This list of original music is made and released exclusively by artists from my hometown, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. If you need proof that we’ve got an incredible scene, put this in your earbuds and go for a long walk with coloured leaves crunching underfoot.
This weekend a stranger passed me a note. I was between songs, on stage in front of an audience. I'll tell you what it said in a moment.
First, let's talk about that stage. It's small – not really a stage at all. It's a patch of wood-printed vinyl in the corner of The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse. This little coffeehouse lives in the heart of city's most complicated, conflicted and wildly beautiful neighbourhood – Alberta Avenue. The neighbourhood my family moved out of a year ago for complicated and conflicted reasons.
It's the end of July and I'm sitting in a shack under the stars in Santa Fe, New Mexico, sipping whisky with friends.
This particular whisky is peach flavoured, and not very good. A friend of mine loves peaches. And loves whisky. So this seemed perfect. She, like me, comes from a religious background where drinking is taboo. There's a shiver of rebellion as we pull this bottle of oblivion from the shelves of the Saints & Sinners liquor store.
The whisky is too sweet and too fruity for most of us in the shack, but not for my Christian poet friend. She's fallen in love with peach whisky without first learning how to pour a sensible amount. The sugary, smooth whisky goes down too quickly and none of us notice.
Over the next half hour, we watch her sway from teetering to toppling over as the liquor sets in. I hold up the bottle and it’s nearly half gone.
I get worried.
We wait it out while she lies on the bench, moaning and asking if we love her. Of course we do. Beyond telling her this, we're not sure how to help her. We are half a kilometer from her dorm room, down a steep hill. There's no way we can get her there without a commotion and some bruises.