Whitehorse-based singer-songwriter and comedian Claire Ness is right in her element; the local performer is releasing a new live album called Jackfish Girl, which will drop with a celebratory concert on September 26 at the Old Fire Hall.
For Ness the concept of a live album contains a certain excitement not present in the studio variety.
“When you’re in the studio and you record (songs) it is this long, drawn out process and you lose the connection to the music,” she says. “I just wanted to lay something down in a good-sounding room.”
For the lion’s share of the album, that “good-sounding room” was the Yukon Arts Centre, where she performed for two sets for the release of her previous album, Hopeless Romantic, in April 2013. Additional tracks were recorded in the Yukon College cafeteria.
Besides her appreciation for the spontaneity of live music, there is another, more practical reason Ness has chosen to release a concert album; she needs her music, a rich combination of humour and pathos, to keep up with her fervent imagination.
“One of the reasons I wanted to do a live album is because I can record songs faster that way than I can produce them in the studio.,” Ness says.
And she doesn’t want to lose her enthusiasm for her new material.
“You’re always most excited about your latest songs,” Ness confides.
Ness is also excited about the release of her new music video, which will also premiere at her CD release party.
The video will feature “Waffle Boarding,” a love ballad that relies heavily on hockey metaphors, with lines like, You’re as hard-hearted as a hockey puck / When I saw you coming I forgot to duck.
To shoot the thing, Ness gathered up a bunch of her friends during the spring equinox and headed out to the Lorne Mountain Community Centre, where they re-enacted scenes from Ness’s funny yet tender song.
Though she claims she “sort of” directed the music video, she is quick to spread the credit around, lauding the efforts of Brett Elliot (cameraman), Jessica Hall (editor), and Scott Berdahl (romantic co-star/opponent).
“It was beautiful,” says Ness of the experience.
For some, the simultaneous release of both a new album and a music video would be enough excitement. Ness, however, is just getting revved up.
Following her party in Whitehorse she will head to southern climes where she will play the Libra Room in Vancouver on September 30. There, she will share the stage with Pat and Curtis Ernst of the locally beloved band, the Whiskeydicks.
Following that, Ness will attend BreakOut West, the annual industry schmooze-fest, in Winnipeg.
“It’s really fun,” she says of BreakOut West. “You learn a lot and you get inspired.”
For her part, Ness has a secret weapon to gain herself some attention. She is bringing a pile of pucks with her, each of which will have a download code for “Waffle Boarding” printed on them.
“I’ll be chucking hockey pucks at people,” she laughs.
Following Winnipeg, Ness will wrap up her mini-tour in Toronto, where she will play at her old circus theatre in Toronto.
Going forward, the plucky entertainer hopes to continue balancing her aspirations in comedy and music. But when it comes to her career as a singer-songwriter she has a definite goal in mind:
“I want to be able to play soft-seated theatres across the country.”
The Jackfish Girl release concert will take place at the Old Fire Hall at 7:30 p.m. on September 26. Tickets are $20 at Dean’s Strings.