Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tour Day 31 - Home

Safely home!!!

An amazing month. It'll take a while to process it all.

A few notes:

  • 6138 KM
  • 5 provinces
  • 11 performances
  • 3 ferries
  • 2 new songs
  • 100+ photos
  • 12+ hours of video
  • 3 guitars we wanted to buy but couldn't afford
  • countless hours of visiting, chatting, sharing, and eating

A huge thank you to everyone who has shared this adventure with us!

We truly appreciate your prayers and your support. I'll let you know when the rest of the photos and videos are posted.

For now - family, puppies, laundry...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tour Day 30 - Montreal

- awesome brunch

- stunning Anglican cathedral

- lots of walking

- free espresso tasting and demo

- amazing public art

- lots of photos

- exploring the underground city

- all you can eat sushi

- reflecting on the past month

- packing for tomorrow

One more day of driving and we're home. I can't believe it's been a month.

There's so much to process, and we'll be taking lots of time for that over the next few weeks.

For now, I'm just ready for a safe drive tomorrow, and a happy reunion with our puppies!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tour Day 29 - Back in Montreal

I know lots of areas are suffering today from Irene, but things seem thankfully untouched here in Edmundston.

So now, we're very much on the way home.

After two long days of driving, we decided to spent the next two nights of our tour just as we began - in Montreal.

We had dinner in a fantastic Italian restaurant with a super-cheap lobster special and platters of pasta. When the violinist visited our table, he played my request of La Vie en Rose. What a glorious start to the evening!

As we wandered the streets of Montreal, we found a sprawling music store called Archambault. It was huge! The first floor and basement contained CDs and DVDs. The Gospel section and the Swing section were side by side - it's like it was designed for me!

The second floor contained thousands of music books, sheet music, scores, and even more CDs and listening stations.

The third floor contained instruments and gear, so this is where we spent most of our time. In every city we visit, Gerald always tries to find locally built guitars, and there are lots in Montreal. We found some great handmade Boucher guitars, including a big-sounding, tiny guitar that we took turns playing. It's rare we both fall in love with the same guitar, and it was difficult to leave her behind.

Gerald also tried a Daddy Mojo. He had seen them online and was very curious. The body of the guitar is a wooden cigar box. Each one is handmade, and the sound is bluesy. They look outrageously cool, but Gerald decided it's more a guitar to look at than play.

One of my favourite memories of tonight: playing a two-guitar version of Brighter Happy Day in the guitar room.

I haven't been playing guitar in our shows lately. I think I want to change that...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tour Day 28 - Hurricane Irene

We got the email first thing this morning.

We'd been watching the reports of Irene, and could see her heading towards New Brunswick. We wondered would happen with our St. Andrew's concert. Even if we could make it into the area, would anyone want to venture out to see us.

When the concert was canceled, we were disappointed but not surprised.

We got in the car and drove. We thought we'd be able to get out of the storm range, but then we heard it's going to hit as far west as Quebec.

So we're hunkered down in Edmundston, NB, and praying for all in Irene's path...

Till the storm passes over,
till the thunder sounds no more,

Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Lyric by Mosie Lister

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tour Day 27 - Bedford House Concert

We awoke to another large day - brilliant sunshine with nary a breeze in sight.

Our first stop was the Halifax Folklore Centre - a brilliant music store! As we played guitars, Gerald told me the story of the last time he was in the store. He was playing one of his original songs when he realized a man was listening to him. The man said "Nice song."

It was Garnet Rogers, brother and musical partner of Stan Rogers.

The highlight of this visit was playing a 1938 Gibson - well worn with a sound to reflect its long, full life. They said it wasn't for sale, unless the right home came along. You know, like if Amy Grant called looking for a birthday present for Vince Gill... then they might consider selling it.

Lunch was a wonderful patio experience with a high school buddy of Gerald's. Love hearing stories of the-teen-who-would-become-my-husband!

Tonight we drove into beautiful Bedford for a house concert. Tom and Elaine have a great living room for a concert - high ceilings, open floor plan, and a willingness to move their furniture around. Most of the audience knew each other, so there was a really warm feeling in the room.

Just before the show, a woman walked up and said, "Remember me?" It was my godmother!! I haven't seen her in years! Apparently, my Mom knew she was coming, but didn't tell me, which was awesome! So good to see her!!

The whole night just felt wonderful! The music felt alive, and people responded really positively to our new song, "Infinitely More." We had lots of time in the intermission and after the show to visit with people, and it was great to hear their stories. There's something so special about singing Gospel music in some one's living room.

Watching the weather reports of Hurricane Irene tonight and wondering about the fate of tomorrow's concert ...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tour Day 26 - Halifax

Writing from beautiful Halifax!

After a deep night's sleep on the ferry, we had a bright day for driving. Our Saturday concert is in Bedford, so for tonight, we found a great little boutique hotel in Halifax. We were referred to a fantastic restaurant called Jane's which featured treats like teriyaki scallops and rhubarb cordial.

For this whole trip, we've been heading east, finding new places every day.

Today was the first day we started driving west.

Still two concerts this weekend, but home is in sight.

Well, two concerts, assuming Irene doesn't bust up the party...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tour Day 25 - The Ferry!

I swear I'm 10 years old when I'm on a boat!

We had an excellent morning in St. John's - awesome brunch with friends, easy packing, and a beautiful drive out to Argentia. Tonight is the long ferry ride - 14 hours!

When we booked the ferry, there were no cabins left. The ship has sleeper chairs, but really, who wants to spend the night that way? We were added to the wait list, and I called several times, but still no cabins. We boarded at 5:00, and I went straight to the purser's desk to ask one more time. I literally cheered when he gave me the key. I think I won the prize as most enthusiastic customer of the trip!

Our room is tiny but efficient - 2 beds (4 if we used the upper bunks), 3 piece bath, desk, table, 2 closets, and a TV.

As soon as we settled in, I went exploring. This ship isn't as snazzy as the Blue Puttee, but it still has a great gift shop, games room, kids zone, internet cafe, and 2 restaurants. There's a brightly coloured lounge with wifi and wrap-around windows. I had a lovely hot chocolate and people watched. I also watched the sunset from the deck. Windy and damp, but really beautiful.

I love being on a boat!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tour Day 24 - Final St. John's Jaunt

Today was our last full day in St. John's, and we couldn't have had more perfect weather!

After swimming through a pile of emails, we headed out to lunch with our friends and hosts, Paul and Carol. We went to a fantastic little cafe near St. Thomas' for great food and vibrant conversation.

Gerald and I then struck out down Duckworth St. for another jaunt through downtown. I bought a little antique at Livyers, one of my favourite treasure spots in the city. We just followed wherever the streets lead, poking our heads into shops, cafes, and other hideaways.

In the late afternoon, we took the winding road up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower. There's lots of history in this area, but for us, it was all about the views. (You can see photos here.)

When I first moved to Toronto, there was something that always felt odd, but I could never put my finger on it. I met a girl from Victoria, and she mentioned how much she missed the ocean.

It's true.

When you grow up looking at the ocean every day, it somehow shapes you. You spend your days next to something truly beautiful, and truly dangerous.

When you live by the ocean,
you're constantly reminded that the world is huge,
and you're just tiny.

Gerald and I found a great little pub downtown for an evening feast of cod tongues, scrunchions, cod, shrimp, and scallops. With the exception of the light fixture crashing from the ceiling at the next table, it was a pretty nice place.

We took an lingering drive around Quidi Vidi Lake, which looked beautiful in the sunshine. Quidi Vidi Village is a little fishing community right inside St. John's. It was always an ignored part of town, but a few years ago, people realized the beauty of living by the water, and lots of new houses have popped up.

We finished the day with more socializing, and some packing. Tomorrow, we head to Argentia and take the ferry to North Sydney, NS.

Praying we get a cabin!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tour Day 23 - St. John's & New Photos!

Today featured classic St. John's weather -

...rolling fog...

You could just see it sweeping across the city.

With the chance to see the ocean gone (you couldn't see hills, much less anything past them), we settled in for a big screen movie and an afternoon of just relaxing. We have a busy weekend coming up, so we're really trying to rest up now.

We spent the night feasting and laughing with family. It's such a rare treat to spend time with them - I'm soaking in every moment.

The relaxing day also gave me a chance to post some photos!
You can see them all here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tour Day 22 - St. John's Downtown

Thanks to a day of glorious sunshine, we were able to spend the entire afternoon downtown!


- Watching Gerald play speed chess and kick butt!

- Sipping lattes at Hava Java.

- Finding awesome music/worship books at Afterwords.

- Getting a private bodhran demonstration at O'Brien's Music.

- Buying an Irish penny whistle at O'Brien's.

- Seeing fantastic artisan work at different shops.

- Enjoying a "Newfoundland Roll" at a sushi restaurant.

- Walking around the gorgeous downtown, enjoying the sights, and seeing a familiar face or two.

Posting photos tomorrow - I promise!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tour Day 21 - St. Thomas' & A New Song!

Today, we spent the day singing at the church where I was baptized - St. Thomas' Church in St. John's. How awesome to walk into this beautiful building! We haven't been here for years, and it always feels like coming home.

St. Thomas' - The Old Garrison Church

The church is currently celebrating its 175th anniversary, and as I sat in the pews, I was flooded with memories of the 150th anniversary, celebrated while my Dad was rector of the parish.

We sang two songs for the morning service, and at the coffee hour, we were hugged and loved by many dear friends!

This evening, we did our concert. It was so wonderful to sing for so many familiar faces.

One of the highlights of the show (at least for us!) was debuting our new song, Infinitely More! This is the song Gerald starting writing back in Cheticamp, NS. We finished the bridge yesterday, added harmony, and sang it tonight. It felt so good to sing it in public, and we received a lot of encouraging feedback.

That wraps up our Newfoundland concerts. We have shows next weekend in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but for the next three days, we can just putter around the city and spend time with family. Hope the weather cooperates!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tour Day 20 - Kenny's Pond

As I'm writing tonight's post I'm indulging in a dark chocolate truffle flavoured with Newfoundland berries. Outstanding!

For a while now, Gerald has been mulling over the idea of having a signature song for Infinitely More. The first pieces came in Cape Breton, and today, the final lines came together. We spent the morning writing the bridge, and we're so excited! We're going to do a final polish tomorrow afternoon, and if we feel confident, we may debut it tomorrow night.

This afternoon, we visited the beautiful Kenny's Pond Retirement Residence for an afternoon concert. We were in a beautiful room on the sixth floor with an amazing view of the pond, and stretching out to Signal Hill.

An ad for our concert in the elevator of the retirement residence.

We had a great crowd who sang and laughed and really enjoyed themselves. After the show, we were invited to join in the spread of coffee, tea, sweets and other delights. What a gorgeous place! Gerald and I considered putting in our applications, but figure we still have a few years before we take that step.

I've been organizing our photos and video from the last week, and I'm going to post some stuff tomorrow or Monday. I'd do it tonight, but we've been asked to sing a few songs at St. Thomas' tomorrow morning, so it'll be an early rise.

My word, this truffle is good!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tour Day 19 - Church of the Good Shepherd, Mount Pearl

We've been itching to get to downtown St. John's, so we took advantage of the sunny weather and headed down for the afternoon. There's no way you can cover all the bookstores, antique shops, cafes, and artisan nooks in one day, so we paced ourselves by just hitting a section of Duckworth St.

We dropped by Fred's Music, where we played an in-store concert on our last visit, about 7 years ago. We were shocked when the guy behind the counter remembered us by name! Fred's is a huge supporter of local music, so we had a great chat about local artists, including Newfoundland's newest friend, Russell Crowe.

Our afternoon ended with a cappuccino, sipped overlooking the Narrows.

There are only 2 things I really miss from home on this trip:
our puppies, and our espresso maker!!

Our concert tonight was at Church of the Good Shepherd in Mount Pearl. It's a fairly new church (the congregation is only 25 years old) with a beautifully open sanctuary and a modern touch in the stained glass.

Tonight was one of these nights when we feel really fortunate to do what we do. There was something awesome moving in the room. We felt very connected to the audience, and we could tell by their singing and their expressions that they were feeling the Spirit too. It sounds flaky when I try to describe it, but it really was potent.

At the CD table, I was able to have some good chats with people. It was awesome to see some great family friends!!

We've been taking lots of photos and videos this week. I'm going to try and post some this weekend. No promises, but I will post a link once they're up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tour Day 18 - Salvage to St. John's!!!

Today's weather was exactly what I ordered: sunny, big sky, bit of a breeze.

We left Eastport and made the beautiful drive to Salvage. We drove slowly to take in all the beauty that surrounded us. The sky was huge, bright, and scattered with puffs of white. The water was the colour of new denim. The greens, browns, and greys of the landscape shimmered in the sunshine.

It's on days like this that people spontaneously decide to abandon city life and live 'round the bay.

Salvage is truly picture perfect. It could be a set created by Hollywood to portray the classic fishing story of Newfoundland.

Our destination was St. Stephen's Church. It was in this beautiful wooden church where my father was baptized. The church was empty today, so we spent a fair bit of time in it, looking at all the details and imagining the generations who have walked its aisles.

We decided to shoot a little video (which I'll post soon), so I sang a verse of "This is My Father's World" - I couldn't resist the double meaning.

In the afternoon, we had a relaxed drive into my birthplace, St. John's! There's nothing like being home! We're staying the next week with lifelong family friends. We have 3 concerts this weekend, and then 3 play days. I'm going to enjoy every second!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tour Day 17 - Eastpost, and New Family History

I'm almost giddy remembering the events of tonight.

The Parish of Salvage is a five-point parish, and tonight we sang in gorgeous Holy Cross Church in Eastport. The sanctuary is so striking. It's build in a cross shape, with high open-beamed ceilings and lots of handcrafted details.

We had a great concert with an audience full of sweet people. We added a new song - "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" - that went over really well.

We were excited to sing in this beautiful church, but in the interest of full disclosure, we had another reason to be excited about tonight.

Salvage is my Dad's birthplace!

He didn't spend his whole life here, but I had a secret wish we might meet someone who had known my Dad's family. Before and after the show, I met a lot of people who knew my Dad in one capacity or another, which was great, but then I met Bride.

Bride knew my grandmother.

Dad's mom passed away when he was very young, so there are few family memories of her. I felt like I was touching a piece of lost history tonight. I couldn't believe it when Bride started naming the members of my family - she knew them all! She mentioned how she would visit my grandmother and her sister. She said my grandmother was a beautiful woman, and a sweet lady.

But then she shared the best piece of information - my grandmother could sing! Apparently, she played piano, and was a "beautiful singer". My heart jumped! I don't think I've ever heard this about her before. I have great memories of Mom's mom (my Nana) singing in the church choir, but it was awesome to hear that about Dad's mom too! I felt my roots get deeper and stronger.

It's hard to put my feelings about all this into words. I was so truly blessed by tonight. Really looking forward to spending a little more time here tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tour Day 16 - Indian Bay

For a province that's had a terrible summer, we've really been blessed with a lot of great weather since we arrived.

Today was not one of those days.

Between pouring rain, wet twisting roads, and watching for moose, it was a slow drive to Indian Bay.

But the drive was well worth it. We're staying the night with our good friend Rev. David Coffin. We met David years ago when he was the rector in Botwood, and he's got a great spot here in Indian Bay - beautiful community, and a rectory with a stunning view.

Tonight's concert was sponsored by the church but held in the Lion's Community Center - a large space with a great stage. We had a fantastic crowd who sang along and gave us a lot of encouragement.

David is a great singer, so in the second half of the show, we invited him up to sing with us on "This is My Father's World." As we've been driving through the gorgeous east coast provinces, this hymn has come to us many times. Little did we know that it's also David's favourite hymn! He and I each sang a verse, and the three of us sang the last verse with harmony. Awesome!

With Rev. David Coffin, after the show.

I'm always challenged standing at the product table after the show. Yes, we want to sell CDs, but we also hear many stories of the challenges people are facing. Last night was no exception. It reminded me of the stakes of what we're doing up there on stage.

There's an old adage in ministry:
Treat everyone like they're hurting, and most of the time you'll be right.
So true.

After the concert, we stayed up late chatting and sharing stories. We'll never become millionaires working in ministry, but after a night like tonight - good friends, good stories, good food - our life is rich indeed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tour Day 15 - Treasure Hunt!

We started the day with a creative meeting. As today marks the midpoint of the tour, we figured this was a good time to check in with each other, review our program, and make plans for the next set of shows.

We also watched some of the video we shot in Leading Tickles. I'm hoping to cut and post a few songs soon.

The weather this afternoon was perfect, so I headed out and found a walking path where the old railway used to be. I have so many memories of playing on those tracks as a kid - walking on the rails and picking up stray spikes.

A plate from the long gone Newfoundland Railway.

The path lead me to a hidden rocky beach. I had to climb down through some long grass and stinger nettles to find it, but once there, I felt like a 10-year-old.

Spoils from my treasure hunt!

I found all kinds of treasures - luminescent white shells, coloured stones worn smooth by the waves, and buffed pieces of sea glass. One of the pieces of glass was from an old Javex bottle which, according to my online search, was manufactured in either 1956 or 1966 by Dominion Glass.

Javex bottle sea glass.

Our final night in Botwood was spent the best way we could spend it - sitting outside, enjoying a great meal with my awesome family.

Tomorrow, back on the road...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tour Day 14 - Scrunchions, Frogs, and Risque Worship

This morning, we returned to St. James' Church in Botwood to sing for their morning service.

We decided to do Gerald's song "All The Things I've Broken" because it really fit the sermon, and "Just a Closer Walk" because, well, it's fun. During the sharing of the peace, the organist asked if we would also do the offertory, so we added "Give Me Jesus."

At St. James', they sing a lot of their liturgy to energetic music, so the whole service had a joyful, but still worshipful, feeling.

The rest of the day was devoted to relaxing with family. We took a spin down to the museum and gift shop on the old airbase. Out on the base, the Salvation Army Church was holding an open air service. The speakers and band were set up in a grassy area. The place was packed with cars, and most people either sat in their cars or just stood outside. Kind of reminded me of a drive-in movie. The music was fantastic, of course. Had I known they were doing the service, I probably would have attended. I really love seeing worship outside the walls of the church. I'm sure some people find it cheesy, or maybe even offensive, but I think that's why I find it daring, exciting, and even a little risque.

For dinner, we visited a great restaurant and indulged in Newfoundland specialities - fresh cod, scrunchions, and partridge berries. The weather today was just stunning, so after dinner we visited my cousins' for a bonfire, complete with smores and catching frogs (led by my 9-year-old cousin).

I just love being here. I really wish there was a shorter commute between Toronto and Botwood.

When someone invents teleportation, let me know...

More photos!

I'm on a roll!

I've just added the photos from this weekend's concerts in Botwood and Leading Tickles, NL.

You can view them here:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tour Day 13 - Leading Tickles, NL

We left Botwood after an early supper to take the rolling, scenic drive to Leading Tickles for tonight's concert.

Leading Tickles is a gorgeous little town, especially on a sunny day like today. The town is actually on an island, and the water, views, and hidden feeling give it a special quality.

I've had a few people ask me about the origin of the name "Leading Tickles". Locals just call it The Tickle, but I haven't learned any real history yet. If anyone has any, please leave a comment!

A few years ago, the Anglican church was burned to the ground. With a lot of donations and hard work, a new sanctuary was erected. I would call this new church modern-traditional. It looks like it's been there forever, yet it's bright and new with all the modern fixings.

Unloading gear at St. Nicholas' Church

Our audience tonight was wonderful! They sang along when invited, and even when we didn't invite them, I could see people singing and worshiping quietly in their pews.

After the show, we were hosted to a fantastic spread of homemade sweets and treats.

Tonight was our only night drive of the trip, and I don't mind saying we prayed for a moose-free trip all the way home!

New photos!

I've just posted our Cape Breton photos on our Facebook page!

If you haven't visited yet, please visit our page for lots of tour photos and video. You can see our content even if you're not a Facebook member:

And if you are on Facebook, please *like* us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tour Day 12 - St. James' Church, Botwood

What a fantastic night!

As I mentioned yesterday, it was great to actually have a full rehearsal in the church. We left our gear set up overnight, so when we arrived at the church tonight, we just had to do a few last minute adjustments, and we were ready to go.

We had a great audience, and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces in the crowd.

My uncle is a songwriter, and a few years ago when they visited Toronto, we all sat for a night and played songs for each other. A few weeks ago, I found the lyrics he'd left us, but we couldn't remember any of the melodies. So we picked a lyric that spoke to us, wrote new music, and surprised him with it tonight in the concert.

The song is called "Peace, Joy, and Love" and the chorus is based on Matthew 7:7. We wrote a gentle and lyrical melody that really seemed to fit the words. When we were singing it, I couldn't look at my uncle, but when we were done, I could tell he was pleased, which made it all worth while.

After the concert, there were tea and buns and lots of fellowship. My little cousin, Christian, came back to help me at the product table, and there were lots of hugs and laughs all around the room.

Looking forward to singing in Leading Tickles tomorrow night!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tour Day 11 - Rehearsal

It's nice to finally be settled in one place for a few days.

After a relaxing morning, we visited the church where we'll be singing tomorrow night. We had the luxury of actually setting up all our gear and doing a full rehearsal in the sanctuary. After a few days of driving, it was great to touch and tweak all the songs. We usually get about an hour or so to set up for a concert, so it was fantastic to have several hours to really adjust our sound and get used to the acoustic.

Tomorrow, we'll have a quick sound check, set up our CDs, and then have the concert. After the show, the church is hosting a reception right in the sanctuary, so we're really looking forward to a great night!

If you're in the area, here are our weekend shows:

St. James' Anglican Church
Friday, August 12

St. Nicholas' Anglican Church
Leading Tickles
Saturday, August 13

An offering will be taken at each concert.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tour Day 10 - We're in Botwood!

I don't have the exact mileage in front of me, but so far, we've driven over 1700 KM on this trip. And we have the gas bills to prove it!

Today was another full day in the car as we headed east towards my Mom's home town of Botwood. My extended family still live here, and the town is full of great memories for me.

Our drive today was clear and easy. We spent a lot of the time listening to music and singing along. We've been giving ourselves different vocal challenges, like trying to learn both an upper and lower harmony on the same song. Other times, we just switch into silly songwriting mode, improvising ridiculous lyrics and trying to crack each other up. Yes, over 1700 KM and counting...

We always love trying local and unusual food on our travels, so today, we tried moose burgers. They had a really distinct taste - kind of gamey, I guess? We liked it, but I don't know if we'd order them again.

I'm so happy to be in Botwood now! We'll be here for several days, and we have concerts Friday and Saturday night. It's so awesome to be around my family. The next few days are gonna be good!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tour Day 9 - Taking the Ferry

We're in Newfoundland!!!! Whoo-hoo!!!!

Today started with more fog and rain, but it didn't affect our travels. We arrived in North Sydney at lunchtime and boarded the ferry for an afternoon crossing.

I haven't been on the ferry in years, and the new ships are great - big windows, plenty of comfortable seating, cafes, a restaurant, and even an internet cafe. We found a lovely table by the window where we could work on some music. It was a loppy crossing, and lots of people were having trouble, but luckily, I have good sea legs. Actually, we found a few sleeper seats, and the swaying of the ship lulled us into a great afternoon nap. It made me think of the story of the storm when Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat. Maybe he was lulled to sleep by the swaying of the ship too...

We've settled in for the night in a great hotel with a fantastic view of Port aux Basques. We have a good internet connection here, so I've just posted a bunch of photos on our Facebook page.

Tomorrow is another long drive, and then we settle for a few days.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tour Day 8 - Cabot Trail

Everyone says the Cabot Trail is beautiful, but nothing really prepares you for it. Every turn was breathtaking! And despite the weather - rain all day and fog for the late afternoon - we still loved every minute of it.

Early in the day, we visited St. Pierre Church in Cheticamp. It's a fantastic and elaborate building, erected with local stone by local builders in the early 1800s. A few tourists drifted around, but when the sanctuary was empty, I sang a verse and chorus of "It is Well." What an acoustic!

As we drove through the hills, the stunning views and fascinating artisan shops ignited our own creativity as we thought of new ideas for our concert. I picked up a handmade songwriting journal and we started to play with a few new song ideas.

Tonight, we settled into Ingonish Beach for a cozy night in a fantastic, family run hotel.


New Video!!

One thing we didn't realize pre-tour was the sporadic internet connection we'd have in some of the rural areas. (Yes, we're spoiled Toronto snobs! We get it!)

I've posted a video we shot in Montreal. You can view it on our facebook page and our youtube channel.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tour Day 7 - Cape Breton

Today we hit Cape Breton island!

These are our vacation days before the next big chunk of the tour, so we're taking it easy, driving slowly, and taking in the beauty of our surroundings. We're doing our best to enjoy the area without getting caught in the many tourist traps of this busy region.

I'm not usually one to blog about food, but tonight, I indulged in a lobster dinner. I'm sure hundreds of lobsters were consumed in Cape Breton today, but nobody enjoyed their lobster as much as me!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Tour Day 6 - Antigonish

Today was another full day of driving, with fantastic, clear weather.

We've crossed the border into Nova Scotia, and we've decided to spend the night in Antigonish. This is a gorgeous town, with stunning churches and a beautiful downtown. We unwound from our drive with a lingering walk and an awesome seafood feed.

We have wifi in the hotel, so I'm trying to catch up with my online stuff. I'm hoping to post some photos and videos tonight, but the internet isn't very strong, so we'll see how it goes.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Tour Day 5 - Fredericton Fun Day

So the original plan was to play Halifax this weekend, but that concert moved to the end of the month, so we're having a few vacation days as we head east!

Today we hit beautiful downtown Fredericton. We strolled the streets poking our heads into cafes, bookstores, and patios. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon at Tony's Music Box Ltd - a great music store with good guitars and musical staff.

We wandered through the Garrison District soaking in the creative beauty of the city's artisans - pottery, glass, fabrics, jewelery, woodwork. I didn't buy anything, but seeing all that art and walking by the river just feeds my artistic soul.

We're staying on the dairy farm again tonight, so after dinner, we had a full tour of the barns. Over 100 cows and calves, learning the ins and outs of farm life. We were invited to wake at 5:00am to watch the milking, and even though my brain thinks that would be really interesting, the rest of my body refuses to comply.

We've really had a great time here - lots of chatting, laughing, and cups of tea...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tour Day 4 - St. Thomas, Stanley, NB

Tonight, we held our first concert of the tour in Stanley, New Brunswick.

Our hosts for the weekend own a dairy farm, so we're situated on acres and acres of rolling hills and farmland. Just gorgeous country!

St. Thomas's is a beautiful old wooden church with a long history in the community. We had a great audience that even included a few old friends.

Over the past month, we've been working on our live show, tweaking and changing songs, trying to make an evening that would be both fun and encouraging. Tonight, it felt like things were in really good stride. The audience sang along when invited, and several times, I noticed individuals quietly singing their favourite praise songs or hymns.

After the concert, we were treated to an awesome reception with tables full of homemade biscuits, sandwiches, squares, and fresh fruit.

I have limited internet access today, but later this weekend I'll post some photos.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tour Day 3 - Signs of the East Coast

We've landed in Edmunston, New Brunswick for the night.

A few signs we're definitely heading into East Coast territory:

- Fog so thick you can't see the road in front of you.

- Awesome place names - Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha! anyone?

- Irving gas stations!

- Moose warning signs.

- Increased prayers we don't see a moose on the road....

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tour Day 2 - Montreal Adventures

We arrived in Montreal last night after a good day's drive. Our plan was to get up this morning and continue our drive east, but we were having so much fun, we decided to spent the day in this fantastic city!

This morning, we visited Gerald's alma mater, the National Theatre School. (Gerald graduated from their prestigious playwriting program.) A staff member gave us a tour, and it was great to put a physical space to all Gerald's stories.

The National Theatre School.

We spent the afternoon walking around Old Montreal. Gerald was tempted by a lovely Taylor guitar at Steve's Music. We took countless photos of Notre Dame Cathedral. We ate amazing meals. We saw fantastic art and architecture, and just loved the vibe of the city.

Notre Dame - main altar and crucifix.

I visited Notre Dame years ago, and even knowing it was going to be beautiful, it still took my breath away. The paintings, carvings, stained glass - all detailed and glorious.

As I knelt at the altar rail and soaked in the overwhelming beauty, I realized that a church like this had to be designed to make us think of the glory and awe of God. This isn't an intimate worship space. It reflects the grandeur and power of a majestic God.

And as I prayed, I thought,
"This beauty is amazing, but it's truly nothing compared to the beauty of God.
And if this is overwhelming, what will it be like to stand before the glory of God?"

Monday, August 01, 2011

Tour Day 1 - We're on Tour!!!!

After months of planning, booking, and mapping it all out, we've started our East Coast Tour!

Today was a driving day, and we're spending tonight in Montreal. Our first show is Thursday in Stanley, NB.

All our current dates can be found on our Calendar, but check back often as we anticipate adding a few events along the way.

We'll be continuing our Tour Angels program throughout the month. If you haven't signed up yet, please visit our Tour Angels page for more info.

And you can also visit our new YouTube channel! We've started with a video from our recent Plein Air Concert, and throughout the month, we'll be adding lots of tour video.