December 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Home For The Holidays!

 

Home for the HolidaysI can’t believe it is December already!  I just feel like the older I get, the faster time seems to zip past me. Time flies when you’re having fun I suppose!  I am very excited to be playing a holiday show every Saturday before Christmas this December! Christmas is a notoriously slow month for musicians, so I feel really blessed to be playing music and sharing in the spirit of the holidays with the people I love the most; my fans, my friends and my family.

I truly do love this time of year. There are so many smells that bring back the most romantic and lovely memories. My childhood memories are very affected by smells.  Here are two of my favorite holiday smells…

ORANGES:
Every Christmas, my mother would take a little pot and put it on the stove top with cinnamon, cloves and orange slices; so the entire house would fill with the most wonderful smell. My mother is extremely crafty (this year she felted holiday dill-pickles to hang on the Christmas tree!) and she was always getting the kids to make crafts.  Mom would give each of us kids a humongous orange (or maybe they just seemed big at the time) and she would put a bowl full of cloves in the middle of the table, and she would let us draw a design on the oranges and then push the cloves into the oranges, like a pin cushion. The entire kitchen would smell like oranges for weeks and Mom always had a sticky mess to clean up afterwards.

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HOME MADE BREAD:
The absolute best smell on Christmas eve (the most magical night of the year) was after midnight mass; where all of the Blanchard crew would walk over to Gram and Pop’s (they lived right beside our church) and Grammy would have been baking up a storm all that week. Meat pies, cakes and chocolate squares; but the best smell of all was Grammie’s fresh homemade bread. Grammie never made just the one loaf, and Christmas eve was no exception. All of the cousins would pile into the kitchen to see 10 loaves of the most beautiful golden brown bread on her counter top, cooled to perfection.  Those poor loaves didn’t stand a chance with the Blanchard crew around on Christmas eve. One cousin would grab the bread knife, someone else would grab the butter and we would go hog wild. Crumbs everywhere. If there was a train to carb-town, we were all on board. Toot! toot!

Happy Holidays and hope to see you out at one of the shows this December!

ps. Make sure you keep an ear tuned to your local radio station for my Christmas single “Jenna’s Song” which is back in circulation by popular demand! You can even call in a request it!

Jenna's Song

November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

November tour of the UK & Amazing Audiobooks!

Dan&Meaghan

 

As I write this, I’m sitting at a coffee shop in my sleepy hometown of Charlottetown, PEI the day before I head out on my first tour of the United Kingdom. So much planning has gone into this trip that I can’t believe it’s happening tomorrow! Thank you so much to everyone involved in getting this tour off of the ground; Music PEI, Neil Pearson and EFDSS, Dan Walsh (my touring partner) and all of the venues involved! It’s going to be an amazing experience and I can’t wait to get home and tell you all about it. Click on “SHOWS” along the top bar to see where I’ll be! Be sure to tell your friends and family if they’re in the area!

October was a lovely month where I jumped in my car and drove out for a tour of Ontario (Peterborough, Belleville, Huntsville, Sydney, Kemptville & Rednersville) and it was just great. There is something so therapeutic about loading my car up with snacks, a great travel mug (David’s Tea Tumbler….THE BEST road mug. Get it! Your drink will stay piping hot for days), and audio books. I downloaded two books for this trip that I would like to talk a little about.

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The first was “The Vocal Recovery Warm Up” by Susan Anders.  Without any formal training in my life, I have been finding the more traveling I do and the busier I get; my voice has been suffering BIG TIME.  I always thought that I could jam in a quick vocal warm up 10 minutes before I hopped on stage and that everything would work like clockwork. . For years I did this, and thought that being winded (out of breath) off the top of my shows was normal. What is ridiculous is that I’ve had people ask me (mostly in showcase performances) “Did you warm up before?” and I would come up with some excuse about how I didn’t have time, or just flat out lied and said I did and that I think I was coming down with something.  I play a lot of two hour shows, solo; which means that I do a lot of singing, but on top of that I do a TON of talking, on stage and off.  I also play a lot of house concerts, which don’t usually provide a sound system. I think I had this thought in my head that “great singers don’t have to really warm up; they’re just great” and that if I HAD to warm up; it meant that I didn’t have the chops. Talk about skewed thinking. SO this year has been a great AHA moment for me. I don’t want to have to get surgery on my vocal chords when I turn 30 because I wasn’t good to them now. You wouldn’t run a marathon without stretching would you? I now try to take at least a half hour before a show, to go to my car, put on my warm up exercises and just get into the zone. Going out to my car and listening to my vocal warm ups helps me relax and keep my nerves down before a show; which makes for a nice relaxed show!

MalalaThe second audiobook that I listened to while bopping along the highway was “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai.  I had flipped through the hard copy of the book at at bookstore when it first came out, read a few pages and opted for a new journal instead. It might have been her interview with John Stewart a few months later that peaked my interest again.  I hardly know where to start, and it is just simply not enough to say I “enjoyed” this book. I feel like I was completely enlightened into a world that is so different than my own. While Malala spoke about protesting in her school yard at 12 years old with her friends for the right to learn, I thought about myself as a kid having to be drug out of my bed by my mother as a child.  I heard her voice in my head; “MEAGHAN, you HAVE to go to school, I don’t care if you don’t WANT to”. The pangs of guilt in my stomach lead to tears running down my face, which led to odd looks from passing cars. I was so moved by her story and I have not stopped thinking about the power of one voice. Of my own voice. I’ve been thinking about the times in my life where I didn’t speak up for things that have mattered to me.  I am so blessed to live in a country where I have the right to live the way I want and to state my opinions without the fear of being persecuted.  I highly recommend this read, but particularly the audio book, so to hear the sweet and strong voice of  young Malala; one small voice that changed the world.

What are you reading?
xox
Meaghan

October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

October’s Ontario tour!

Throw back thursday

Hey folks,

In honor of #ThrowBackThursday, here is a shot of my siblings and I with those sweet 90′s backgrounds. Just a bunch of toothless grins eh?!

I’m just sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my home town with a big To-Do list in front of me, an Americano coffee and a nice fuzzy fall sweater on. The leaves are turning and the summer heat is gone.  For some reason, I thought that because the winter was so awful last year, that the weather God’s would bless us with unending summer! But now that fall is here and I can put on my spanx again, I am saying “Amen!” to that. Thank God for spanx season.

Last month I took a fantastic trip to beautiful Quebec City for a gig at their Tall Ships Festival. I packed my bags and was met by a lovely cab driver who gives tours around the city in his off time. It was so great to speak french again! I love the practice. We talked about the beautiful falls and churches and the history of this beautiful city.  The boys from Ten Strings and a Goat Skin were there to play as well and they were a ton of fun to hang out with. Our last night in Quebec, we went out for cheeseburgers, gelato and maple syrup covered potato chips. MAPLE….SYRUP…..POTATO…..CHIPS. It will change your life. I saw stars. I was also taken on a walking tour of the old city and found a bachelor shaming brigade. He told me I could sign ANYWHERE. ;)

bachelor party Quebec

From there I flew down to Athens, Georgia USA to record two new singles with my dear friend and producer John Keane.  He’s the same producer I worked with on my last album and it was SO nice to see him again. He has the most incredible ears and he can play any instrument you put in his hands.  It’s disgusting. haha. I love the air down in Athens. It has such a sweet smell to it. After an evening sitting out on the front porch swing of his studio, I asked John if he noticed it, but he said he didn’t. It must be similar to when people come to PEI and they say “Wow! The smell of that salt air!” I don’t notice it.  After the week of recording, I took a shuttle bus to Atlanta to catch my flight home where I sat next to the loveliest woman from Long Island, NY.  She was a spry 84 year old lady who was going to visit her family. I LOVE accents, and hers was superb. “Lawng Ahhland New Yahk.”.  I was hoping to have a ton of pictures to post from this trip, but I had my phone stolen when out for lunch.

Free undies in hotel room

I love being away, but I also love coming home. I think my favorite moment is arriving at the airport and having my folks or my fella there with a big smile on to pick me up. I feel like my heart could just burst every time.

October is a busy month as well! I’m very excited to hop in my car and hit the road for some Ontario dates! Tell your friends and family if they’re in the area! xoxoxoxo

 

 

 

 

-Oct.16&17 FMO CONFERENCE (private) Mississauga, ON
-Oct.18th HOUSE CONCERT Port Sydney, ON
-Oct.19th ACTIVE ARTS CENTER Rednersville, ON
-Oct.24th THE BRANCH Kemptville, ON
-Oct.25th HOUSE CONCERT Sudbury, ON
-Oct.26th THE GARNET with Melissa Payne Peterborough, ON
-Oct.27th THE SOUP OPEA Belleville, ON

September 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

England & Scotland Tour Dates! xox

Happy September everybody!

Lorne Miller at Rock The Boat Festival Tyne Valley

Lorne Miller shot from Rock The Boat Festival, Tyne Valley

WELL here I am, sitting at my kitchen table, listening to demos from my producer and it feels so damn good!

I am heading down to Athens, Georgia this month to record a few brand spankin’ new tunes to be released to radio and for download and I can’t wait for you to hear them!  I’m also VERY excited to be taking off on my first tour of the United Kingdom, hitting England and Scotland with my good friend and banjo phenom picker, Dan Walsh.  I have been to Scotland, but have yet to set foot in England! I can just taste it already; the fish, chips and tea. :)
In case you have any friends in England, here is where Dan and I will be! Send them out!!

Wed 12th November Stafford, Gatehouse
Thu 13th November London, Cecil Sharp House
Fri 14th November New Mills, Spring Bank Arts Centre
Sat 15th November Nottingham, AFO
Sun 16th November Durham, Laundrette
Mon 17th November Edinburgh, House concert
Tue 18th November Birmingham, Kitchen Garden Café
Fri 21st November Easton, The White Horse

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August 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

Memories of my VERY first summer job!

beach bum

HAPPY AUGUST EVERYONE!
I half thought of just posting some of my favorite photos from the summer thus far, because I think that they really just speak for themselves. If you can’t tell, I am having a fantastic summer. I hope that you are too! After the awful winter that we had here in Canada, I have decided to hell with hiding away from the summer sun and just playing gigs! I am going to make the time to enjoy the beauty around me. I’ve been up picking peas on my fellas farm and went strawberry picking too! I might be allergic to strawberries, but they are so worth it. Haha.

I have been playing so many fantastic shows this summer and have so many more to come! Check out my gig schedule and come see me!
This is actually the first summer in a very long time that I  have not worked a part-time job on the side, which is very very very exciting and makes me very happy. I am so busy with playing shows and writing songs, it is just great. I was driving out today in Hunter River (where I grew up!) and was thinking about my very first job…

My very first part-time job was at the church my family went to every Sunday of our lives. Every summer, they opened up the church basement and turned it into a lobster and seafood restaurant. I was 12 years old and I had a ‘very’ important job. I was the potato salad scooper girl. It was a fairly technical job, I tell ya… I would lay down a piece of lettuce on a plate, haul out the huge buckets of potato salad from the fridge and scoop one full scoop of the pre-made potato salad onto the lettuce bed, topping each serving off with a shake of paprika. I was good at it too! I was fast.  They said I was the best potato salad scooper girl they ever had, but I’m pretty sure they were just buttering me up. It was a great job, but I always went home smelling like Lobster and dinner rolls. My dear summer time friend Maggie Farrell worked there too! She was just a year older and got to be the hostess and I will admit, I was a bit jealous. She might not have gone home every night covered in mayonaise, but did she get  free cup of french fries from the chef at the end of her shifts?  Hmmm, maybe she did….

             One day, my boss came into my potato scoop station and asked me if I was still helping my mom to lead the church’s children’s choir. He was tall and looming, and I was shy, but managed to whisper out a faint “yeah”. “WELL THEN! You should play here at the restaurant while people eat their lobster dinners! What do you think?!” So that’s how it started folks! I would work 4-5 days a week in the kitchen scooping potato salad and would come in on Saturday’s to sing and play guitar to tourists chowing down on their seafood. I have the best memories of singing at St.Anne’s Lobster Suppers. I found my old songbook the last time I moved apartments; the book I used to haul around with me to every Saturday gig with poorly spelled, hand written lyrics on every page. That was the first time in my life that I had people really come up to me and say “Hey! You’re good at that! You should keep that up!”. It really meant a lot at the time and still does today.

Ahh…memories eh?

AUGUST GIGS!
-(Aug.6th)MUSIC IN THE PARK Rustico, PEI 
-(Aug. 7th)CELEBRATION ZONE Charlottetown, PEI 
-(Aug.9th)SONGWRITER’S CIRCLE @ The Mack Charlottetown, PEI 
-(Aug.10th) MONT CARMEL CONCERT SERIES Mont Carmel, PEI 
-(Aug.11th) CAMPGROUND CABARET Cavendish PEI @Parks Canada 
-(Aug.13th) DECOSTE CENTER SONGWRITER’S CIRCLE Pictou, NS 
-(Aug.14th) POOLE’S CORNER CEILIDH with Eddy Quinn and Friends 
-(Aug.22nd) BONNYMAN HOUSE Tatamagouche NS 
-(Aug23rd) UNION STREET CAFE Berwick, NS
-(Aug.24th) ALBERT AND CROWN PUB Alberton, PEI
-(Aug.29th) WATERMARK THEATRE with Zack Squires North Rustico PEI 

Strawbs

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