanderer, I do.
Recorded in the Romero’s banjo shop outside the small Northern town of Horsefly, British Columbia, their homegrown songs are the kind of old-time sad and lonely that make me feel surrounded by forests and fields and sunshine. Their voices wind around each other like the breeze and their guitar and banjo thrum like the land itself.
In case you think its all banjo and guitar, all the time at my house, Pharis and Jason have been circling around the player with the Portland Cello Project (who can switch from punk rock to elegies on a dime), African Scream Contest (1970s African funk) and Gotan Project (a Parisian melange of tango and electronica). All great. Check them out.
And just to plug some other favourite homegrowns: Anne Louise Genest is Vancouver Island-based old-timey singer/songwriter; Rachelle van Zanten is a roots and blues rocker who slides on the guitar and rides the bike trails near Fraser Lake; and Mark Perry’s music is like a backroads tour around the North.
Heather Ramsay writes some things that are true and some that are not. She lives in unceded Ts'elxwéyeqw territory (otherwise known as Chilliwack, BC). Her creative writing has appeared in The Malahat Review, carte blanche, The Antigonish Review, Room, Numero Cinq, Maisonneuve, Canada’s History Magazine, Canadian Geographic and more. To see more of Heather’s writing visit her website.
Heather's essay "I Found a Picture of My Great-Aunt" is featured in the Summer Creative Nonfiction issue. Pre-order your copy today!