The Artful Dodger
As I speak with Julie Doiron near the beginning of her So Many Days tour, she’s in the middle of a one-day trip from Thunder Bay to Brandon. Driving a thousand kilometres straight is a bit of a task for almost anyone, but as a veteran of touring, she doesn’t seem fazed by anything other than the number of daylight hours left.
Her new album So Many Days reflects that diligence, showing how tumultuous the last few years of her personal life have been, but how she seems to have come out the other end of the rough patch. And even though songs like “The Gambler” and “Homeless” are as painfully confessional as ever, time and distance has made it easier for her to play them for crowds. “For the most part, I usually can pull it off and do a good version without getting too upset or anything,” she says.
But although she’s comfortable with the familiar, Doiron hasn’t let herself get caught in a rut. The last few years have seen lots of collaboration, from cutting records with her Eric’s Trip bandmate Rick White as producer, to her new band with Eamon McGrath and the Cancer Bats’ rhythm section. The band’s line-up may seem surprising, but Doiron says that, true to her form, it came together organically. “It was all just friends who were like, ‘You should play with these guys.’ And then I totally did, and it was awesome.” (For now, their records are credited to Julie Doiron and the Wrong Guys, but she’s not sold on having her name so plastered on it. “Maybe in the future, when we put out the album, I would strongly consider changing the name to an actual band name.”)
She’s even got a collaboration to-do list. “I’d still like to try and do something with Chad VanGaalen, I think that would be really fun.” She’s got another in mind, but the name escapes her for the moment. Ultimately, she says, “I just like working with my friends.”
Not that she minds working on her own. Since her first solo effort came out in ’93, she’s been able to shed her shyness and come to enjoy her time on stage. “I’m definitely way more confident,” she says. “I try not to take it too seriously. If I fuck up a part then I don’t really worry about it. I guess those are the things I’ve learned: how to be more sure of myself, and also just have fun.”
Julie Doiron is playing tonight, November 20, at the Artful Dodger. Doors are at 7:00 and tickets are $15 at said doors.