Shari Ulrich’s new album may only be coming out sometime in January 2014, but you can hear her perform many of the songs from that forthcoming disc on Saturday (Oct. 19) at the Brackendale Art Gallery (BAG) at 8 p.m.
The Juno Award-winning singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is best known for her work in both The Pied Pumkin String Ensemble and with Valdy and The Hometown Band. She earned a Juno for Most Promising Female Vocalist and received Juno nominations twice in the Best Female Vocalist category. She’s currently in different bands with Bill Henderson from ’80s rock band Chilliwack, and Barney Bentall from the Legendary Hearts, and she has even written music for Sesame Street.
But it will be a stripped-down gig at the BAG, she said.
“I’ll be playing as a duo with Ted Littlemore, who handles piano, accordion and some vocals,” said Ulrich, who has more recently been touring as a trio with Littlemore as well as her daughter Julia Graf. “We’re playing as a duo, because Ted is out of school, while Julia is finishing her masters in engineering and sound recording at McGill University in Montreal.”
The material and album is actually a result of Julia’s studies, according to Ulrich.
“The album will be called ‘Everywhere I Go’… unless I change my mind,” she said. “It is basically Julia’s term project. She basically told me at Christmas that she wanted to record my album for school, and her teachers were OK with that.”
It didn’t take too long for Ulrich to come up with enough songs to fill a new album.
“Usually the songwriting process is sprinkled out over two years or so,” she said. “But this is the first time I’ve written that many songs in such a short period. Although some had been in mind for the past 10 years, others just popped up because I was in songwriting mode. But it is all the usual subject matter… life, death, war and peace.”
Ulrich said it was easier than expected having her daughter at the helm.
“It was fantastic and surprisingly easy,” she said. “We recorded it mostly in Montreal, and it was such a great opportunity because McGill has a great studio and the best equipment you could ask for.
“I was braced for some friction, but Julia has toured with me since she was young, and we have such similar musical instincts that it was so much fun. I though I’d be saying ‘Listen, I know what I’m doing… I’ve been at this for 40 years,’ but often we didn’t even need to communicate and we were already on the same page musically.”
Ulrich was so impressed with what they had produced that she decided to pursue a licensing agreement with Borealis Records.
“I’ve been releasing albums on my own indie label for the past 20 years,” she said. “But for this album I really wanted it to be properly promoted, which is something I never really did because I was too busy touring or writing. It’s just really good and I want it out there in the world so badly and for people to hear the new songs.”
Listen to those new songs at the BAG on Oct. 19 before the CD hits stores. Tickets are $20 and available at Xocolatl or the BAG.