Don’t be fooled by Nova Scotia musician Jenny MacDonald. Although there she is generally viewed as a blues artist, a not entirely incorrect categorization, MacDonald has much more to offer.
MacDonald’s music also runs the gamut from rock to blues. In listening to the songs featured on Bye Bye, Mr. Bluesman, the listener can hear musical influences that easily date back to a time long before she was born.
Performing at Plan B Lounge next Thursday evening, MacDonald’s most recent release, Bye Bye, Mr. Bluesman, was released in 2011 and helped secure the young artist two nominations for Nova Scotia Music Awards that year.
Looking back, MacDonald can’t really pinpoint a specific time or event in her life that spurred her to want to be a musician. It has always been a driving force in her life.
“I have wanted to pursue being a musician for such a long time that I’m not really able to remember when I didn’t want to be a musician,” she says. “Music is a huge part of who I am. I used to sing and dance around the family room and record my favourite cover songs for my parents and their friends.”
Asked about the disparate influences that can be heard in her original material, MacDonald says that the songs are a natural reflection of her appreciation of all kinds of music, regardless of genre.
“I just love good music. It doesn’t really matter to me where it came from or what inspired it. When the elements of the story and the rhythms come together for the final product, it can become something really good. And when you’ve gotten it right, you just know it; there is a sense that this is how the song is supposed to go.”
MacDonald says that she is currently in the preparation stages for her next album which she plans to start recording in April. She says that if there is an overarching feeling to her newest batch of songs, it is the sense that she has finally “gotten it right.”
“The material for my next album is the most sonically cohesive material I have written but I also feel as though it is the strongest material that I have produced to date.”
With more and more artists choosing to crowd-fund their new releases — meaning they raise funds from fans for a specific financial contribution to a project and the fan gets a reward of sorts in return — MacDonald is planning to go down this path for her next studio album as well. She is aiming to raise a modest goal of $7,000.
She is already a veteran of sorts to the idea of crowd-funding albums with her last effort having been made in this fashion in 2011. Back then the idea was still relatively new but things have changed over the past two years.
Moncton’s country band The Divorcees successfully ran a campaign to raise funds for their latest record Four Chapters. Making records is not a cheap endeavour therefore having your fans believe in the music and the project itself is essential if you are hoping to be successful.
“Running these campaigns is a great way for artists to connect with their fans and for fans to connect with their favourite artist,” MacDonald says. “The whole idea of musicians and artists being untouchable is basically gone. The connection between musicians and their fans is more personal now.
“It is still shocking to me when people invest in you as a person, as an artist or as a fan. It is always amazing when people take time out of their lives to come to your show let alone investing money into your project. The perks that often go the fastest in these types of campaigns are the experiences; things that aren’t necessarily tangible. I sold out of co-writing song sessions twice before we even pre-sold 20 CDs in this newest campaign. People want to have the opportunity to see what it is all about.”
Article published in the March 22, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript