Craft beer and well-crafted songs: Sarah MacDougall shines in her NXNE debut
Who would have thought songs about bears, wolves, and loneliness–penned by a woman living in a cabin in the woods with a heavy-heart–could be so arresting? Last night, Canadian song slinger Sarah MacDougall made her debut at NXNE (Toronto’s equivalent to SXSW.) Admittedly nervous, MacDougall did her best to get the audience involved — in one song everyone was encouraged to howl like a wolf or just talk gibberish while she picked a lick on her guitar and later on she left the stage and encouraged the audience to sing the chorus with her.
The short 45-minute set featured the bulk of the songs from the folk singer’s most recent record The Greatest Ones Alive.
MacDougall made the most of her time. Despite chattering of barflys sipping craft beers and not paying much attention to her songs, her voice carried the room.
I was initially introduced to this songwriter when the editor/publisher of Penguin Eggs (Canada’s quarterly Folk music magazine), asked me to pen a feature on her. I had never heard of MacDougall, but am now glad that I was given this assignment so I could discover her arresting voice and strong, well-crafted songs.
See below for my feature that originally was published in Penguin Eggs to learn more about this talented songwriter.
“Song poet” Sarah MacDougall finds chaos and calm in life’s storms
Upon hearing the Canadian songwriter’s voice for the first time, one is struck by an instrument that is as lovely and lazy as a midday nap in a hammock. Her sophomore disc – The Greatest Ones Alive – was released independently at the end of August; it features 10 choice cuts and collaborations with fellow Canuck musicians Kim Barlow, Kim Beggs, Gordon Tentrees and Awna Teixeira. She describes the record as “just a bunch of friends getting together.”
MacDougall has been hailed by some as “one of the most promising musical exports out of Sweden since ABBA.” Big shoes to fill indeed, but she’s up to the task.
MacDougall’s new record was partially produced in her current hometown of Whitehorse and the coldness and darkness of this northern Canadian province is evident in the pair of songs cut there.
Hear songs from MacDougall’s latest The Greatest Ones Alive here: http://tiny.cc/pmayfw