Yukon’s clown queen takes to song

Claire Ness's debut CD has been a lifetime in the making. "I've been writing songs since I was a little kid, and always doing parodies of songs or writing my own or singing everything," said Ness.

Claire Ness’s debut CD has been a lifetime in the making.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid, and always doing parodies of songs or writing my own or singing everything,” said Ness.

“I think I get it from my dad, he’s always singing. Just this morning, he was singing, ‘I’ve got potatoes and carrots, but no tomatoes yet.’”

Ness, 27, is a local comedian, clown, producer and musician. Her recent exploits include travelling to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia with the Yukon Gold Comics, touring with her one-woman clown show, Ruffin’ It, and taking Yukon Circus Camp into its second summer.

Now her first album, Hopeless Romantic, is ready for the world. The CD release concert is tonight at the Yukon Arts Centre.

It’s a release party with a twist. While the first half of the show will feature songs from the album, the second half will be all new songs. If all goes according to plan, that live recording will become Ness’s second album.

Ness is looking forward to letting go of some of her older material, she said.

“It’s got songs that I wrote years and years ago, so it’s sort of – I’m ready to move on and end that chapter in my life.”

The oldest song on Hopeless Romantic is called Don’t Wait for a Rainbow, and Ness wrote it about six years ago.

“I wrote it on my grandparents’ dock in Ontario. One of the verses is inspired by a friend of mine who said to me, ‘You know, all of our emotions come from love. Love is like the white light. It creates everything, whether you’re angry or sad or frustrated or scared, it all comes from love.’”

It’s happy, uplifting, and a little naive, said Ness.

The album’s title track is a love song to two-stroke engine oil, or at least to the men who smell of it.

“You know when real Yukon men come home from cutting down trees or being out on the snowmobile or boat motors, all that stuff. It’s something that you don’t smell in the city.”

Ness wrote the song while living in Montreal.

It was there that Ness realized, “Oh yeah, that is a really nice smell that I miss about home, and the real men. Not just the pretend ones in Montreal with their beards and plaid shirts.”

Ness’s newer songs are a little bit less romantic, a little bit more about things and stuff.

The planned second album features songs about trains, snow, and “whether you like pike or trout better as a fisherman.”

Her favourite, Hockey Puck, is her newest song.

“It’s an ode to anyone who would rather watch the game than the one they love,” said Ness.

She also likes a song she wrote in French about food.

“That’s fun to sing, ‘cause it just gets your mouth watering, if you understand the language. Otherwise it sounds kind of sexy.”

Ness has recruited a long list of supporting characters for tonight’s concert, a who’s who of the Yukon music scene.

“I’m so lucky to have all of those people. It was pretty tough co-ordinating schedules, but everyone is so professional and laid-back. I’d feel confident even if they just showed up at the show and started playing, because they’re all so amazing and talented.”

Ness will be inviting her various guests up on stage throughout the show.

“It’s the cabaret variety show producer in me that wants everything different all the time, changing things up.”

Her music is funny and emotive, Yukon twang with a underlying current of jazz and blues.

“Claire Ness has been out there a lot, and the community might be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve seen her,’” said Ness. “But this is very different from any show I’ve ever put on here. So come.”

The concert is tonight, 8 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets are $20.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read