You know that feeling when your worlds collide and it's awesome and exciting and giddy and too good? That's what happened to me last week, when I went to see a performance by The Jerry Cans in Toronto.
Earlier that same day, I went to visit the band at The Woodshed Studio where they were recording their 3rd album (of course the first thing I did after returning to Toronto was go hang out with Nunavut people, but anyway). It was their final day of recording, and the band was finalizing a few parts. "Things are a little tense right now, just to warn you," Andrew Morrison, lead singer, said as I got my camera ready.
Heading into the recording area, I realized that "tense" for The Jerry Cans means a little hectic, some nervous laughter, and a ton of energy and motivation and creativity. The band recorded the entire album within 10 days, which is not a long time, or maybe it is, depending on your outlook.
"The last album, we did it in five days," Gina Burgess, fiddler extraordinaire, told me. "There's benefits and drawbacks to a long time. It's been interesting."
For this album, The Cans are working with a new producer, Michael Wojewoda, who also produced the Buffy Saint Marie's last record. With Michael, they're challenging themselves, pulling out new inspirations, all while retaining their Northern style and charm. "The new album is a mix of old and new," said Andrew. "We are super happy with how it is sounding and excited to really push ourselves a bit."
Down in The Woodshed, I think I witnessed a bit of this experimental magic in motion. Standing at opposing mics, Nancy Mike, throatsinger and accordionist, and Gina, armed with her violin, were engaging in a voice-and-fiddle back-and-forth. At times mimicking, at times complementary - and always with Andrew and Nancy's one-year-old, Laivi aka Babyky gurgling in the back (their kids deserve their own articles/documentation/TV shows, seriously).
The band turned to their fans and just recently completed a successful crowdfunding campaign in order to record this album. Though they have met their goal, Andrew says the band will "continue to encourage people to pre-order the album and help support the Kinngait Performing Arts Club." This "sweet group of young people doing amazing art" lost a lot of their equipment, not to mention rehearsal space, when the high school in Cape Dorset burnt down this summer.
To cap off a whirlwind recording session, The Jerry Cans spent their final night in Toronto playing for a full house at The Dakota Tavern - which included a host of former and current (and wannabe!) Nunavummiut.
Also in attendance: Susan Aglukark and...Rachel McAdams?!
And yes, Babyku was at the concert and stayed out longer than I did.
So how did the local crowd respond to The Jerry Cans in Toronto? Well, you can see for yourself!