Julie Doiron makes time for her music

Although former Moncton resident Julie Doiron first gained recognition as a part of seminal indie-rock band Eric’s Trip, she has since gone on to have a fruitful solo career. Eric’s Trip continue to sporadically play shows, but the Toronto-based Doiron has seen her solo career blossom to heights that she did not necessarily anticipate with international tour dates in far-off lands such as the UK, Japan and China, a remarkable eight solo records in addition to numerous collaborations with other high profile musicians such as The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie.

Doiron will be performing in what is the only southeastern New Brunswick show on her current tour, scheduled to take place tomorrow night at George’s Roadhouse in Sackville. Admission to the show, which is scheduled to start at 10 p.m., is $10.

When it comes to her past with Eric’s Trip being a part of her present-day story, Doiron acknowledges that being a member of Eric’s Trip has not hindered her solo career by any stretch. But the fact that she has actually been a solo artist for a longer stretch of time than she was a member of Eric’s Trip is often overlooked. Doiron says she will be the first to admit that she isn’t going to start discouraging people from talking about her past.

“There were times and many ups and downs where I was feeling like Eric’s Trip happened and it’s done – it lasted six years. On the other hand though, if it weren’t for Eric’s Trip I probably wouldn’t be doing what I am doing. I don’t think I would have ever had the guts or courage to become a musician otherwise,” the amiable Doiron says from her Toronto home.

“People often ask me advice on how to get started in the music business and I have to tell them that I really have no idea, that I just kind of fell into it because of Eric’s Trip. I consider myself lucky for that very reason. I have always been very grateful for my experience in Eric’s Trip and I feel that goes a long way in my reputation as well. I have worked at this for so long, I know a lot of people that like my music that haven’t heard Eric’s Trip so it is kind of like I am able to have two fan bases, which is great.”

Throughout her career, Doiron’s endearing, folk-pop songs have always been written from a rather personal, confessional point of view, something she readily admits is not for everyone. She does however believe that her style of writing has helped her fans to feel intimately connected to her material.

“I think that my style of writing songs is a little too personal for some people. But I do think a lot of people are able to identify their own personal experiences in what they are hearing in my music and that is partially why I continue to write in that manner.

“The songs aren’t so much about a specific event in my life as much as they are more about capturing the emotion or sentiment that I have experienced and that I know others have experienced. I try to find a way to write about these feelings or emotions that other people go through so although my songs sound like they are about something very specific, the songs serve as the story I use to get the emotion across.”

The past year of Doiron’s life has been a busy one, having toured virtually non-stop from January through June 2010. Although her critically lauded collaborative folk album with friends Daniel Romano and Fred Squire (released under the name of Daniel, Fred & Julie) was released in December 2009, the trio didn’t tour to promote it until last spring.

Once promotional efforts for that album wrapped up, Doiron started rehearsing as a part of Gord Downie’s backing band The Country Of Miracles and then toured with that group from June through November.

“It seemed like anytime I had off last year was filled with another project of some sort so there really wasn’t much in the way of time off,” she says. “But I’ve been home now since the end of November so I am totally ready for my shows out east. I haven’t even thought about my own songs in such a long time because I had been focused on Gord’s songs and trying to do my best in that band.”

Asked about her upcoming performance in Sackville, Doiron says that there wasn’t too much arm-twisting that went into getting her to play the small university town, especially since she was a Sackville resident for a number of years prior to moving to Toronto. The show Doiron will be performing at is actually the final concert being presented in conjunction with the Stereophonic Music Festival, a fundraising initiative organized by Mount Allison University’s student radio station CHMA.

“I have always been really fond of college and community radio and have performed on these types of stations all across Canada.

“Plus I had radio shows for years, having started out at the University of Moncton and also had radio shows on CHMA. I have played the Stereophonic Festivals in the past so I was really glad that I was able to be a part of Stereophonic this year too.”

Article published in January 28, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript