EMILY ROCKARTS

singer/songwriter

Reason & Romance Tour Update #2

Though we may be back in the warm seats of our Jeep Liberty, driving through the Rockies, the fresh mountain air cleansing the spirit and calming the mind, the road to get here was treacherous, and posed many obstacles that threatened the very essence of this tour. The pages of this blog are littered with peril, joy, heartache, and finally, exaltation. Dan here, readers beware, you’re in for a scare.

The week began on a high. We were on top of the world, figuratively, though we were physically in Brandon, MB, only 409 metres above sea level. Our performance at Brandon’s “Music In The Park” series was a ton of fun. We played to a park full of people spread out on blankets and lawn chairs, and enjoyed an evening of music, great food (provided by Olivier's Bistro Catering), and incredible weather. Though we were sad to leave, as we always are, the prairie drives more than made up for any separation anxiety. It was Emily’s first time beholding the flatlands, and the fields and endless skies did not disappoint. Until you’re looking at the neon yellow Canola fields, it’s hard to remember how incredible they are.

We moved on through the prairies, and played a fun show at Rollin' Rock Bar & Grill in Gravelbourg, SK, where Soren unfortunately missed his chance to play the VLTs and cash in big. It was probably for the best. Swift Current proved to be a great spot as well, where the kind folks at Urban Ground Coffeehouse treated us with some good ol’ fashioned prairie hospitality. Urban Ground is a quaint little coffee shop on the main strip, serving Fratello Coffee (based in Calgary), and offering a laid back vibe, with occasional live music to boot! It was at Urban Ground that we first beheld the promotional excellence of Brenda Nissen. For the next four nights, each show would be packed with Soren’s friends and family, all attending on behalf of Brenda and her exceptional promotion.

A snap from our show at Urban Ground - Thanks to the Southwest Booster                                                for the great photo! 

A snap from our show at Urban Ground - Thanks to the Southwest Booster                                                for the great photo! 

We arrived in Calgary on Friday July 28th, and things were looking up. We had ripped across most of the country in 8 days, played a handful of great shows, and we were greeted by Jamie and Mark, some extended family, who were so pleasant to be around, and put us up in their beautiful home in southeast Calgary. We had back to back shows at a Fionn MacCools up in Rocky View, AB, and both shows went great! Soren and Ian had the pleasure of meeting up with James Hill and the gentlemen of Bad Bad Not Good for a Saturday afternoon backstage hang at Calgary Folk Fest and Em got to meet up with some Alberta Rockarts family.

Then it all went south. The clouds gathered, and we beheld the wrath of Sauron (not to be confused with our bassist: Soren), tour demon and terrible foe. As we were driving back to Jamie’s house late Saturday night, we noticed a questionable smell in the car. Then Soren (not Sauron) astutely observed that our engine was remarkably hot, according to the temperature gage on the dashboard. Overheating an engine is a big no no, so we pulled over, luckily, right outside of our destination. The engine was smoking, and when we lifted the hood, coolant was spurting out of the right side of our radiator like a leaking waterbed. Boom. Cracked radiator. I will list the events of the next 48 hours in bullet point form.

·      Sunday, 6:45 am – Em and Dan get the Jeep towed to a garage
·      Sunday, 12:30pm – Em and Dan pick up rental car
·     Sunday, 2:00pm – Band packs up the rental car and heads to Fernie
·      Sunday, 4pm – Large rock makes contact with rental car windshield, big crack
·      Sunday, 5pm – Big crack has spread, is now huge crack
·      Sunday, 6pm – Band plays gig at the amazing Infinitea café in Fernie
·      Sunday, 7:30 pm – Band meets angel by the name of Susan, dressed in human garb
·      Sunday, 8:30pm – Band is served delicious Mediterranean BBQ by Stephanie at Infinitea
·      Sunday, 10:20 pm – Band arrives in heaven, Tie Lake, BC, aka Susan’s cottage
·      Monday, 7:00am – Em and Dan drive back to Calgary
·      Monday, 12:30pm – Em and Dan drop off rental, pay to fix huge crack
·      Monday, 12:35pm – Em and Dan curse the deductible on their insurance plan
·      Monday, 5:00pm – Em and Dan, FINALLY, get jeep back from garage
·      Monday, 5:01pm – Em and Dan begrudgingly admire their new radiator
·      Monday, 6:00pm – Em and Dan pick up trailer from other angel Jamie’s house
·      Monday, 10:00pm – Em and Dan arrive at Susan’s cottage and begin drinking radlers
·      Monday, 10:01pm – Em and Dan begrudgingly admire Soren and Ian’s suntans and fishing stories.

PHEW! I know, I know. Every band has their car break down at some point. Who are we to complain? We’re alive, we made it. But HOLY HELL that was a long 48 hours. Though it may viewed as a “right of passage”, or whatever, having your car break down straight up SUCKS, completely drains you, and is incredibly expensive. If it wasn’t for angel Susan, childhood friend of Brenda Nissen, who took us in, fed us, provided beds, let us play around in the lake and jump off the dock, fish, and drink Rickards Radlers (SHOUT OUT TO RICKARDS RADLERS), then we would be much worse for wear right now. But Susan exists, she is real, and you can meet her, in the flesh. She lives in Calgary and hangs around Tie Lake, BC. If you ever cross paths, give her a hug. And tell her it’s from us. I should also take a minute to thank Susan’s neighbours who also attended our performance in Fernie, heard we were bunking up at the cottage, and showed up with a case of Radlers and home-made cinnamon buns for us. WHY IS EVERYONE SO NICE?

                                                                          Heaven

                                                                          Heaven

Ian and Soren fish count extravaganza:

Ian – 4    Soren – 4

This could get heated. Shout out to Bass Pro Shops for upping our lure game. Respect.

Deer Count:

1,000,000,000

1 / 1,00,000 deer

1 / 1,00,000 deer

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Reason & Romance Tour Update #1

We’ve been on the road for just under a week, and the time is nigh for the inaugural Emily Rockarts Band blog, written from the warm passenger seat of our tour mobile, somewhere between Dryden, ON, and Winnipeg, MB. Dan here, Em’s driving at the moment. There are already so many stories to tell, some of which we’ll share here, and some whose nature is questionable enough to omit from this pleasant weekday read. Enough foreplay!

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured at the inaugural Go North Festival on St. Josephs Island, just east of Sault Ste. Marie. We enjoyed making new friends (The Elwins), hanging with old pals (Union Duke), and hearing legendary Canadian vagabonds (Old Man Luedecke). The brisket sandwich from Low & Slow Smoked Fusion BBQ was celestial, and the beer from Northern Superior was indeed just that. Factoring in the perfect weather, excellent organization, hospitality, and a campfire jam session that burned til’ the early morning, it couldn’t have been a more perfect Saturday! Thanks to the township of St. Joseph’s, Elise Nelson from Girl Friday Productions for booking us, and everyone else whose efforts culminated in this awesome event.

On the road to The Soo, we were humbled by the generous hospitality of Richard Smith (father of infamous Toronto fiddle player and all around good guy Nate Smith), who floored us with his corn bread, chilli, and world famous frittata. In return, we spent the morning doing yoga in his backyard, all the while hoping our weird group exercise sessions weren’t too off colour. In Timmins, we played at The Working Class Pub – would recommend – where we were challenged but ultimately victorious in some epic games of pool with local pub owner and notorious pool shark Krys Saudino. I’m sure he’s still sore about scratching on the 8 ball….twice.

Our good luck and string of fortunate experiences came to a bitter end on Sunday when our plans were foiled by a blocked culvert south of Wawa on HWY 17. The road was washed out, and our route to Thunder Bay became treacherous. It turns out, in northern Ontario, there really is only one way to get somewhere. We took advice from a perfectly pleasant but painfully misinformed older gentleman, who seemed to know the lay of the land as well as Aragorn knew Middle Earth. We took the highway back the way we came, and hopped on Ranger Lake Rd (also known as the Mines of Moria), a 60 km stretch of “good gravel road” that was littered with potholes, bumps, ditches, puddles, and was only worsening with the heavy rain. We drove on with white knuckles for over an hour, and came out on HWY 129 with our Jeep and trailer certainly worse for wear, covered top to bottom in sand and small rocks. The detour added 6 hours to our drive, and we rolled in to Thunder Bay around midnight. Needless to say, our show at The Apollo was cancelled! Here’s to anyone in Thunder Bay who was planning on coming to the show. We’re sorry! You can blame the blocked culvert, whatever that is. At least the road was scenic!

If you’re not following Soren’s Instagram story (@soren_nissen_bass), then you should be. Unless you’re not interested in this tour, or good comedy. But then why would you be reading this blog? Soren’s continually updated videos are the funniest and most up to date news you can get! Great value, minimal data consumption.

Here are some fun lists:

Ian Fish Tally: 1

"Crossing" Release

Last March we went into the studio in Montreal with producer Franky Rousseau. Rob Fernandes was our engineer, Alan Han was assisting and we had an awesome time recording my newest song, "Crossing". Franky and Dominic Mekky worked their magic in the production and we got to work with the fantastic Jonathan Kaspy on the mix. 

We're really excited to share this new track with you. It premiered online at Music & Riots Magazine and is now available online on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and as a free download on Bandcamp

We'll be heading back into the studio next month to record a few more tunes with this dream team again! 

Photo by Brendan Mariani

Photo by Brendan Mariani

Airplay on the CBC!

So last month I got my first airplay on the CBC! I've been listening to the CBC for as long as I can remember, and to hear my song played on national radio was really something special. 

Back in 2012 I was driving into school for a rehearsal with my radio dialled to Radio 1 when I heard the incredible story "The Whale's Choice" by naturalist, Jenny Kingsley on "The Sunday Edition". Jenny narrates her encounter with a humpback whale on the Pacific Coast. The first thing that caught my attention was the sound of Jenny's voice. She has the perfect storytelling voice. That in combination with her incredible experience stuck with me for a while and the story inspired to write "Whale Song". 

Fast forward to the spring 2016, I had released Mapmaker (with "Whale Song" as the opening track!) and I was thinking about the song one afternoon and I thought "I wonder if there's any way I could listen to the story again" and there it was archived on the CBC website. (thanks Google!) It was just as captivating as the first time I had heard it and so I decided to send Jenny a note, along with the song to say thank you for her story. I was so happy to hear back from her and get to talk with her about the song and her story. None have this would have happened without the inspiration and help of Jenny Kingsley. 

"When a humpback whale, a fifty foot long, intelligent, emotional beautiful animal comes within a few feet of me and stays! I want that to be enough. After I held onto its pectoral fin there it made a couple more trips by the boat and then it swam off. Slowly, just a few feet at a time, a breath, each breath a little bit further away from the boat, and then it was gone.

And that was the thing - it's an experience that you can't control, that whale is gone and there's no way to get back close to it. There's nothing that you can do to make that happen. That's the whale's choice... It just gently came up and gave me a chance to hold it, to shake its hand, and to smell its breath, and to look in its eye and just to be there."

You can listen to an excerpt of the story along with my song here, or the whole story here

-Em

 "Whale Song" was played on "The Sunday Edition" on July 17th, 2016. 

Check out more of Jenny's work at http://www.jenniferkingsley.ca

PS. Whales are awesome.