Carmen Townsend still reeling from whirlwind 2011

Although Cape Breton native Carmen Townsend has been making music for years upon years, she hadn’t quite experienced a year like 2011 before.

The year began with the release of her full-length debut effort Waitin’ and Seein’ and Townsend was hand-picked by the members of Heart to open their Cross-Canada tour last winter. After touring throughout Canada and the United Kingdom, the year wrapped up with Townsend taking home four Music Nova Scotia Awards this past November in the categories of Female Artist Recording of the Year, New Artist Recording of the Year, Rock Recording of the Year and Recording of the Year.

When the subject of her busy year is broached, you can’t help but feel as though Townsend’s head is still spinning from one of her most successful years to date.

“My only complaint is that the year went by too quickly,” she says. “It was great but it was definitely a bit of a whirlwind year. I find that as I am getting older, time is passing by so quickly and if anything, I just wish that last year has passed by a little slower.”

One of the only negative aspects of 2011 for Townsend was having the group’s longtime drummer leave the band. Townsend says that their former drummer had let it be known that he would be leaving the band and an unexpected broken hand on the eve of a national tour threatened to sideline the group’s plans. Fortunately though, New Waterford resident Steve Wilton stepped up to the plate, learning Townsend’s catalogue over a period of two days and then joined the band on their tour. It turns out the arrangement was no temporary thing; Wilton now counts himself as a full-time member of the band.

“Steve really saved us and ended up bringing a whole new energy to the band and to the songs. He took what could have been a really unfortunate situation and completely turned it around for the best.”

Still reeling from her multiple wins at Music Nova Scotia Week, Townsend is heading into this year’s East Coast Music Awards, being held in Moncton this coming April, with a pair of nominations. And though she is not likely to argue should she win the awards for the categories in which she is nominated, Townsend says it is simply an honour to be invited to the party.

“The East Coast Music Award nominations are definitely a nice feather in my hat. I am still trying to get over my Music Nova Scotia wins to be honest with you,” she laughs. “Having been fortunate enough to receive nominations, I see it as encouragement to keep doing what I am doing.”

Having essentially been on the road from late November 2010 until September 2011, Townsend admits that she has been enjoying the down time in her schedule over the past few months. Nonetheless, she shares that she is indeed starting to get antsy to get back on the road and play.

Townsend’s show this coming Wednesday at Moncton’s Plan B Lounge marks the start of a run of four shows that will also take her to Saint John, Halifax and Charlottetown.

“As much as I have been enjoying the break from being on the road, I find I have been spending some time lately thinking about how much longer until I play my next show,” Townsend says. “I spent four days in Prince Edward Island last week and even during the drive there and home, I felt the spark of wanting to be back on the road return.”

Article published in February 17, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript