Posts in Category: Film & Music

Feature Friday: Wherein Many Lucky Stars Are Thanked

PicMonkey Collage
3 years ago I began feeling sick. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put a finger on it. As time went on, I got worse. One day I woke up and my legs were balloons and I couldn’t move. I stayed this way for one year, it was devastating. I spent endless hours in the hospital, at the lab and at the doctors. Endless tests and no results. No one could find anything. Finally, one year ago, I found a naturopath who saved my life. The next year would prove to be the most difficult. Treatment made me more sick. Somedays I felt like there was no hope. It made me sad to look at my kids and not be able to play with them. It made me sad to not be able to move and dance or even go to the park. I felt like I was slowly losing myself. Today, I am walking again. I can pick up my children. I can be intimate with my husband. I am starting to feel like myself again. As I look back, the past few years is very fuzzy. There’s a lot of darkness. All of this to say: My husband PLEX has just dropped his first music video from his new album. The song is called Lucky Stars and it is dedicated to me.

“My wife, the love of my life, is the centre of our family, our anchor. Watching her struggle with Lyme Disease has been difficult to say the least. I made this video as a tribute to her. To remind her of all the great moments we have had during this dark time.”

Watching it for the first time was overwhelming. He managed to capture some beautiful moments of our family over the past few years. It is a great reminder for me that even though I FELT like was disappearing, I was very much here and still am. Being loved, feeling loved, is such good medicine. He might think that I am the anchor of the family, but I couldn’t have gotten through any of this without his support and love. I, too, thank my  lucky stars.

Please watch and share.

Feature Friday: The Diverse Prowess of T. Nile

Being the wifey of a folkie has its benefits. Immeasurable in their direct association to the unique wonder that is Trevor, himself. A complicated, kind, funny, dark, charismatic, charming and sensitive man … but I’m not here to talk about all of that. I’m referring to all of the extras that I’ve gotten to reap from his direct connection to music in Canada. Born into an illustrious Canadian folk family, he is the son of an accomplised musician, gold record producer and deeply respected advocate/patron of the roots/folk music scene in Canada. Trev followed in his dad’s footsteps and as a result, has met and made many a friendship with other musicians on the scene.

Then there was that time BC (before children), when he was the Artistic Director for the Eaglewood Folk Festival. This is where we first began to work together as creatives on a big project. I suppose you could say EFF had a significant influence on how our relationship developed in those first early years together. Working and living together is not for the weak! Why am I giving you all of the back-story? Well, I’ve gotten a few questions from readers about how I know about or discover the talent that I feature here as a part of our “Feature Friday” series.

Well, it is in part, thanks thanks to Trevor. I have made some amazing friendships through him, in particular with other strong, creative women. The ladies, well, they like Trevor. Not in the way you might think! Well, yes … back in the day that way too. He did his fair share of camp-fire courting! That is, after all, how he reigned me in.

Which brings me to the particularly gorgeous and unreserved talents of T. Nile. An acoustic and electronic goddess, T.Nile comes from a lineage of one-man-bands starting with Jesse Fuller (wrote San Francisco Bay Blues) followed by her father, Dan The One Man Band. I fell in love with her luminescent vocals year ago, and when she started to combine usual her guitair, banjo, harmonica, kazoo with foot percussion, synth and electronics … HOT DAMN! It was like nothing I’d ever really heard before and immediately wanted more of. She began touring with her dad at the wee age of six so one could say she definitely has the chops and the experience to permit for such ballsy experimentation. Being quoted by Sarah Bauer of Exclaim Music as a, “banjo-plucking love-child of Beck and Lana Del Rey” … I couldn’t agree more. Her voice is sultry and strong. He lyrics and prose deep, throughful and spread throughout your atmosphere like honey.
So, without firther ado – I bring to you the avante-garde, west-coast folk roots meets EDM sonic stylings of T.Nile!

Hearburst: That Time My Son Recorded His First Album at 5 Years Old [VIDEO]

What else can I say? I’m feeling truly blessed this weekned, what a wonderful way to bring in the spirit of growth, renewal and energy. My boy has been wanting to “record his own album”, for months now and began as any serious songwroter does, by putting together lyrics and melodies with his success partner (his dad).

Here’s a little b-side roll of yesterday’s production session in Wyndham’s grandfather’s studio. We went to have some family time since we heard tell that the a certain bunny was making the rounds at their house extra special like, and ended up getting way more than ew bargained for!

This particular song, “Statues Are Picture of People”, was written by Wyndham right around the time that his dad was diagnosed with gout and he was wrapping his sweet little brain and heart around the entire concept, in trying to understand why his dad was rendered immobile from the once very active, wrestling jungle gym that he usuallu was. What amazing minds children have when given the chance to flourish.

(Things are looking much better now for Trev is that regard and he’s often back to his rowdy, scream inducing ways with the little ones, no worries.)  

Confessions of a “Work-a-holic” Mom

Lightningcloud Jen Kids I’ve always worked a lot. Perhaps there was a time, for a long time, that I was a workaholic. Aspects of my life suffered because I put work first. I always struggled with that balance. Then my kids came along and the struggle to balance it all became harder than ever. The crappy thing about it is that I LOVE what I do. As a producer I get to imagine and create and work with talented artists and performers that inspire me. As an actor I get to perform and use it as an outlet to express a part of myself. I also work with youth, teaching and training and THAT is always inspiring and educational.

On the flip side, I love being a mom. I am very domestic and I love cooking and homemaking and having a family. I remember being pregnant with my daughter and feeling so lucky that I would have her a few weeks before a huge awards show I produce called the Indspire Awards. It was my third year of producing it and there was no way I wanted to miss a beat. Willow entered the world as a production baby. She was on her first flight at 2 months old, with me on site and I breastfed every chance I got. Free feeding and attachment parenting become challenging when you’re a working mom with a full-time job. But I felt good doing it all…

Feature Friday: The Stunning Leela Gilday


We’re absolutely in LOVE with this new video from Leela Gilday and the creative geniuses over at Artless Collective. I’ve had the honour of knowing Leela and admiring her warm, fierce, kind and creative soul as a friend. She made a connection with my son in particular, when he was but a wee baby and he’s adired her ever since. She was his first crush, I’m pretty sure! His favourite song/video used to be, “One Drum,” but now he has something new to his YouTube playlist.

The song, “Rescue” is one of many vocally sublime, earthy feats you can find on her newest album, “Heart of The People.” Last night a grand collection of Indigenous artists gathered for the JUNO awards in Hamilton, ON. and Leela was up for Aboriginal album of the year along with our friends Digging Roots, Crytal Shawanda, Tomson Highway and Tanya Tagaq. Tanya took it home with her earth-shatteringly brilliant album “Animism”(congrats!) – and yet – the celebration continues to be about them all. The comraderie and geniune respect and love they all have for one another is truly inspiring and lesson to many of us who get caught up in these sorts of award shows.

Press play and marvel in this visual and sonic artistry, sure to provide some excellent vibes for your Sunday! (Yes, we’re late in posting this week’s FF. Such as life.)

Feature Friday: Anishinaabe Renaissance Kwe – Sarain Carson Fox


Sarain Carson Fox is one of Canada’s most innovative, up and coming multi-disciplinary Indigenous artists. A proud Anishinaabe woman and Midewiwin Society member, (the traditional Ojibway Medicine Society), this is a kwe who believes that we connect as Anishinaabe people through our traditional medicines. Since 2012 she has made it her personal mandate to include our youth in all the work that she does in one way or another. She splits her time between her professional dance projects and teaching and sharing dance with youth; primarily at-risk Indigenous youth. 

Feature Friday: Nick Sherman


Serious keeper right here. For your ears. I’ve been a fan of Nick Sherman since I first discovered him as the kind young man who, when touring through my home town, performed at our neighbourhood block party. He’s been working hard and captivating audiences ever since, he became a father and executed a rather successful Indiegogo campaign for the production and release of his upcoming sophomore album, “Knives and Wildrice” due out this May.

He in fact hosted a, “Knives and Wildrice” podcast on Indian and Cowboy for a little behind the scenes action sharing what it’s like to record an album. Expect candid documentation of life on the road and at home as a touring musician, who is doing it without major label representation. All 10 episodes are now available to stream for free online and they’re quite entertaining and compelling!

Nick is an Ojibway singer-songwriter originally from Sioux Lookout that often gets described as the ‘Nish John Mayer.’ Which, in my humble opinion I think does him no justice. For starters, he’s not a douche…and well, I’ll just let you be the judge of his musical mojo. 

Feature Friday: The Incomparable Adventures in Sweetland

O Canada 2005

“O Canada 2005″

That up there is one of my favourite early photos from Toronto based touring songwriter Kristin Sweetland’s self-portrait photography series, ‘Adventures in Sweetland.’ I first met Kristin as one of my husband’s dearest friends, many moons ago when we first started dating. I was immediately smitten with her mysterious and creative ways. She’s the kind of woman who emanates artistic sensuality and a dark fire, yet constant grace and sweet friendliness. An air of fantasy and intrigue embodies all that she does. You at once become entranced with her intoxicating, witchy ways, if you’re lucky enough to meet her.

My husband describes her as a surprisingly and uniquely brilliant musician and photographer; a friend he has loved and admired for 15 years. A mind that flirts the line between the innocent and the macabre.

For years I’ve been blown away by her vision and the flawless execution which she unfurls into her photography. This is completely her alone at work here, using a tripod or mirrors and other tricks she may or may not tell you about. She definitely doesn’t have someone following her around snapping the shots. Most of them feature herself as the subject of muse and at times, she opens up the lens to include those she travels with on tour as a musician.

This collection dates back as far as 1999. That’s nearly 16 years. I would say it’s about damn time she released a book of her work and had an exhibition of equally (to her) fanciful proportions. The book layout is designed by Toronto-based promoter and graphic designer Michael “A Man Called” Wrycraft, who has worked on album covers for Bruce Cockburn, The Trews and Sweetland`s most recent instrumental project: Captain Dirt & the Skirt, amongst literally hundreds of others.


The Adventures in Sweetland series began when Kristin was given an assignment in a photography course at the University of Victoria to document her emotions through a series of self-portraits. The class ended, but the series never stopped. Watch the video teaser for this project…

Feature Friday For The Lovers: Introducing Digging Roots’ Single “I’ve Got it Bad” [VIDEO]

For The Lovers

When Raven and ShoShona, of Digging Roots, approached me to work with them on a music video for their song, “I’ve Got It Bad” … I was both terrified and honoured. Yet, as it goes with many things in my life, I decided to abandon fear and dive in. It began with Shoshona and I writing the concept. ShoShona wanted to experiment with the idea of not taking themselves too seriously so I presented her with a series of tongue-in-cheek treatment ideas and we hashed out many different concepts and story-lines. As is often the case, our original concept was a much longer story. But, as also is often the the case, we didn’t have endless funds at our disposal so we reigned shots in to utilize who and what we had to work with. Which, from a professional prospective; was a stunning well of creative professionals of which to draw from anyways.

From there, Raven, Doug (the D.O.P, co-director, editor and my husband), Sarain Carson-Fox, Shona and I just went for it. We decided on a storyline of, learning to love yourself. How do you tell such a story without being cheesy? Comedic relief. Over five days, we shot tons of footage in Longboat Key, Florida. Even when Shona was stung by a stingray on the third day, she kept going!

This video is truly a labour of love. Our children, ranging in age from 2 to 18, all helped. My mom and Shona’s mom helped and together we were able to have fun, work hard and put together a really charming and FUNNY video. Our actress Sarain was a dream. Such a great sport with fantastic comic timing and to top it off … she’s gorgeous! Her character tells the story of how a woman who thinks she’s in love, finds what she was looking for in herself instead. In her darkest moment, she sees herself and saves herself from her own heartache. She is, in essence, her own prince charming.

To be honest, those five days of production helped me forget how much pain I was in from the Lyme Disease that was infecting and attacking my body. That’s when you know you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.

Thanks to Digging Roots for having faith and thanks to Doug for spending so much time on this project.

I hope you enjoy it!

Four Direction is The Seventh Generation


QMS Project

What does that mean? 7th generation is a term used to describe today’s Native youth, who are the 8th fire rising. I firmly believe that it is the Indigenous youth of today, led on a path so brightly burned by our elders…who will be the ones to induce the change in our communities and how we survive, succeed and are perceived/treated nation-wide. Outside of our communities. The road is long and the work is never-ending. I myself tire of it. Tire of the endless ‘innocent’ and ‘well-meaning’ questions. Of always having to hold grace in the face of ignorance. Definitely tired of the outright hate and racism.

Our children; the youth of today —they are what give me hope.

This winter, the Quinte Mohawk School in Tyendinaga partnered with arts-education organization Darkspark to conceptualize, record and release an EP of songs written entirely by Grade 8 students. Thus far, in what they’ve rolled out to promote their official release; has moved me and surged new hope into my veins. This class decided to write about the issues they face as young Aboriginal teenagers hoping to inspire awareness and create change within their community and country. They’ve decided to call themselves Four Direction and their EP ‘The Problem’ will be released on March 10th.

If DarkSpark is a name that sounds familiar to you, you may remember me mentioning it a while back when sharing a music video featuring the incomparable music prowess of DARKLARK. DarkSpark and DARKLARK, two hugely separate feats that straddle all that the team (D’Ari Lisle and Melissa Larkin) behind both — wish to do in this world. In making a difference to inspire change and as music/arts professionals. They’ve been releasing teaser videos with clockwork precision this week, showcasing some behind-the-scenes footage, candid shots and a lyric video (The Problem) for one of the songs from the album!

Check them all out below and do them (me, yourself) a solid and check out the blog/website and Facebook page below. Make sure to leave comments…encouragement is everything to these bright and brilliant young stars singing for change. You can pre-order the album as of noon yesterday and all proceeds of the EP will go directly to The Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women’s Fund.  Not only should you buy the album because it’s for a worthy, underrepresented cause…you should buy it because you love good music and lyrics. The kind that gives you goosebumps and makes you think. Makes you proud. More aware, more humble and inspired.

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