January 24, 2020

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Letting nature take its course

Local singer-songwriter Carly Dow pulls influence and inspiration from rural home

Megan Steen photo</p><p>Carly Dow says she’s looking forward to getting back on the road in support of her new album, Comet. Her first show is tonight at the West End Cultural Centre.</p>

Megan Steen photo

Carly Dow says she’s looking forward to getting back on the road in support of her new album, Comet. Her first show is tonight at the West End Cultural Centre.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2018 (462 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

On the cover of her new album, Comet, an illustrated portrait of singer-songwriter Carly Dow is featured alongside the images of a coyote and a magpie. The piece, created for Dow by Winnipeg artist Gabrielle Funk, is the perfect visual representation of the album; a colourful Dow is immersed in nature, guided by two animals who often represent ideas of wisdom, power and creativity.

Dow has always pulled influence and inspiration from the natural world, but since moving out of Winnipeg to a plot of land near the southern edge of Riding Mountain National Park four years ago, the 30-year-old songstress has felt even more connected to the land.

"With the last album you’ll find (nature imagery) in there as well, but since moving from the city I’ve definitely honed in on it. I’m literally surrounded by coyotes and bears and creatures of all sorts; they’re just in my backyard now. So it is very much a part of my lifestyle and who I am as a person, and it’s easier to write about now that I’m in it," she says.

Comet is Dow’s sophomore full-length, and while it carries with it the passion and rustic, rootsy musicianship from her previous work, it also feels like a sharper and more intentional release. Dow’s writing is concise but poetic, and the arrangements offer variety (ranging from full-band numbers to the more spacious album closer, Constellations) without feeling inconsistent.

"With this one I felt a lot more confident going into the process just knowing what I wanted," Dow says.

"With the debut, it was more like, ‘Hey, we play these songs live this way, so this is how we’re going to record them.’ But with this record, we just took more time in our process with pre-production and arrangement and stuff like that, so we were really thinking more about what each song needed individually. We put a lot more effort into stuff before we even went into the studio this time around."

The creation of Comet turned into an unintentional made-in-Manitoba effort; everything from the recording to design, mixing, mastering (and the artwork by Funk) was put in the hands of Manitoba-based professionals.

"It’s kind of a testament to the amazing amount of talent we have in this province for recording artists and musicians and everyone in the industry. We’re pretty lucky," Dow says.

Comet is officially released today, and Dow is kicking off a month of tour dates in Winnipeg tonight. Many artists dread getting back on the road, but for Dow, this is the moment she’s been waiting for since they began working on the record a year ago.

"I’m just really looking forward to getting it out there," she says.

"I think my favourite thing being on tour as a songwriter in general is the opportunity to connect with people in a real way. I write these songs and I see how they change their meaning depending on who’s listening to them and what their stories are and it’s just really special for me to be able to interact with people, some of them complete strangers, in places I’ve rarely visited… the main thing for me is getting out and sharing these songs and really connecting with people."

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Multimedia producer

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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