Indie folk artist Sarah MacDougall spent the winter in Whitehorse – and will spend nearly all of the spring and summer Outside, touring her album from the general store of Twin Butte, Alberta, to Trafalgar Square in London, England.
Locals may well think she has her timing reversed. But that’s just part of life for the emerging artist, who isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The Western Canadian Music Awards recently recognized her latest effort, Greatest Ones Alive, in two categories: Roots Solo Album of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
MacDougall told the Yukon News that the recognition was both gratifying and surprising.
“It’s a weird thing being nominated for an award when you don’t have any idea what it’s based on,” she laughed. “But that recognition is great. It’s a great way for new people to learn about my music who might not hear you otherwise. It really helps and I’m very honoured.”
But there are a lot of shows to play before September 27, when the BreakOut West Conference and Festival opens in Regina.
MacDougall isn’t slowing down or getting ahead of herself. She’s just happy to be doing what she loves.
“Yeah it’s busy, but I like to be busy with music. I’m just lucky to be allowed to be,” she said. “Music is fulfilling and I love travelling and touring.”
MacDougall has another two weeks of gigs in Ontario and Quebec, before flying over the Atlantic to play the Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square in front of some 70,000 people.
She’ll be close to home from July 6 to 8 for the Atlin Music and Arts Festival, before returning to Whitehorse July 9 for Arts in the Park, and a show at the Old Fire Hall July 10.
Then it’s off to Alberta, where MacDougall reached number 6 on the CKUA Top 30 chart, followed by a tour of the United States in September, Europe in November, and what she called a “big cross-country Canadian tour” early in 2013.
Greatest Ones Alive is gaining in popularity, partly because it’s a record many can identify with, MacDougall said.
“It’s really (an album) about fighting for power, fighting for being strong, as well as a celebration of being alive,” she said. “The title song is about growing up, turning 30 and deciding who to be, but at the same time fighting to stay a child.”
The two bears depicted on the cover, an illustration by friend and Vancouver artist Kate Zisman, may be fighting or dancing, depending on your perspective, she said.
“The album has that story theme … I just thought it really fit,” said MacDougall. “Two bears dancing… or fighting … I thought it really fit with what the songs were about and what the album was all about.”
In the meantime, MacDougall will see the world. But the Vancouverite-turned-Yukoner will be back, she said.
“At first, Gordie (Tentrees) just asked me if I wanted to tour Alaska with him, and of course I said yes. I always wanted to see Yukon and Alaska,” MacDougall said. “I was really just living out of a storage locker in Vancouver at the time.
“I had the album recorded but it still hadn’t been mixed – so I just decided to stay and have Bob (Hamilton, Old Crow Recording Studio) mix the album. I ended up staying all winter- and I really liked it!
“I still have my storage locker – but I’ll be staying in Whitehorse for awhile.”
MacDougall’s album can be purchased at www.sarahmacdougall.com. Its first single, Sometimes You Lose, Sometimes You Win, is a free download.