From Folsom to Granny Jacks

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 06:00 am | Julie Bertrand

Vancouver roots and alternative country musician Linda McRae will play an intimate concert at Granny Jacks this Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.

McRae originally gained fame as one of the members of Vancouver band Spirit of the West, whose blend of folk rock, hard rock, Britpop and Celtic folk made the band a popular alternative rock act in the 1990s.

She is a multi-instrumentalist that can play guitar, bass, banjo, and the accordion.

Her parents got her interested in music by teaching her accordion when she was a kid.

“My mother also taught me my first guitar chord. I was in a band when I was a teenager,” said McRae.

“I had a band called Terminal City in Vancouver for a number of years. Then, Spirit of the West invited me to join their band.”

McRae stayed with Spirit of the West for eight years, recording about eight albums and touring internationally before leaving in early 1997 to start a solo career.

“It’s been really fun. The stuff that I did with Spirit of the West was pretty high profile,” she said.

“It introduced me to a lot of great Canadian artists and we became friends. Whenever we are in each other’s territory, we get in touch.”

McRae has collaborated with Bruce Cockburn and Neko Case, among others. While with Spirit of the West in the early 1990s, she got to play two shows on the same bill as Jane’s Addiction in England.

Nowadays, McRae splits her time between the U.S. and Canada, touring on her own or with Home Routes, a Winnipeg company that organizes home concerts and intimate two-week tours for musicians.

“A lot of people are doing them now, just because it’s an alternative way of selling dates when you are out on tour,” said McRae.

“It works really well for the artist and for the people that are putting on the shows.”

She also does workshops with youth at risk programs and with prisoners at the Folsom State Prison in California.

“We have been to Folsom twice now, working with the prisoners doing songwriting and lyric-writing workshops, and song circles, with them sharing the songs that they have written and doing concerts,” said McRae.

“They have a blues band there that I jammed and played with the first time we were there. It’s been an incredible experience, it’s been really eye-opening.”

She is currently touring Canada to promote her upcoming album Rough Edges & Ragged Hearts, which will be released on May 13. Then, she will be going back home to Nashville, Tenn., before embarking on a North American tour for the rest of the year.

“We are on the road more than we are at home,” said McRae.

Limited advance tickets for McRae’s show are sold at Granny Jacks. No tickets will be sold at the door before the show. For more information, please call or text Sharyl at 403-358-6985.


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