McGraff de­buts chil­dren’s book

Simcoe Reformer - - NEWS - JA­COB ROBIN­SON jrobin­son@post­media.com

When Tia McGraff puts pen to pa­per, it’s usu­ally with the in­ten­tion of adding an­other song to her ex­ten­sive li­brary.

As the cal­en­dar turned to 2017 though, the Port Dover Amer­i­cana/ coun­try artist took on a dif­fer­ent project.

“It was al­ways on my bucket list to write a chil­dren’s book,” said McGraff, who toyed with the idea for years.

“(But) as a writer, I knew that you have to wait un­til you get that in­spi­ra­tion of what you ac­tu­ally want to say and how you want to say it.”

Just af­ter Christ­mas last year, McGraff said she was burnt out and didn’t much feel like writ­ing songs. Her hus­band and long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor Tommy Parham sug­gested she try work­ing on a story in­stead.

That’s when McGraff got to work, and she didn’t have to look far for a main char­ac­ter.

Be­fore McGraff and Parham set­tled in Nor­folk they lived in Nashville, where they res­cued a dog named Jake. Their “beau­ti­ful boy” - a husky/Aus­tralian shep­herd cross - ac­com­pa­nied them to shows across North Amer­ica, and those trav­els are now chron­i­cled in ‘Jake the Road Dawg’.

“We’ve got all th­ese sto­ries, for one ex­am­ple there’s a rest area in New Mex­ico that we stop at and they have this rooster there – they’ve even got his pic­ture on the wall - he’s the mas­cot,” McGraff ex­plained. “In my book, I in­cor­po­rate this rooster but it’s through Jake’s eyes - it’s life as a mu­si­cian on the road but through the road dog’s eyes.”

The self-pub­lished story touches on sub­jects like mak­ing friends, over­com­ing shy­ness and ad­just­ing to a new home. McGraff has also writ­ten three songs for a CD that comes along with the book.

“I’m hop­ing that it helps kids find their own unique­ness,” McGraff said. “But also in­tro­duce them to mu­sic as well.”

While she may be a pub­lished au­thor now, McGraff has no plans to aban­don her mu­sic ca­reer. She and Parham re­cently at­tended The Josie Mu­sic Awards in Nashville. Es­tab­lished by ra­dio per­son­al­ity Josie Pas­santino, the event hon­ours in­de­pen­dent mu­si­cians from around the world. McGraff was nom­i­nated for Amer­i­cana Folk/Blue­grass Artist of the Year.

“It was re­ally fan­tas­tic,” McGraff said. “We didn’t win, but we were just re­ally blessed to be nom­i­nated and to see how many other artists there are out there like us keep­ing on in­de­pen­dently – we fund our­selves, we book our own tours, our own gigs.”

The book is avail­able on McGraff’s web­site: tiam­c­graff.com.

Con­trib­uted Photo

Lo­cal singer/song­writer Tia McGraff has penned a chil­dren’s book en­ti­tled ‘Jake the Road Dawg’.

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