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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Nova Scotian Funeral Director-Turned-Songwriter Terra Spencer To Release "Chasing Rabbits"

By Sarah Porter.

Terra Spencer spent much of her youth playing piano and secretly strumming her granddad’s guitars in a basement in Summerville, Hants County, where she currently works as a funeral director. After a chance encounter while scooping ice cream at a music festival in 2014, she headed out on tour as a vocalist and guitar player with acclaimed folk country musician Ryan Cook. Along the way she discovered a deep love for songwriting, co-writing with Ryan for his 2017 release, Having A Great Time, and collaborating with friends and mentors including David Francey, Dave Gunning, and Mike T. Kerr.

Terra combines her storytelling songs with skillful fingerstyle guitar and gospel piano, but audiences are equally drawn to her onstage ease and sly sense of humour. Nominated for 2019 Music NS Americana Recording of the Year, Other People's Lives is Terra's debut album co-produced with longtime friend Jake Smith in Windsor, NS. Her self-produced followup, Chasing Rabbits, is a collection of winter songs set for release in November 2020, featuring Halifax folk duo The Bombadils and Bela Strings.

“Sometimes when you’re walking on a dark street at night you catch a vignette unfolding in a lighted window and the whole story’s there. In the moment. The songs on Terra Spencer’s new album Chasing Rabbits are like that, replete with seamless, shifting arrangements and angel band horns. They are each complete stories, compellingly wrapped in a blanket warm voice. This is an artist who knows both sides of the heart well, who’s seen enough of life to still reflect kindly, if keenly, on its continuous unfoldings.” Juno Award-Winning Canadian Folk Singer-Songwriter, David Francey.

Nova Scotian funeral director-turned-songwriter Terra Spencer follows up her 2019 debut Other People's Lives on Friday, November 13, 2020 with Chasing Rabbits, a collection of songs set against the backdrop of the Canadian winter.

Chasing Rabbits follows the tracks of ten stories about the people (and in one case, a dog) that are close to my heart. It tells the stories of emotions when there is distance in between; distance between yourself and someone who has taken you heart, the distance between you and a wild animal in the woods, leaving to go to college, or crossing the ocean on tour. This album is about what it means to come back home."

After recording the cinematic single In the City with Halifax’s Bela String Quartet in 2018, Terra vowed to return to Sonic Temple to rekindle her romance with its grand piano. Taking the producer's seat alongside legendary East Coast engineer and studio owner Lil Thomas, she shaped each song with the '70s sounds of Carole King, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell, and drew inspiration from East Coast songwriters Jennah Barry and Rose Cousins.

While hosting an adventurous weekly livestream from a blanket fort, raising funds for Feed Nova Scotia, Terra spent the quarantine lockdown crafting this new collection of songs about leaving and longing, home life and wildlife; from a grisly coyote encounter on a woods trail, to a snowbird romance in Vietnam.

Spencer discussed the project with Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith, who shared the importance of documenting moments and experiences through an album. She then noted: “When you work as a funeral director, you often think about the things people leave behind, and it makes me happy to think of these songs outliving me in some small way. Unlike my first record, these songs are all deeply rooted in my own life.”

Collaborating with The Bombadils for the album's first single and video, Lunenburg Moon, Terra is pleased to announced that the Halifax folk duo will be joining her for the first two (sold out) album release shows in Nova Scotia, including a performance at the coveted Carleton Bar and Grill.


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