Who says that nothing good comes from Canadian winters? In the case of London, Ont.-folk duo The Marrieds, the much maligned winter season gave birth to their band.
In a completely impromptu way, Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy formed the group in 2010 in the midst of one of three days of snow that hit their fair city. The two had met years prior while they were both studying music at the University of Western Ontario. Before long, they became romantically involved, going on to be married (hence the group name) yet they had never made music together before 2010.
Jane says there is a very good reason why it took almost a decade before they began making music together:
“Initially, when we had tried to make music together, we just didn’t get along,” she laughs. “Kevin and I have been together for 13 years, married for almost five but have only been making music together these last three and a half years.”
“We just weren’t the best at taking advice from one another in those early days,” Kevin says, a smile heard in his voice.
One might argue that being stranded together at home during a snowstorm where your city is in a virtual shutdown makes people do crazy things. Starting a band is generally not one of them, however. Was it an act culled out of desperation or one that was in fact a long-time coming?
“We were snowed in for three days and ended up writing a song each day. We posted them to YouTube for our friends and colleagues to recall the crazy snowstorm that had shut the city down,” Jane recalls.
The three songs posted to YouTube, “Won’t You Stay Snowed In With Me,” “Back To Bed I Go” and “All Good Things Must Come To An End” became viral sensations. In addition to each video racking up thousands of views in an overnight period, CBC Radio also crowned the song “The Sound of the Day,” giving the band national exposure.
Fast forward two full-length albums, performances with Kathleen Edwards, The Trews and Bahamas among others and things have been shaping up rather well for The Marrieds.
This past January, Jane and Kevin, both of whom are teachers, took an unpaid leave of absence to focus solely on the band and what they could make of a career in music. They admit to having contemplated making such a move in the past but the timing had never seemed right.
“We were never sure that we would be able to survive on music alone so we saved up our money for a year to ensure that we could continue making ends meet while we pursued music full-time,” Jane says.
“We definitely had to change our lifestyle. We are very lucky to be living in a house but had to be conscious of the fact that our mortgage and various other bills were going to have to be paid. We have managed to make it work but don’t think that we could have done it had we not taken the initiative to have some savings to fall back upon.”
Sharing that they had initially wanted to take an entire year off, a half-year was the more reasonable and responsible decision for the couple to take.
Kevin says that being able to focus solely on music has paid off in ways that they might not have initially anticipated:
“When both of us were working but would be booked for a show on Friday night, you are already kind of exhausted from the work week. Nonetheless, you pack up the car and go do the shows because that is what you want to do but your mind just might not be totally there. You might not play bad but you might not be in that moment quite as much. That has been one huge change that we have noticed since taking our leave – music is our complete focus almost all of the time.”
Because Jane and Kevin have not had to worry about getting up early in the morning to go to work these last five months that they have been on leave, it has opened a few new doors for the duo. They are no longer relegated to primarily performing on weekends so as not to conflict with their teaching, for one.
“Most of the shows that we would play during the course of the school year have been on weekends and are generally never too far from London,” Jane says. “These last five months, we have been able to immerse ourselves in writing and recording music as well, not just the live aspect. It has been really great to find a bit more of a balance to our lives.”
What: The Marrieds
When: Monday, June 9, 9 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton