Linda McRae’s show at the Ironwood will likely be one of her last gigs around here for some time.
For almost 20 years, since the days when she doubled on bass and accordion in Spirit of the West, McRae has been a fixture on the Western Canadian roots scene and a lightning rod when it came to collaborating and organizing events in Vancouver.
If she wasn’t gigging as a solo artist or participating in sessions with friends like Rodney DeCroo or Neko Case, McRae was working as a member of the board for RANCH, an organization that promotes the awareness of roots music in B.C., or doing the legwork for another Songwriters Roundup concert.
As she prepares for an autumn move to Nashville, McRae has just completed her third solo album, Carve It To The Heart. It’s on Steve Dawson’s Black Hen label, which is also home to Jim Byrnes, Cara Luft and Jenny Whitely.
“The move is imminent. I met an American man and we got engaged on New Year’s Eve and just bought a house in Nashville,” says McRae, whose new beau is not in the music business.
But as far as this week goes, plugging the new album sat at the top of the list of priorities.
“I was fortunate enough to inherit a bit of money a few years ago and was able to focus on studying. I attended songwriters camps and took clawhammer-banjo lessons. At the same time I had been through a lot of rough stuff emotionally and out of it all came this batch of new songs.”
Her first disc, Flying Jenny, was produced by Colin Linden and her second, Cryin’ Out Loud, by Gurf Morlix, Lucinda Williams’ longtime foil in the studio.
“The title track was my reworking of a traditional tune called Carve That Possum. It’s all about strippin’ away all the b.s. and getting to the heart of the matter. I was very much influenced by June Carter’s 2003 album Press On. Carve It To The Heart focuses on storytelling and is the most intimate work I’ve done.”