I’m in the ‘98 drinking water (sober January) and waiting for Claire Ness to arrive. “London
Calling” by The Clash is playing, which, for some reason, doesn’t feel out of place here.
Once Claire arrives, the first topic we land on is her upcoming adventure with her Frenchman: they are looking for the sweet chassis of an old-timey school bus to convert.
To live in said bus and drive it coast to coast with a necessary stopover in New Orleans to “soak up the music”.
This takes me back to my time in New Orleans in 2002 when I saw Fats Domino and Dr. John play a free concert on the banks of the Mississippi River; what a show.
Claire tells me she’d like to eventually build a stage in or on the bus to put on impromptu shows along the way. Sounds like a grand adventure.
I ask Claire if she’s even won an award and at first she can’t really think of anything but then she drops that in 2002 she won two gold ulus and a silver ulu for snowboarding at the Arctic Winter Games in Greenland. She also took home a bronze ulu for sledge jumping at the Inuit Games in 2000 in Whitehorse.
I love all the things you don’t know about people you know.
It’s difficult to stick to a theme with Claire because, like me, she is very tangential. We digress on almost every topic. We briefly speak of sailboats, Varietease, high school, the Yukon Circus Society, being interviewed, our mutual love of both Ben Mahony and Peter Jickling (specifically how we’d like to shrink them down and them in our pocket), Fest Fest, egg analogies, traveling, the Palace Grand, the importance of music, not being mechanics, the colour red, being in love with Frenchies, the elusive “Sneaky Pete” at the ‘98, how awesome our friends are, the legendary Taku bar, and Toronto.
And that was only about a 25 minutes of conversation.
Claire’s goals currently revolve around her music.Ness
She is at a crossroads and wants to focus on branding her band as a complete package. She’s tired of being “all over the map” with her sound and is striving towards more clarity (get it?) with what she has to offer.
To take it to the next level, she would like dedicated members to solidify the band as a whole and give it the creative flow necessary for song writing. Claire tells me that sometimes freedom can come from having boundaries. In this case, locking down what genre you’re going for would be such a boundary. These days she’s on a Western swing kick. Check out upcoming Claire Ness & the Wisecrackers shows at the Rendezvous festivities, Atlin Arts & Music Fest, and the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Fest.
As we finished up, Mark Prins joined us for a spell. He’s been mining out of town for a while and had some music-related questions for Claire. How’d the album release go? How was the tour? I could hear the pride in his voice that his friend was following her dream and it warmed my heart.
Claire Ness is a songwriter, clown, singer, actor, producer, substitute teacher, comedian, MC, artistic director, snowboarder, secretary, roaming entertainer, stilt walker, circus teacher, and balloon twister. One thing she will never be is a lawyer.