Talented singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer is out on the road across the U.S. and Canada in support of her first album in more than a decade and she is certainly enjoying it.
In this part of Ontario the tour will stop in Meaford, Parry Sound, Sudbury and Orillia.
“It feels good, exhausting, satisfying, fortunate, to be playing these shows, especially in the middle of a pandemic, after years of quiet and introversion. We’re currently on an ambitious, love fueled tour of North America” says Harmer.
The new album, Are You Gone, is a deeply personal and political collection of songs motivated by the beauty of life, the urgency of the climate crisis, and the question of loss.
Harmer has called the album a spiritual successor of sorts to her acclaimed 2000 debut, You Were Here. That’s right, hard to believe, but it’s been more than twenty years since this celebrated singer/songwriter and activist first released music featuring her distinctive, rich vocals, rootsy instrumentation, and heartfelt and sometimes pointed songs.
Are You Gone brings a close to Harmers period of musical quietude with a rousing artistic statement, rich in detail and emotion, from the heart and spirit. Regarding the new album Harmer says; “Are You Gone is a collection that ponders the endurance of spirit, memory, and the small details that build our relationships to life and the living world.”
The singer wrote Are You Gone gradually over the last decade as she traded music for grassroots organizing as her “day job”
Between co-founding the citizen’s organization PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and leading the coalition’s successful efforts to prevent a quarry from being built on the Niagara Escarpment, she became a fixture in local politics and advocacy, while keeping her musical chops fresh by writing and playing casually with friends.
Finally, in 2019, while pondering the “ghosts” of loss, capitalism’s gluttony and music’s potential as a public platform, Sarah got to work on Are You Gone, her most sophisticated record to date.
Encompassing a stylistic range from barebones folk to layered indie rock, album opener ‘St. Peter’s Bay’ blends melancholic vocals and smooth atmospherics to effectively conjure the feeling of standing at dusk overlooking an endless sea, while ‘Take Me Out’ is a modern, punchy alt-rock take on the near impossibility of letting go. ‘What I Was to You’ is a tribute to Harmer’s lifelong friend Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, and the piano ballad ‘The Lookout’ tackles the angst of love-across-time zones.
These and other songs from her new record, as well as from her entire catalogue, will be featured when Sarah Harmer and her band take the stage. Her touring band is Kelly McMichael, Dani Nash, Gord Tough and Zach Bines.
Here are the dates you can see Sarah Harmer and her band in your community:
May 8 – Meaford Hall - Meaford
May 10 – Stockey Centre – Parry Sound
May 11 – College Borêal - Sudbury
May 21 – Orillia Opera House – Orillia
Tickets are available at the theatres’ box office or at www.insidethemusic.ca.