A look back on 2010.  Happy new year!

Winterfolk Festival (photo: PJ Slack)

Canadian Music Week Festival (photo: Sevrina Fernandes)

Video shoot with Spencer Heath & Simona Mindy (photos: Simona Mindy)

Video still

Paris!

Hemingway’s old haunt..



Sitges, Spain; close to Barcelona

After a soccer game in Barcelona!

Becel Ride for Heart – after the rain.  Thank you to my sponsors for helping me raise over 1,000!

Acoustic Beatles duo – me and Kevin Zarnett.  Fun fun fun.

Gigging with Limehouse & Jason Wilson (below)

‘Lara’ on the poster.. that’s okay, I’m used to it by now..

Windfall Ecology Festival show in Newmarket, Ontario

Toronto Jazz Festival & mandolin debut 🙂

I don’t think this record is going to play…

Canola fields forever…

This is Lake Huron, believe it or not.. beautiful!

That’s a LOT of balloons.  With Kevin Zarnett before performing acoustic Beatles songs for a cool crowd!

Recording with Limehouse

With Sunray Grennan

On tour in Portland, OR – waterfall…

Marquee in Seattle, WA

Vancouver, BC

The Cellar in Vancouver

CBC Taping with the band

Host Garvia Bailey

Beautiful, snowy Montreal

.. all the best for 2011!

– Larra


Had a lovely time playing the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival again this year.

Here are some photos (thanks to Christopher Lansing):

I was fortunate to have two special guests for our show; David Occhipinti on guitar and Jessica Stuart on vocals.  David ended up playing an entire set with the band.  He’ll be joining me again next Wednesday at Clinton’s for a duo gig.  He sounds great on my original tunes!

Here is a video of us doing a cover of the Gnarlz Barkley tune ‘Crazy’ (the Shawn Colvin version), featuring Jessica Stuart on vocals:

Peace & love,
LS


When I finished high school, I couldn’t wait to leave my medium-sized town to move to Toronto.  I was 19 years old, and the city held promises of new friends, late nights, live music everywhere you looked, and above all, freedom.  I didn’t want to live in the university dormitories (I cringed at the whole concept of frosh week), so I moved into my older brother’s house on the Danforth and took the subway to my bookstore job and to my school.

Seven years in, I still love my city of Toronto —  but now I enjoy escaping to the quiet life outside the 416 area code.

My parents live in the country now.  Not in Newmarket, where new subdivision homes are being built in the blink of an eye. No, they live a bit further away.  A few hours further.  Take one road, then another, and then stay on that road for more than 100 clicks.

It’s so beautiful.  Simply beautiful.

And here’s where I find the differences between country and city.

You know you’re in the country when…

1.  You have to clear the snow from your driveway with a tractor, as evidenced below (my stepdad is driving this):

2.  You have three cats and a dog.  In our Toronto apartment, not even one pet is practical.  My kid sister took these photos before I could tell her not to use the camera “flash” directly in the animals’ eyes (but aren’t these animals beautiful?):

3.  You’re going to sleep and you don’t hear anything.

In the city, there are no shortage of noises — buses, cars, neighbours, the annoying motorcycle driver who speeds by your bedroom window at 3 a.m….

When I travel north, I leave the sounds behind.  This allows me to create new sounds that turn into new songs.  My latest song, “Don’t Think, Just Feel” (unreleased) was finished during my last trip to the country.  It’s a nice place to put your thoughts in order.  Aside from the four animals running about, it’s generally quiet and peaceful.

Enjoy the photos below of the winter wonderland that is Grey County, Ontario.  The first one looks like the surface of the moon to me (minus the glare from the window).

Now I’m turning on my electric guitar amp to practise for my Canadian Music Week (CMW) showcase with my new muse, the Epiphone Sheraton.  I’m back in the city, after all.  The acoustic guitar can stay in its case for the time being.

Cheers,
LS


Hello there,

Wishing you a happy holiday season. This week, I performed in Norwegian and I want to share it with you. To sing this lovely song by Grieg, I sought out the Norwegian Club of Toronto and now have made new friends (who were witness to my pronunciation at last night’s performance). What a lovely end to a lovely year.

I’ve also been writing some new pop songs and am including a video of my new song ‘Pull Me In’. Please prepare to hear completely contrasting performances — one video is pop and one is classical. Hope you enjoy both!

Thank you for all your support, and all the best for 2010!

Click here to watch:

Cheers,
Larra


Today, I was strolling on St. Clair and listening to this song by the great French band Noir Desir:

… and I noticed that the man walking ahead of me was walking in time to the beat of their song!  My music wasn’t very loud so there’s no way he could hear what I was listening to.  It was just a coincidence that he happened to be marching like a soldier to my favourite French band.

I started walking faster so that I was walking right behind him, and over the sound of my headphones, I could hear his footsteps hitting the pavement, adding to the backbeat of my song.  He turned the corner after a minute, and I nearly followed him in my distraction.  He didn’t miss a beat!

I don’t know about other musicians, but I think loving something too much (like music) can cause these quirks and quarks.  Where you pick up on things that they rest would dismiss as part of a normal day.

Here are my top three music nerd admissions:

1. Sometimes I harmonize with the vacuum – it’s like a bluegrass song.  The vacuum does two parts and I add the third.

2. There’s a little ditty that I hear on the subway, three notes that they play before a TTC announcement.  It sounds like the opening to my song ‘Make Believe’, and I have to refrain from breaking into song in front of my fellow passengers…

3. I beatbox in time with the turn signals when I’m in a car and waiting for the light to change…

What’s your music nerd moment?

 

With fellow music nerd and close friend C.C.

With fellow music nerd and close friend C.C.