Katie Avery is a classically trained violinist, but folk and traditional fiddle music is in her blood. She’s just recorded her first solo album, which she describes as being, “inspired by all the beautiful people I have known in my life.”
Avery grew up in Guelph, Ontario, surrounded by traditional and folk music. She’s performed and recorded with her family band, Relative Harmony, on their album, Rolling Home. Her parents, Rick and Judy, have also recorded children’s music and have been featured on The Vinyl Café. “My parents were deeply embedding in the folk music scene in Toronto, so all through my childhood, I would go to parties where the main form of entertainment, other than chatting to people, was to make our own music,” she says. “People were either playing fiddle tunes or they were standing mashed together in a tiny room singing a cappella songs in harmony.”
Avery took Suzuki method violin lessons as a child and eventually studied music at the University of Toronto. “Violin was my main instrument, but because I took music education I got to learn to play trumpet, clarinet, trombone, cello, and guitar. You kind of get a taste for a bunch of different instruments.”
She’s also played with Beneath the Ice, an innovative, Toronto-based trio described as “folk music from the future”. “I was living the starving artist life in Toronto and I got tired of starving, so I came up here to have more of a full-time teaching gig,” she says.
Avery moved to Whitehorse in 2012 to work as a Suzuki violin teacher. Here, she’s continued to play folk music with The Fiddleheads, and has been an accompanying folk-country singer with Fraser Canyon, including his shows last Rendezvous. She’s also performed solo at open mics, accompanying her own electric fiddle using a looper. “I’ve been trying to recreate that jamming atmosphere by myself, hence the looper,” she says. “
The looper allows Avery to temporarily record a fiddle line and play over it, effectively allowing her to be her own live band. Avery’s first solo album, Lake Annie, is named for the train car at the Yukon Transportation Museum where the CD cover shoot took place. “We were trying to decide whether to do the cover inside or outside, and my graphic designer said, ‘Well if we do it outside the train, then the title of the album is Lake Annie.’ Perfect. I was having trouble coming up with a name for the album anyway.”
To help fund the album, she received funding from the Yukon Film & Sound Commission and a crowdfunding campaign, offering a house concert as one of the rewards. She says, “I really like house concerts because you get really close to your audience and you get that party jamming atmosphere like I was talking about earlier. And you can interact with people. It’s really nice.”
The album’s release date has not yet been set, but Avery maintains it will be soon. Lake Annie will be available through CD Baby and available for download on iTunes.