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A Musical Push

I posted recently about the interconnections between music and writing. Now, it seems that the fates are conspiring to nudge me into playing again. We’ll see where that leads.

For a few years, in my late twenties, I worked quite hard at becoming a better singer and guitar player. That’s how I met my hubby. He had moved from Ottawa back to his family’s roots in Nova Scotia to pursue music, and he was looking for guitar students. I had decided I was in a rut with my playing and wanted to take lessons. I saw his ad and phoned him. It wasn’t long before he stopped charging me for the lessons. The rest is history.

With music, as with writing, life gets in the way. I found out by experience that bands are like marriages, without the perks. They’re transitory, and breakups can be painful. I got a real job, got a house and a garden and a dog. I discovered watercolors, and there was always writing. I wasn’t playing much guitar, and because singing and playing are very physical, if you don’t use it, you lose it. When I got inspired to write a novel, I immersed myself in that and stopped playing more or less completely.

I’ve always known that I’m not a performer by nature. I’m an introvert, which is one of the traits that makes me a writer. Still, I’ve missed making music, especially making music with my guy. I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I’m going to pick up my guitar again, and last week I did. I’m rusty – very rusty – but I know that once I’m past sore fingers and botched chords, I’ll be glad I made the effort.

Everett’s cousin John Chiasson has a recording studio in Dartmouth, and a couple of weeks ago John helped me record ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ as the soundtrack for my McShannon’s Heart book trailer. Shameless plug: John is a consummate musician. He’s played bass for the Rankins and Natalie MacMaster, is well known in the local jazz scene, and his ear is flawless. He’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, a joy to work with. If you’re in the Halifax area and have any reason to use a recording studio, call him. He’s in the phone book.

We did three takes, mixed and matched to get the best version of each verse, and voila! When I played the trailer as part of my session at RWAC’s all day workshop this past Saturday, people suggested I record more. Hmmm. A little more time and work, and we’ll see. Just what I need, another side-path to follow. But the best journeys are always along the roads less travelled. Meanwhile, I’m just happy to be playing and singing again.


  1. Michelle Helliwell
    June 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    That's not a suggestion – it's a demand!!! You have a beautiful voice, Jennie. Keeping that to yourself is an artistic crime.

  2. Anne MacFarlane
    June 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Jenny, if I had a tenth of your talent, you wouldn't be able to stop me making music. I can't believe you all but gave it up. I'm glad you've started again.

  3. Kelly Boyce
    June 9, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I still get chills when I think of hearing you sing. It was amazing. If I had an ounce of that vocal talent you'd never be able to shut me up.

  4. Jennie Marsland
    June 9, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks, everyone! Who knows, someday there may be music as well as books for sale on my website. With the wonders of technology anything is possible.