I’ve said these words many times over the years, but it really is a joy to discover new artists and foster new friendships with some incredibly talented (and genuinely nice) independent Canadian musicians. I was asked very recently how I find time to write so frequently here for GDW, to maintain my focus in this sea of uncertainty, and the answer never falters – I consider it both a privilege and an honor to make these connections with people across Canada, to hear their music, to share their music, and to embark on new friendships. Times are hard right now for independent musicians, many left wondering if they can afford to record new music, wondering when the all-clear shall come to reschedule concert dates and plan tours, while facing the challenges of keeping a roof over their head and food on their tables. So when good friends have new music to share, I want to be there for them, I want to hear it, write about it, share it, and help out like any friend should when possible.
Windsor, NS singer-songwriter Terra Spencer is one such good friend; an artist whose acquaintance was made last year following the release of her debut album, “Other People’s Lives,” – an outstanding collection of (mostly) acoustic-folk songs that not only earned Terra a nomination for Music NS Americana Recording of the Year, but was a convincing top four finalist in my own personal album of the year honors. Terra recently announced exciting news of her upcoming sophomore album, titled “Chasing Rabbits,” and is releasing “Lunenburg Moon” as the lead single today. “Lunenburg Moon is a Nova Scotian romance if there ever was one…a warm wave of late September nostalgia,” Terra shares. “The kind of love song you write when you’re in a beautiful harbourside Bed & Breakfast for the night, with everything except the one you love.”
Terra Spencer is a remarkable songwriter – a character trait noticed immediately when spending time with her debut album. But she is also gifted with the natural ability to convey her life experiences through well-crafted compositions and reflective prose. The bar was therefore set pretty high for my first spin of “Lunenburg Moon,” especially upon learning that the single is accompanied by Halifax, NS traditional-folk duo The Bombadils (Sarah Frank & Luke Fraser) – but once again, Terra does not disappoint with this nostalgic journey into a warm and cozy Maritimes love song.
“The church glowing golden / I remember your smile / And the echo of footsteps / As we met in the aisle / And the music was gentle / But it lifted us high / It was just an old folk song / But it still made me cry,” Terra recites, her acoustic guitar in hand. “We went to a party / With some friends down the street / The wine kept on flowing / As we followed our feet / To a house on the hillside / While the town was asleep / Every step on the staircase / Had a secret to keep.”
Pay extra attention and you’ll detect some discreet mandolin from Luke during the latter part of the opening verse, helping to build momentum for the chorus that follows – complete with additional fiddle from Sarah, and upright bass from Adam Fine – and last, but not least, some stunning three-part vocal harmonies: “All the words I remember / And I remember the tune / At the end of September / And me and you / And the Lunenburg moon.” Recorded at Sonic Temple Studio in Halifax, this warm September tale offers a gentle introduction into the “wintery snow-globe” of the album set to follow later this year.
Accompanying this single is a delightful music video that perfectly captures the sentiments and nostalgia offered through the lyrics. Recorded by Katy Hopkins (Analog Songs), the video opens in the beautiful setting of St. John’s Anglican Church in historic Lunenburg – the real-life setting of the song’s opening line – with Terra, Sarah, and Luke congregating together in front of the grand pipe organ, instruments in hand, and featured several times as this visual version of the song plays out. “Now we’re far from the harbour / And the ship has sailed on / And the shore wind blows colder / The longer you’re gone,” Terra sings, captured by Katy taking a romantic evening stroll through this charming town to relive those intimate moments at the tail end of summer. “Now I wait by the window / And I watch the snow fly / And I’m miles from the ocean / With no moon in the sky.”
We are excited for the release of “Chasing Rabbits,” a collection of winter songs that, per Terra, stretch from the woods of Hants County all the way to Saigon. “These stories of family life and wildlife with crystalline piano, warm horns, cinematic strings, and tight harmonies will make the perfect soundtrack for a snowy drive home,” she shares. Based on the strength of “Lunenburg Moon” alone, we cannot wait to share this musical journey when the album drops on November 14th. “All the words I remember / And I remember the tune / At the end of September / And me and you / And the Lunenburg moon.”
Photo Credit: Katy Hopkins