News from Carleigh Aikins
Please visit Paper Bird's Site for more news! Listen to their self-titled record produced by John Oates, released on Thirty Tigers.
It's now been six years since I left art school and went on my first national tour. So much has happened in between and I am beginning to realize that I haven't stopped since. And, of course, it all seems to blur in my mind- a cliche, I know. But much of this time was spent in a van or on a plane or sleeping on a bus. So it literally did fly past me.
Since we released the record in September, Paper Bird has been out on the road playing some cool shows like Mountain Stage with Andy Shauf and Iron and Wine, touring with The Ballroom Thieves and The Infamous Stringdusters. We've played incredible hometown shows. The Denver Botanic Gardens with Jose Gonzales. Red Rocks for the Grateful Dead tribute and Premiere of Martin Scorsese-produced documentary entitled " A Long Strange Trip". Gentlemen Of The Road Salida Stopover, plus a life-changing collaborative performance with the Colorado Symphony at Chuatuaqua.
We managed to escape to Canada a few times hitting Toronto and even my hometown of Barrie. We visited New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and D.C many times each. We explored the Nation's Capitol and strolled the mall- only to be stopped as the president was being escorted fown the street in a fleet of black cars and police vehicles.
We found ourselves on the coast of Maine and the shores of Asbury Park; Ocean Beach SF and the isle of St. Augustine FL. Played shows in Chicago, Atlanta, the Carolinas, Richmond VA and St. Louis and everywhere in between. Kansas City to Ohio. Drove through upstate New York to play- and to West Virginia or Pennsylvania for days off on the lake. We were in the Quad Cities for multiple trips, visiting Rock Island IL with Daytrotter in their new studios. We took a wild trip through Meow Wolfe with Empress Of in Santa Fe. We appeared at Americana Music Fest in Nashville and found ourselves back in that city several times thereafter. We were in Joshua Tree National Park one minute, then suddenly in the Manhattan offices of Twitter and Shazam. And of course, we were in the rocky mountains playing festivals and amazing venues like Mishawaka and Meadowgrass; or in Buena Vista, Steamboat or Paonia.
We were also in Austin during the Women's March- coming from the Pacific Northwest after the American election. It was an interesting time to be a Canadian; and I'm grateful to have witnessed my friends experiencing the impact of the results and what it meant for many of my loved ones. We rolled in to town and joined the rally at the Texas State Capitol. I was amazed that I had ended up in Texas for that event- all while Denver and even Toronto were having huge turn outs. It somehow felt fitting that I was that far south in the centre of that "liberal" city where I've seen the most free expression of music and felt very safe. But always aware that I could likely never live in Texas- because of its politics. It felt fitting to be in a city where women's reproductive and rights and health resources are so threatened.
That evening we spoke for a long while on Austin's Sun Radio about what we'd experienced that day. There was electricity in the air and we felt like a part of something. That evening everyone in the crowd downstairs at Austin City Limits was on fire. And we felt very liberated as three women to be on stage, supported by three men. Our songs somehow took on new meaning that night. For the first time I felt like I allowed myself to feel comfortable to state my own opinion- to take the floor and share that without fear of offending someone else. Not because I was in a room of all like-minded people - but because it felt like there was a chance to speak freely as a woman that day. I felt very supported in what I was singing to that crowd. They were there with me and it felt so refreshing.
In the course of that time I was back and forth from Ontario to Colorado. Living at airports and on people's couches and and out of suitcases. I've become a gypsy.
I travelled with Dwayne Gretzky to New York, and to Montana and to fancy parties around the province. I joined them on New Years Eve to a sold-out Danforth Music Hall. Made quick appearances at the sold out Horseshoe Tavern residencies and 90's Big Shiny Dwayne at the Pheonix. Everything just sold out!!! These people work very hard and are extremely talented. I've had a thousand laughs with that crew and they've become a new family in my hometown area. Which is a real joy when you become an adult and feel like you've made all the friends you ever will. I've loved every second hanging on stage with that cast. They blow my mind every time with their capacity to retain and execute every song perfectly.
I also did some cool stuff as Hannah Georgas was releasing her fantastic album For Evlyn. We played at Strombo's House and on CBC q .
Now we are preparing for the second half of summer. I'm most looking forward to appearing at Winnipeg Folk Festival, hanging in Fort Collins at the incredible Music District for Bohemian Nights, returning to Denver Botanic Gardens, and playing with Dwayne Gretzky at Big Featival right in my own back yard in Ontario. Also, my bandmates are hosting an incredible all-day festival of all Denver talent at their Broken Spoke Ranch Acreage which will be pure magic. And then... I'll be in Ontario for an indefinite amount of time. Working on my paintings and writing a solo-record.
And likely pulling my hair out from being in one place for more than a sweeping moment.
A new year has begun and it started off with much momentum.
Paper Bird played some NYE shows at our beloved Oriental Theatre in Denver, and promptly left for Nashville to finish the second half of our first LP together. John Oates ( of Darryl Hall & John Oates) along with Canadian David Kalmusky worked with us at Addiction Sound Studios to make this record. We are so grateful and very pleased with the outcome, and we couldn't have asked for a more knowledgable, open and encouraging team behind us. Anyone looking for an incredible recording experience should definitely make the trek to Nashville to work with Kalmusky and/or Jonathan Cain. Visit them here www.addictionsound.com
We then journied all the way to Edmonton to play the first Canadian show since I've joined the group. We began a sold out tour Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and it was incredible to play such amazing rooms in support of our dear friends from home; whom we've watched working tirelessly for so long. It was truly an honour to tour with them.
We now are putting everything together to release this album. Stay tuned for more news on its arrival.
In the meantime- I have some downtime at home in Toronto and I am painting new works available for purchase. Please see the PAINTING section for new pieces as they come.
Thank you for stopping by.
It's been a while since I have found the time to update this blog- but SO many things have been happening this season.
These past months have been months of transformation for me as an artist. And as a human. This summer was incredible- I started working with a new band, I sang with Josiah Johnson to more than 9,000 Head and the Heart fans at Red Rocks, and even met up with Bahamas in CO Springs to sing a few ditties with them. All these hi-lights took place in my new home away from home- the state of Colorado!
I have been travelling extensively to Colorado and back to Toronto for the last few months, writing and preparing for a tour with a new band that I am proud to be a part of- Paper Bird. This wonderful group of Artists have been creating together for eight years now, and with a recent line-up change, I recieved a call from them asking if I would be interested in joining their band serendipitously while I was in Austin, pondering what my next move would be after touring with Bahamas for the past few years.
I knew I needed an outlet to step back in the foreground, and wanted to share my own songs with people. I have learned so much from being a part of the Bahamas team and will forever be grateful for all of the incredible opportunities it gave me to sing with one of my favourite songwriters and oldest friends. I take with me all that I have come to know through that experience and am grateful to apply that to my own endeavours as an individual artist.
I met the first of the Birdies in Austin at SxSW 2012, at Willie Nelson's Ranch. Paul DeHaven and I became instant buddies that night, and he gave me a copy of his album; a project he'd been working on with Paper Bird's drummer Mark Anderson, called The Eye and the Arrow. He mentioned he was also in a band called Paper Bird, and I recognized the name. I later would stop in Denver multiple times between Bahamas shows and began demoing songs with friends Jesse Elliott ( who I met when he was touring with These United States) and Lindsay Giles McWilliams, who now make up two fifths of the band Ark Life. Jesse and I started making recordings in their kitchen and we called upon Paul to join us. Later Jesse would arrange studio time in Boulder where we cut a couple of my tracks along with various other Denver Artists' songs, and Macon Terry (Paper Bird's former bassist) along with DeHaven joined in on the sessions. I had still never met any of the lady Birds formally. At the Denver Music Summit I finally spent some time with Esme Patterson, and became an instant fan of the solo work she'd displayed at the Summit. Little did I know that I would soon meet her sister Genny and Sarah Anderson and her brother Mark, the other members of Paper Bird, and we would feel an instant kinship.
Eventually, the Paper Bird line-up came to a transformation, with Esme leaving the band. The day I got the call to see if I was interested in joining, I felt an instant excitement. My songs are written with heavy vocal arrangements, and I was wondering how I would facilitate that at home in Toronto. The thought of starting a new band seemed so daunting to me, I didn't know where to begin. This was an opportunity to join an already established group with two insane female vocalists who would be perfect to sing all the vocal parts I was arranging. These people were open to welcoming my artistic input and ready to adapt to changing their sound and direction. It just felt right to instantly say yes. This project was based in Colorado, and the logistics seemed difficult, but we all agreed that we would just make it work. I have felt called to Denver for quite some time now, and built up a family of wonderful friends and inspiring creatives there. Everything about this new path seemed to draw me nearer.
Paper Bird has now begun to establish ourselves and settle in to the new line-up. I feel so at home with these people and our first tour was a great way to ease in to our stage act and to try out the new songs we've been tirelessly developing. We journied across the midwest and southeast of America and played some great shows, most noteably Harvest Fest in the Arkansas Ozarks to finish off the tour. Paper Bird played our first home state shows at Ivywild in Colorado Springs, and a sold out set at Boulder Theatre with Elephant Revival to very supportive enthusiastic crowds, and I am so grateful for that. On December 26th Paper Bird appears at the Bluebird Theatre for our first official Denver show. We are working toward a 7'' release by the spring as we work on our full-length album.
Meanwhile, in Ontario I am back with the Royal Wood crew and happy to be working with these pro's once again. We are filming a video for Royal's single " I'm Afraid" that will be out shortly. We are touring through November.
I am very excited to share the new music I am creating, and to continue travelling the land seeing beautiful friends, while also getting some quality time at home to create there.
Thank you for reading! Be well.
Well, seems as though Spring was entirely skipped on this here blog, but it was a fast and good one.
Many things happened musically, and artistically over the past few months.
Jack Johnson released a special Earth Day " From Here To Now To You Live EP", and I am lucky enough to be a part of it, singing a couple tunes recorded on stage during the 2013 Fall Tour. It was so lovely to be reunited with the whole crew at the Molson Ampitheatre on May 29th. They haven't stopped since we left them in October.
Royal Wood's latest album " The Burning Bright" was released, as well as Carleton Stone's "Draws Blood" and Jerry Leger's "Early Riser", and I am featured on each of them. It's a splendid thing to be a part of so many great records this year. I am also happy to have sung on the new Bahamas release. " Bahamas is Afie" comes out on August 18th and 19th, and the record can be pre-ordered at iTunes now.
I visited Frisco, TX and played an intimate house show at Snellypalooza with Josiah Johnson, and we continued to Arkansas and New Orleans where I got to hang with The Head and The Heart as they played NOLA Jazzfest. What an incredible adventure, and that festival is just insane. We got to see Charles Bradley along he way, as well as Bruce Springsteen, Arcade Fire, some out-of-this-world gospel performances, insane street musicians, took in an intimate performance at Preservation Hall with the legendary PH Jazz Band, and we even saw Aaron Neville perform! What a magical, often dark, alive and breathing, breathtaking city.
Gold Lake is currently in Europe and about to begin a tour with Midlake, followed by a support slot in Madrid with the Lumineers! I was unable to make it on this tour with them, but am very excited for the band. They also recently signed with Outside Music in Canada, so those Spanish kids may be stepping out of Brooklyn and in to my home territory very soon.
I am on my way to my beloved Denver shortly to begin an exciting new endeavour that I can't wait to tell everyone about.
Many new things on the horizon. And the sun is shining!!!!!
Hope it shines on your face.
Thanks for reading.
Thank you to everyone who came out to see Josiah Johnson and me on our House Show Tour through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Colorado. We had a really special experience performing and meeting all the incredible people who welcomed us along the way. We hope to do it again soon.
The Royal Wood shows are also over for a couple of months, and working with such a wonderful crew of professionals was a great honour. we will return to the National Arts Centre in May, and the CBC will air live recordings on Canada Live, March 21 at 2 PM on Radio 1 and on March 24 at 7 PM on Radio 2. Video content will start to roll out on CBC Music and YouTube on March 17th.
Looking forward to seeing what the Spring will bring!
Bahamas had a busy summer touring North American Folk Festivals.
We've just finished a European Tour with Jack Johnson, visiting France, Germany, The UK and the Netherlands where we had a chance to play our own sets in Amsterdam and Rotterdam respectively. The crowds were so lovely. We finished by appearing at the iTunes Festival in London England at the beautiful Round House.
We are now embarking on the North American portion of the trip. This leg began with us making an appearance backing Jack on The Colbert Report, then playing Farm Aid, and visiting Boston's Life Is Good Festival, which was a lovely family affair.
We now begin playing some of America's most beautiful soft-seater theatres, starting at New York's United Palace. We've been appearing in the Jack Johnson set as well, which has been a hilight.
Hope the changing leaves find you happy.
Thanks for stopping in.
Soundtracks: A Retrospective Guide to Travel was a two-night sold out success, and I am grateful to to every gifted artist who graced the Mady Centre with their presence as part of this incredible project. It was s true reminder of the raw talent that is produced in Barrie ON, and the web that connects us all together through our craft. The project could not have been made possible without the support of the group I selected to stand on stage with me. Nor could I have done it without Talk Is Free Theatre ( and the Mady Centre) believing in me and inviting me to produce the show, and without the community of Barrie and beyond's outstanding support and patronage. I cannot express my gratitude for the experience. Live recordings are to come. Stay tuned for that- there are some truly beautiful renditions to be heard if you missed it. We look forward to making this an annual event that grows in seating allowance and artistic vision alike.
The road to the Junos Series on Canada AM: Bahamas ft The Weather Station ( plus Felicity Williams and Carleigh Aikins)
Broadcast April 17th 2013 Burn As Bright
March 2013 Canada AM Appearance Lost In the Light
iTunes Exclusive Bahamas EP
After an American tour with Calexico, and steady time on the road promoting his record Barchords, Bahamas along with his touring band (Felicity Williams, Carleigh Aikins, Jason Tait), visited Revolution Recordings and made this collection of new and re-imagined tunes.
Get yours here:
Sound Tracks: A Retrospective Guide to Travel
At the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts
May 27th and 28th, 8pm, Tickets $20
Available at the TIFT Box Office
Or by Phone at 1 705 792 1949
For immediate release
April 16, 2013
Talk Is Free Theatre brings Carleigh Aikins and Friends back home in Sound Tracks: A Retrospective Guide to Travel
Barrie, ON… Barrie born vocalist Carleigh Aikins will present a collection of songs by artists from all over North America and Europe that touch on the prevalent songwriting themes of travel, of faraway love, of seeking some sense of belonging, of homeland sentimentality and the journey we take through this short life. Alongside her local music community, Aikins will perform intimate renditions of travel tunes that actually defined her own personal travels, and were written by people she met along the way.
Carleigh has been performing as an actress and vocalist onstage for over 20 years, including in many professional capacities at Talk Is Free Theatre. Most recently, she has returned from extensive travels spent as backing vocalist for Barrie’s own Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas); an act which has performed on stages the likes of Royal Albert Hall, supported Artists such as Robert Plant, made national radio and television appearances including Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and whose live performances have been acclaimed by publications such as SPIN Magazine and The L.A and New York Times.
This two hour presentation filled with music and storytelling features Aikins alongside members of Bahamas, Yukon Blonde, Zeus, Indian Handcrafts, Paint Movement, Little Lakes, The Socials, The Morals, Brett Caswell and the Marquee Rose, Dave Thomson and more.
There will be two performances on May 27 and 28 8PM at the Mady Centre for the Performing Arts at 1 Dunlop St. West in Barrie. Tickets are $20 plus HST and service fees. Tickets are limited. This performance is part of TIFT’s artsLocal program, generously supported by Simcoe County.
Tickets are available through Talk Is Free Theatre Box Office at (705) 792 1949 or www.tift.ca .
After an incredible Bahamas American tour with Calexico, I am feeling very grateful to have been able to sing with Joey and the rest of the crew on stage, and to be able to travel with such a magnificent group of men and musicians.
Since we've been home, Bahamas ( Afie ) was nominated for two Junos- Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for Barchords, as well as Songwriter of the Year for Caught Me Thinkin', I Got You Babe and Lost in the Light, which is the track Felicity Williams and I appear on. I am very proud of my dear friend, and proud of all of our hard work the last year and a half spent promoting Barchords.
With time at home now, I am working on my own record, and also performing my songs as a two-piece with my best buddy ( and Bahamas Front of House mixer) Markus Gilgan. We are performing under the name Sequoia and it's been an incredible exercise in dissecting some of my tunes and finding alternative ways to perform them.
I am working on tracks to compile a collection for a record. So far I have been in studios in Boulder, Colorado, Toronto and Barrie. I am also writing songs for the record with my dear friend John Jeffrey in Berlin, and the project is benefiting from a little more European love on the production end which I am incredibly excited about.
Also, the lovely Jon Chandler ( of Amos the Transparent) and I are creating a little collection of collaborative songs that will hopefully be released this summer.
Bahamas recorded a live off the floor iTunes exclusive release featuring a few renditions of tunes we perform live. It will be released shortly. So far this year I have already been singing on a lot of great recordings with friends, including Ketch Harbour Wolves, The Most Serene Republic, The Weather Station and Quiet Life in America. Also the Colorado sessions yeilded some gorgeous songs by members of Paper Bird, These United States and Ark Life, and we are finishing up the touches on those.
Canadian Music Week is fast approaching, and though I will be thinking of all of my friends down in Austin for SxSW, I am happy to be home in the north for the festivities after missing it the last couple of years. I will be appearing with the gorgeous Singapore singers as backing vocalists for R & B vocalist Daniella Watters on March 19th at Clinton's ( 9pm) and at Chahoski's on March 22nd ( 9pm).
In May I will be installing my artwoks at Bohemia, downtown Barrie and have been busy painting away. My original works can be seen at Unity Market in Barrie and at Robbery Art Gallery for one more month at 457 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto.
Lots of creating!
Thanks for reading.