September 24th, 8pm, at St. James Hall, Vancouver
Tickets $24 ($20 for Rogue Folk members)
Available at Highlife, Rufus’ Guitar Shop, on-line at www.roguefolk.bc.ca or by calling 604.736.3022
September 28th, 8pm, Victoria Event Centre (Tickets $12-$15)
September 29th, 8pm, Saltspring Lion’s Hall ($12-$15 sliding scale at the door)
October 1, 8pm, Artspace, Prince George ($12 adv. / $15 door)
October 20, 8pm, Revival, Toronto
October 21, 7:30pm, Tallulah’s @ Buddy’s in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto ($12 adv. / $15 door)
October 22, 8pm, London Music Club, London
October 23, 8pm, Free Times Cafe, Toronto ($6 at the door)
October 26, 7:30pm, Showplace Theatre – The Lounge, Peterborough
October 27, 8pm, Little Bean Coffee Bar, Kitchener
October 28, 8pm, Pearl Company, Hamilton
November 3, 8pm, Fusion Café, Woodstock NB
November 4, 8pm, Pump Nightclub, Saint John NB
November 5, 7:30pm, the Company House, Halifax
November 18, 8pm, the Junction Bar, Edmonton
November 19, 8pm, the Jasper Legion
November 23, 8pm, the Ironwood, Calgary
November 26, 8pm, Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay
December 3, 8pm, the Art We Are, Victoria
Kate Reid calls her new album Doing it for the Chicks, but the beautiful thing about Reid’s music is that “chicks” are far from the only people who get off on it.
The out lesbian singer-songwriter and musical comedienne sings boldly and sometimes heartbreakingly about lesbian life, but first, she gets people of all orientations on-side with her outrageous sense of humour and her giddy, self-effacing schtick.
Indeed, if there’s a person left alive who still thinks lesbian feminists lack a sense of humour, Reid will set them…well…not straight…but you know what I mean.
Reid – who was voted Favourite New Discovery in the 2009 Penguin Eggs magazine Critic’s Poll, earned a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year and scored a 2010 Toronto Independent Music Award nomination for Best Acoustic Album – follows the same formula on Chicks that she did on her CFMA-nominated sophomore recording, I’m Just Warming Up, opening the album with plenty of laughs before gradually easing the listener into more poignant tales of isolation and victimization. She then reinjects the levity, closing the album with a confessional tune about closet femininity and an ode to her partner’s adventures in the folk festival beer tent.
The laughs on Chicks begin with “Captain Cupcake and the Cambie Hotel,” a fictionalized account of Reid’s real-life encounter with a cross-dressing tug-boat operator. Then there’s “Steal Me Away,” a tender love song to a kleptomaniac, which is followed by the album’s title track, an uproarious lesbian recruitment anthem, that, in times gone by, would’ve surely been touted by members of the religious right as proof of the gay movement’s dubious agenda. Thankfully, today, straight and gay folks alike can share a good laugh over lines like “I’m here to steal your little lady out from under you.”
And with everyone firmly in her corner, Reid then takes the listener on a journey through the darker and more poignant places in some queers’ and womens’ worlds. “When I was a Little Boy” is a goose-bump-inducing number about life as a gender-non-conforming child. “Revolution” is a fearless modern-day protest song about violence against women, while “Close to the Water” is about healing from childhood abuse and neglect.
Reid’s vocals on Chicks are more powerful than ever before, and her arrangements more boldly country-roots-rock. Her songwriting too has evolved since her 2006 debut, and even its 2009 follow-up. The self-reflective and sometimes humourously angsty tone of Reid’s early work is replaced with confident musical statements, carefully-crafted to deliver their message with a wallop. Having now toured extensively and played major festivals like the Edmonton, Vancouver and Hillside folk fests, Reid has watched how audiences respond to her songs, and she uses that feedback to purposely craft music she hopes will move them.
Reid’s meteoric ascent in both the roots music and “women’s music” scenes represents a personal triumph over many of the types of adversity she sings about. An abuse survivor, she headed west from Ontario after college and spent a couple of years using drugs and living in a dead-end relationship before taking off to the Kootenays to recover from her past. One of the good things she credits her upbringing for is her exposure to music – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Tracy Chapman among others – and the opportunity to play bar gigs with family members. It was the rediscovery of music and her own uncanny talent for it that carried her through the dark times to where she is today.
Reid has performed at the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, been featured in the American lesbian glossy Curve, and headlined major Pride festivals in both Canada and the US.
But Reid’s rare openheartedness and unsinkable sense of humour have also allowed her to do something few outspoken lesbian feminists succeed at: bring her message to audiences outside the core lesbian feminist crowd. On Doing it for the Chicks, Reid once again reaches out with humour and humanity to give people of all orientations a taste of queer life.