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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Backstage With Douglas McLean: A Conversation With Kate Weekes

Photo Credit: Imran Babur

Better Days Ahead, finds the Quebec-based singer-songwriter Kate Weekes exploring “the liminal space created by lockdowns and cancelled plans”. Given that Weekes’ song writing has typically been inspired by travel. Douglas McLean chats with Kate about the release and her songwriting in depth on his podcast 'Backstage'.

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE

On her 4th album, Better Days Ahead, Kate Weekes required an entirely new way of writing, using internal cues to map a moment in time. Composing mainly in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec, Weekes found “the boreal forest and Canadian Shield were beautiful places to pass a challenging period.” Indeed, the wildly eclectic songs assembled on Better Days Ahead — which Weekes variously describes as “Appalachian-influenced murder-suicide ballads, anthemic folk-pop, whimsical instrumental waltzes,” and “moody, horse-riding cowboy meets British rock”— announce an artist fiercely unbound by musical convention yet precisely able to articulate her vision.

All albums are travelogues of sorts, deep dives into foreign (sometimes familiar) worlds undertaken with little more than a guitar, a notebook, and an unquenchable desire to explore. Few artistic journeys have been as expansive as the one mounted by Kate Weekes as she assembled ‘Taken by Surprise’, recorded in 2019 with James Stephens in Chelsea, QC. This dazzling third solo album charts a tumultuous period in Weekes’s life; her first album to fearlessly chronicle not just the physical landscape around her but also the emotional one within.

Now based in Wakefield, Quebec after nearly a decade spent immersed in the Yukon’s vibrant music scene, Weekes drew on an astonishing array of experiences including dog mushing-for-hire in Norway, touring China with a swing band, canoeing from Whitehorse to Dawson City and, notably, several intense personal relationships to write these by turns mournful and joyous songs.

That unique backstory explains why a one-genre description simply cannot capture the album’s musical scope. It’s more like: eclectic, lyrical, vocally propelled folk/pop with subtle jazz underpinnings buoyed by everything from organ to flugelhorn to trumpet. Indeed, you might say ‘Taken by Surprise’ is the ultimate sonic scrapbook of a bold life lived to the fullest.


Sinking Ships

Floating Face Down

Empty Bottles

Poet Friend

Time by the Moon

You can listen to the entire interview and music HERE

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