Singing Again

My Dad gave me my guitar for Christmas when I was 16 years old, along with the Simon & Garfunkel Music Collection complete with chords. I started playing immediately, practising my chords over and over again until my fingers would be throbbing in pain. I loved it. I always loved singing, sang in choirs and school musicals, and my guitar was my way into deepening my expression. I started writing songs shortly after, and songwriting, singing and playing my guitar became a fundamental part of who I am. My guitar came everywhere with me through my 20s. In my last year of university, I decided to give away all of my possessions, except for my guitar. After university, I hitchhiked across Canada with my guitar in hand. I performed in bars and open stages across the country, not with any ambition to become famous, but because it truly was my favourite thing in the world to do. When I sing, I feel alive.

But life gets busy and practical priorities sometimes overshadow passion. By my late-20s, my wife and I were planning the next phase of our life, of becoming moms. And my 30s was consumed with motherhood – making children (which we learned was not easy for us…), creating our family (non-traditional, solidifying our relationship with the fathers of our children), trying to figure out to balance motherhood and work ambition and exercise and finding time for self-care. And in the midst of this, my passion for singing fell off my radar. I was too tired and completely consumed with family life.

I realized, on the night of my 39th birthday, that I needed to start a band. I felt intense, realizing that this was my last year of this decade, and I reflected on what my 40s decade would look like. I realized that I had done so much in my life so far, I have two beautiful, amazing boys and a loving family, and my job is fulfilling. My 30s has been full and wonderful, but music is missing. And I realized that I had never been in a band, and I wanted to play music with others. When I sing, I feel alive. When I harmonize, I feel like I’m in heaven.

There is research showing that major life changes happen at the ‘end of decade’ years – 29/39/49 etc. Starting a band is certainly not as extreme as the examples in the article, of having an affair or attempting suicide. But I believe my band represents the idea that this is a 12-month transition to a new life stage. I am transitioning to my 40s, where life will be a little bit lighter and more full with song.

We’ve called ourselves ‘Folked Up’, because with a guitar, flute and ukulele, we’re really folky. We play a mix of folk songs and other tunes, with the aim to ‘folkify’ pop/rock songs. Here’s a few clips from our first performance for your enjoyment!

Young Girls (Bruno Mars)

All I Want and Karma Chameleon (Boy George)

Jolene (Dolly Parton)

I’ll Fly Away (Traditional)

p.s. I imagine my band to be ‘kitchen-sink’ style – the more, the merrier, lots of jamming in the kitchen. I am inspired by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I would like lots more instruments and voice. I am practicing harmonic and tambourine to add more instrumental diversity. So…if you are interested in jamming, let me know – the more, the merrier!



One thought on “Singing Again

  1. Oh Jen, my heart is full when I see you singing with your band… music is part of your soul and demands to be heard. Your harmony is so wonderful and shelter valley needs you guys, audition for the contest and you could join the Good Lovelies who started there. amazing and I am proud again to be your mother. love as always and forever, mum

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