Kate Reid is on a house tour of the Yukon.
Reid, a self-described dyke folk artist, is on this grass roots concert tour put on by Home Routes, an organization that books performers to do concerts in people’s homes throughout the communities.
The host provides accommodation and an audience for the performer.
Reid has tour dates booked in Watson Lake, Teslin, Whitehorse and area, Dawson, Haines Junction, Carmacks and Old Crow.
Her music is very personal and many of the songs recall personal experiences in her life and, because she is a lesbian, many of the songs are either funny anecdotes from lesbian life or very political statements about being queer.
The personal is definitely political with Reid.
I asked her how her tour has been going and what the houses have been like that she has played in. Knowing that her music does speak very bluntly about being a dyke, I was curious how that was going over.
She said that some places were a bit sketchy. They didn’t know who she was and what she played and although her songs can be very funny, some people sat stone faced and then promptly left at intermission.
One host was concerned that his audience would be uncomfortable with her music and although she knew that maybe it was not going to be the friendliest place to perform, she said it was important to do the concert regardless.
Reid told me that my column about people being uncomfortable around gay stuff was so true and that the only thing queer people can do is expose others to our reality and maybe making it less of an issue over time.
I went to a house in Riverdale to see Reid perform. The venue was not what I expected. It was an older, somewhat conservative-looking couple and their friends.
They didn’t look like the types who had many gay friends or much exposure to pierced punked-out dyke singers.
I whispered to Reid that this looked like it would be an interesting crowd. She responded that, “This is what it is often like.”
She began singing. The songs were hilarious. One recounted her attempts to pick up cute women at the health food co-op.
As Reid sang, she scanned the room locking eyes with each and every person who was there. It was cool. The crowd responded to her energy and laughed and clapped and shouted out comments. She had them in the palm of her hand by the end of the show.
Reid has also played houses where it is a mostly dyke audience and it is a very different atmosphere. I was happy to see her perform where I did because it was more interesting for me to see people of my parents’ generation being exposed to her music and being cool with it.
Reid says that she is often asked why she has to sing about being a dyke. She responds that she “is only doing it for the chicks”. But the reality is that she wants to create provocative, disarming music that makes people think and brings about awareness.
Her music isn’t always centred around queer issues. She wrote a song called No More Missing Daughters about the murdered women in East Vancouver.
Her music is political and speaks about things that matter to her. It is also very personal recounting a childhood that was not necessarily white picket fences in the song Crone Woman. The lyrics say, “and throughout my growing up years I watched my mother live out her life, she weathered the storm called my father.”
If you get the chance to see Reid perform, you will not be disappointed. She is fun and captivating and she grabs you by the hair and takes you on a wild ride into her world accompanied by her acoustic guitar and harmonica.
When Reid isn’t singing dyke anthems and freaking out straight people, she makes her home in East Vancouver with her partner whom she says supports her unequivocally and also does all of her accounting.