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Nanaimo folk singer reflects on life in the remote B.C. wilderness on new EP

Laura Kelsey finds catharsis on latest release ‘From the Woods’
Nanaimo folk singer Laura Kelsey has released a new EP entitled ‘From the Woods.’ (Photo courtesy Allan Webner)

On her latest EP, Nanaimo folk singer Laura Kelsey presents music written while living in the B.C. wilderness and she said those songs of isolation and anxiety are well suited to the age of COVID-19.

On Aug. 19, Kelsey released From the Woods. The EP’s four tracks were written between 2008 and 2012, when Kelsey was living in cabins in the B.C. Interior with a pair of dogs and making music on her own in her spare time.

The songs have been a regular part of Kelsey’s repertoire and fans have long asked her to make recordings available. Kelsey recorded the EP in her home, which she said added to the “remote, basic nature of the songs.”

“It feels good to finally get them out,” Kelsey said. “The current world situation brought back the isolation I experienced during that time in my life and it wasn’t hard to invoke those feelings again when I was finally able to record the songs.”

The EP was made possible thanks to a $500 Showcase B.C. grant from Creative B.C., the provincial body that supports creative industries. The grant program’s goal is to help B.C. musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Kelsey said receiving the grant, her first ever, was “an encouraging surprise.”

“Getting the funding from Creative B.C. has not only helped with bills, but it gave me a little bit of space in my mind to create inside the turmoil of everything that’s going on,” she said. “So it’s like, ‘OK, there’s some money in the bank, it’s OK to let yourself work on some music, even though there’s a pandemic going on.’ And it always feels good to focus on something creative and productive during this time, too.”

Kelsey said she feels like music has seemed “a little less important” since COVID-19 struck, especially with the limitations on live performances, but really “this is when we need music the most, either in the creation of it or the comfort of listening to it.” She said revisiting the 10-year-old songs on From the Woods was a healthy experience.

“It’s been a bit cathartic remembering that there can be times in your life when you feel very isolated, when things seem like there’s no hope, and then everything can just turn around in a couple years,” she said. “So I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen with the current situation as well.”

From the Woods is available here.

WHAT’S ON … Laura Kelsey EP release live-stream concert takes place Thursday, Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m. on Kelsey’s YouTube page.

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