It’s hard not to be inspired by the green meadows, abundant wildlife, and vast mountain landscape of Kananaskis Country.
I caught up with Cori Brewster, whose family has called Banff home since 1888, and Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Chloe Albert, to learn more about their collaborative music project The Engadine Sessions: Come to the Mountain, recorded at a remote lodge in Kananaskis Country, southeast of Banff.
Q: How did six Canadian singer-songwriters come to arrive at Mountain Engadine Lodge last spring to write, collaborate, and record The Engadine Sessions?
Cori: Chris and Shari-Lynn Williams, the lodge managers, are passionate about music; five years ago they started a music series called `Music in the Meadow’. This series has become very successful and they wanted to do something more. They convinced the owner of the lodge, Andrew Kyle to jump on board, and thankfully he did. They closed down the lodge, set up a recording studio, and we hung out for six days to write together, collaborate, and then record.
Q. Where you all well acquainted before the sessions, or were some of you working together for the first time?
Chloe: “For the most part, we hadn’t really played together before. We knew who each other were – four of the six are from Alberta – so being in the folk music scene, we definitely knew of each other. The end result was magical. What ended up happening was beautiful collaborations and great live-off-the-floor magic.
Q. What surprised you the most about this collaboration with other singer-songwriters? Or what stands out as a memory for you of this experience?
Cori: Everyone brought such passion, commitment, dedication, and willingness to experiment to the project. It wasn’t exactly a surprise as everyone is very professional, but I think you can hear that willingness on the recording.
Q. Once you settled in to write songs, did you work together or independently?
Cori: Several of the tracks were co-written and I know that it decreased the panic a few of the artists were feeling, trying to get something done for the project. A few of us brought songs to the project that we thought would fit in nicely.
Q. Are there any funny stories or tales of hijinks during this week away? (That you care to share, anyway!)
Cori: We laughed constantly, so much so that we were often told by the engineer to be quiet as they were recording in the next room. It’s hard to get six hysterical women to be quiet when we’re on a roll. Humour is a great stress reliever.
Chloe: “It was like being in camp with a bunch of girlfriends – it was pretty special.
Q. Cori, since your family has lived in Banff and the Bow Valley for more than a century, the influence of “place” has played deeply into your songs… I wonder what you think about the power of music in really describing a place, and also reflecting how a musician is part of a place?
Cori: I feel geography tells us something about a place but songs and stories are what make us dwell in it, feel alive in our surroundings. The best art about place conjures vivid images and emotions such that you can never look at a landscape the same. When you look up at Mount Rundle, walk down Buffalo Street, or see a moose in the meadow at Engadine, you’ll feel a little deeper, see more than you did before, and the music and the mountains will be in your very bones.
The six women involved in The Engadine Sessions gave an intimate concert at The Banff Centre in October, and today we’ve got a brand new recording of that memorable evening on The Banff Centre LIVE! Enjoy the original songs and collaborations of Kat Danser, Suzie Vinnick, Cori Brewster, Cara Luft, Karla Anderson, and Chloe Albert.