I’ve never been to Barrie before.
I’d heard there was a nice waterfront.
But I didn’t go for the waterfront. That was simply a bonus, a nice way to spend the hour before sunset.
At 7 p.m. I was in the living room of people I’d never met, about to be entertained by one of my favourite musicians, Laura Smith.
And Paul Mills.
A house concert, my first.
And I really can’t even begin to describe how extraordinary it is to hear a concert quality performance in the comfort of a private home.
And Laura Smith’s voice… well, if you’ve ever heard it, you might understand the mind-boggling effect of hearing it up close. If you’ve never heard it, listen to this… And more, here.
It was Laura’s voice on a couple of CD’s that kept me company as I drove back, solo, from Prince Edward Island last year. For me, her voice and driving, travelling, looking and seeing and finding new things… are all connected.
I’ve also been known to dance in my own living room to her tunes.
I did not dance in the living room of strangers, though I suspect they might not have minded.
I must have had the feeling I wouldn’t be able to describe anything and so I scribbled down lines throughout the evening… some from stories Laura told about the origins of the songs, why and how she wrote them; others from the songs themselves. This is a sliver of things, my concert mash up…
I Drove to Barrie to Hear Laura Smith
I was never safer
because of my smart dog
—the hardest part was starting.
Only an echo will answer my name;
I look into your eyes and see stories
that will never get told, like a father
and a daughter—love to have you here
havin’ a beer, right about now, steamin’
with toil, with the seagulls around me
and crows on the plough; you are loved
and you are loved always, you’re home.
I hear voices in the salt spray, the last
light of the sun going down; I sit in the
same chair every night, Jordy—
a bad hair day in a cheap motel—I’m a
beauty. I’m a beauty.
Nothing else to say.
Except, thanks. It was the best…