Carmen chameleon: With her solo shows and two bands, busy rocker Carmen Townsend proves good things come in threes
Opening bluesman Garrett Mason at Savoy Theatre on Friday
SYDNEY — Carmen Townsend is never very far from the stage these days.
The Cape Breton rocker has been pulling triple-duty in music circles in the last couple of years and is showing no signs of slowing down.
“ I’m just playing a lot of shows,” she said. “I’m doing a lot more acoustic stuff now, I’m still with my rock band and I’m still with Tom Fun (Orchestra) but I’ve been going out on the road a lot with Mike LeLievre, from S low-coaster, who’s an old friend of mine, and it’s been really, really excellent, a nice change compared to the rock circus that we are a part of all the time.”
This week she’ll be switching gears yet again, opening for Juno-winning bluesman, Garrett Mason, in a Savoy Theatre studio
My joke is that I’ve added a 13th month to the calendar and it’s called soon.
space performance Friday at 8 p.m. The Townsend/Mason show comes as result of a new weekly series at The Paragon Theatre in Halifax, that brings different artists together to provide opportunities for co-writing and touring collaborations.
“He is hands-down the best guitar player I’ve ever seen,” said Townsend of Mason. “He’s unbelievable. I don’t understand how this guy isn’t a bazillionaire.”
With solo shows and two bands — The Tom Fun Orchestra and her own band with Thomas Allen and Shane O’Handley — Townsend admits keeping her calendar in order can be a challenge.
“ There’s a few shows with Tom Fun that I have to miss because I have to focus on my career but it’s going pretty well. It’s not too crazy yet but eventually Thomas and Shane, my drummer and my bass player, we are going to have to leave Tom Fun, which will be a bummer but I think we’ll always be welcomed onstage in the future,” she said.
Townsend said playing with her own band, as well as with The Tom Fun Orchestra, has really been a win-win situation.
“ When we toured across Canada, we were able to open the Tom Fun show so we were doing double-duty but that was a great experience because people in Victoria (B.C) know who we are and they’re looking forward to us coming back,” she said.
She, O’Handley, and Allen completed a recording over a year ago, and after getting everything in order, are set to release an EP in the next few months.
“ We just recently signed a deal with EMI and they’re going to help us release a six-song EP, so that’s totally awesome. We’re in a really good spot,” she said. “Hopefully it’s going to just snowball into success and take us as far as we can go.”
So just when should fans expect to see the release?
“My joke is that I’ve added a 13th month to the calendar and it’s called soon,” she said with a laugh.
In the coming months, Townsend has a few more acoustic solo shows scheduled, will be busy at the East Coast Music Awards from March 4-7 in Sydney, and will continue juggling two bands for now — a busy schedule but one she wouldn’t change for anything.
“ The people that music has brought into my life, it’s pretty amazing. I meet people all the time and they’re just really supportive and encouraging. I’ve been doing this since I was 14 and it’s a slow and steady pace to the top, I guess, but I never really gave up,” she said. “I know I was born to do this and I know that my band was born to do this and the people that surround me are just totally talented and wonderful, so I think I’m moving in the right direction.”
Tickets to see Townsend and Mason are $15 and can be purchased through the Savoy box office at 842-1577 or in advance through their website, www.savoytheatre.com.
Carmen Townsend, and her bandmates, Thomas Allen, left, and Shane O’Handley, right, are preparing to release an EP later this year. Carmen will also be playing a solo show Friday with Garrett Mason at the Savoy Theatre.