Back in 2005, a gaggle of Winnipeg veteran musicians gathered at McNally Robinson Bookstore to celebrate the release of John Einerson’s book, Made in Manitoba: A Musical Legacy. The book celebrated the significant musical contributions of Manitoba’s finest—The Guess Who, Heather Bishop, Eagle and Hawk, Al Simmons, Tom Jackson, Graham Shaw, Streetheart, Neil Young, Fred Penner, The Crash Test Dummies, etc. —and the gathering was a festive riot of our province’s most colourful characters. It was so fun to bounce from table to table greeting new and old friends, many of us having played in each other’s bands and projects over the decades, and an absolute delight to be gathered and celebrated in one place at the same time.
In the midst of the revelry, someone took the microphone to announce there would be a musical set by Manitoba up-and-comer Alana Levandoski. Most in attendance didn’t even look up to acknowledge the announcer… we were having our own fun. I remember thinking, “poor thing, she doesn’t have a chance.”
I knew who Alana was, and had met her once or twice but didn’t really know her. She took the stage and quietly started to sing to the unattending throng in front of her. To my astonishment, within about a minute, we all silenced to a hush as her prairie-cana voice and song captured our hearts and kept us rapt for the rest of her set.
Since that time, Alana has toured relentlessly over North America and Europe. We’ve become friends and I’ve been privy to some of the highs and lows of her career. Life on the road is more difficult and fragmenting than most would expect. A couple of years ago, twin pressures from her private and professional life brought her to a near breaking point and she wisely chose to pull out of the fray to re-collect and re-orient her fractured self, settling near Edmonton where she met and married Ian. The two now have a gorgeous and hilarious son named Oliver.
Alana is a Christian and a natural contemplative with a theological bent and a gift for communication, be it through stage or pen. Her recent season of recollection and recovery has produced a handsome bundle of deceptively simple song/prayers somewhat inspired by the music of Taize in France, but with her own folksome twist.
I’m proud to say that we (Signpost Music) are involved in getting these songs recorded for release on CD in September, 2015. Murray Pulver and myself are producing the record, and then Alana will be joining me on several concert dates across Canada this fall. Like so many other artists I’ve been privileged to introduce, I think my fans are going to love her and find her music very compelling.
Currently, we’re still hoping to raise support money for the project and tour through a Kickstarter campaign. We hoped to raise a minimum of $10,000 for the recording (which we’ve achieved) and now hope to raise a little extra to help with the costs of promotion and touring. If we could get the donations up to $15,000 that would be magnificent. These days, album projects and tours rarely recover their costs through commercial means and require patronage to sustain the art.
Would you consider helping? Below is a link to the Kickstarter campaign where you can donate. Below that is a rough mix of one of the songs in its early stage. Enjoy.
electric guitar: Murray Pulver / dobro: Joey Landreth / keys: Zach Antel / bass: Gilles Fournier / drums: Daniel Roy