Fred Squire and Kate Maki join forces

Over the course of the past month, the traveling folk music duo of Kate Maki and Frederick Squire has been touring their way across Canada, having started their joint tour on May 12 in Thunder Bay. The pair is set to wrap their tour up with a pair of shows here in Atlantic Canada, playing Sackville’s Royal Canadian Legion tonight before the tour officially wraps in Halifax tomorrow evening.

Both Maki and Squire have new records available now; Maki’s latest effort Moonshine has earned her comparisons to Gillian Welch while Squire’s newest effort, Frederick Squire Sings Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits, is a quick but solid follow-up to last year’s acclaimed record March 12.

Originally from Ajax, Ont., Squire has called Sackville home over the course of the past seven years. Though he is soon to be moving out of the region to settle in Sudbury, Ont. he looks back on his time in the quiet town by the marsh fondly:

“Moving to Sackville, New Brunswick was pure adaptation,” Squire starts. “My good friend Jimmie and I were on the way to play the first CHMA Stereophonic festival in 2004 and we hit a devilish patch of black ice outside of Woodstock, N.B.; I am pretty sure it was over Bulls Creek. We made it over the bridge and rolled the car on the shoulder and that was that. We ended up trading the car for the tow, catching a bus to the Sackville Irving, played our show at George’s Roadhouse and got jobs the next day. It was one of those ‘no effort moving like a little river’ type things.

“I’ve played every Stereophonic since then except for last year so it’s time to move on.”

The seeds of Shenandoah and Other Popular Hits were planted last August when the popular Sappyfest Music Festival had wrapped for yet another year. Opting to record with nothing more than his guitar, pump organ and his vocals, Squire’s choice of instrumentation, or the lack thereof, helped make his newest record a sparse and at times desolate-sounding effort where capturing the right emotion was more important than capturing the perfect take.

“After Sappyfest last year, I had a couple of songs finished, had set up two microphones, and then powered the tape deck, speakers and board on and left them in that state for a couple of weeks. I had never recorded that way before; I would typically shut everything down each day but this setup was amazing because I could wake up out of a dream and have a song half-finished and then wander to the microphones in the dark, hit record and finish the track then and there.”

When talk turns to his upcoming Sackville show with Maki, Squire says that their tour has been 100 per cent collaborative.

Rather than each of the musicians performing their own respective solo sets, Maki and Squire set about finding songs they mutually enjoyed and then turned those songs into duets for the purpose of accompanying one another.

“Some songs are hers and some are mine though after performing over this last tour, it feels like they are becoming our songs instead of just one or the other.”

Article published in June 17, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript