Two years ago, in the span of three months, Kerrville New Folk finalist Lindsay May lost her mother, grandmother and the beloved dog who’d been helping her get through the first two passages.
Gripped by the realization that life can be fleeting, the business graduate who long supported her artistic growth with a corporate paycheck, walked away from her account exec gig to devote herself full-time to the music career she’d been building for a decade.
Though her new EP, Girl with Grit, was written before tragedy struck, its prevailing themes of perseverance and women’s empowerment make the perfect “come-back album” for May, after a period during which she battled through grief and boldly launched herself into the wildly insecure world of the music business.
The album’s characters – all women – are strong, adventurous, resilient, and self-aware, if flawed. And May belts out their stories in a voice as powerful as they are, backed by polished, Nashville-style production and instrumentation, minus the twang.
The songs are original and free of clichés, with melodies possessed of distinctive hooks. Those songs, combined with May’s strong vocal capabilities and her distinctive Americana sound make Girl with Grit a phenomenal outing for a still-relatively-unknown artist.
Raised in Kelowna, B.C., May bought a guitar from her English teacher at age 15, taught herself to play, and began performing her own original songs at open mic nights less than two years later – despite having a mother who actively discouraged her from pursuing a music career. She attended business school to please her family and spent a decade in the corporate world while applying that business school learning to her musical life.
Having brushed off her family’s reluctance about her musical dreams, worked tirelessly to develop her skills at the end of her demanding work days, and survived an intense period of grief, May has demonstrated that she truly is a girl with grit.
Since the release of her 2008 debut, Bronze and Blue, May has been a finalist in the legendary Kerrville New Folk contest, the New Mountain Stage Regional Song-Writing Contest and the Shore 104.3 Sounds of Summer Song Search. She was the runner-up in the 2011 Vancouver Folk Festival ukulele song contest.
May launches her new CD Jan. 26 at the Victoria Folk Society, Norway House, 1110 Hillside Ave. at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5.