Kate Maki and Fred Squire are not calling it quits.
Despite that being the title of their latest tour, the two solo musicians plan to continue touring and making new music for the foreseeable future.
Both folk musicians, the pair met about a year ago, and it was love at first sight.
“Fred saw me play in Sackville about a year ago, and then I saw him play at Sappy Fest last summer, and so we met again then and I think we just both liked each other’s music and got to talking and playing songs together,” said Maki. “We fell in love, it was love at first sight. It started with the music – very similar in influences and style and motivation.”
Both solo singer-songwriters, the pair begin a national tour in Thunder Bay, Ont. Travelling west, they will hit Canmore on May 18 for a performance at the Glue Factory (aboveWhyte Horse Café), after which they will travel west to the coast, then double back and go east as far as New Brunswick.
“I’ve always played in Canmore, every tour, because the Canmore Hotel is just a legendary place to play when you travel across Canada,” said Maki. “They’re always so kind there. We usually have a day off or two the day after the show and it’s a nice place to hang out.
“The mountains and the water, just a nice town. When you’re driving from city to city all the time, it’s nice to take some time off, take a break and go for a walk and have a nice meal. And, because I’m from the east where we don’t have mountains, it’s nice to be able to stay in them and not just drive by them.”
Squire had similar warm thoughts of Canmore.
“Canmore reminds me of the land of transient workers,” he said, drawing on experiences of other such places. “I don’t know that for certain, it’s just a feeling that comes across from the town.
“The Canmore Hotel, it was a really good time, it was a good crowd. There was a fella at the time who was a writer; he was looking for an illustrator to make a graphic novel of his writing. I remember reading some of it, and it being interesting stuff.”
Touring and playing live is the most important part of being a musician, he suggested.
“The touring is the actual show – that’s the part I like,” said Squire. “It’s not so much the new town, the new place, the long travelling, it’s just the show.
“If I could tour and just play one venue every night, that would be all right. It’s good when the show works. It’s not so much the product, but the fact that you are attempting to accomplish or create a good result of what your goal would be through a medium of live broadcast.”
The tour is in support of new albums by both artists; Maki’s Moonshine and Squire’s Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits, both set to be officially released May 24.
“The new album is an extension of my favourite traditional song, Shenandoah, and the whole record is about personal forgiveness and a worldly forgiveness,” said Squire. “It exists, but it seems people are less tolerant of one another and are less willing to forgive before making sure they’re on top all the time.
“Each song was written while I was recording another song on the record. Each song would just magically fly out of the previous song.”
Maki’s new album is what she described as being a “happy record,” or at least happier than her four previous works.
“The new album was recorded a couple years ago in my basement, with a group of friends who are all musicians,” she said. “I just wanted to have one microphone set up in the middle of the room to do it in an old fashioned way, where it’s all about your live performance and the dynamics of that.
“It was a bit challenging, but it was the most fun I’ve had recording with a band. And it worked. I think it’s a really upbeat, good spring/summertime record.”
Making music is just something she has to do, stressed Maki.
“It’s always a hobby, I never take it too seriously, but then when I think I have enough songs that I want to add other people and see what happens, it becomes more of a project to get them recorded,” she said. “It doesn’t rule my life, but it’s just something that I’ve always just fallen into.”
While both artists are veterans of the Canmore Hotel, this time they’re looking forward to the new venue of playing the Whyte Horse Cafe.
“I think the venue’s going to be really great for what Fred and I are doing,” Maki explained. “We’re going to play together, backing each other up, and then playing the songs that we wrote together.
“There’s probably going to be some room for some solo performances within the set, but mainly as a duo. There’ll be a lot of banter and storytelling for sure. It should be very amusing.”
And while they may have dubbed the tour Calling It Quits, nothing could be further from the truth, said Squire.
“Songwriting is such a major part of my life and has been for so long,” he said. “It’ll always be very prominent in my life, no matter what.”