Hilary Grist plays The Clarkson in Barrie
Hilary Grist plays the Clarkson in Barrie. SUBMITTED
Hilary Grist, one of the most creative singer-songwriters in Canada, will visit the Barrie area in the coming days.
On Tuesday, she’ll be at The Clarkson Pub in downtown Barrie. The British Columbia native is touring in support of her second full-length album, Come & Go.
The CD, which is about life in all its ups and downs, is a bit of a different direction, instrumentally, from her first.
“Last time, I was like a kid in a candy shop trying everything song by song,” Grist said. “This album is more cohesive. Then we added a bit of synth work here and there. I just liked having a little bit of something not acoustic-based.”
Grist, who writes about her own experiences, emotions, observations about life and relationships likes to keep her songs non-specific, open to interpretation so that people can read in to it whatever they chose.
Her songs have been featured in a wide variety of TV shows from Grimm (NBC), to Being Human (NBC/Syfy), Arctic Air (CBC) and Degrassi (MuchMusic), among others.
Her creativity extends beyond music to other media such as chalkboard-animated music videos to cardboard cityscapes, and colourful e-cards. Some of her artwork appears in a stop-motion, hand-drawn animation video on YouTube for Chemical Reaction, a catchy pop tune off her new album.
She’s been involved in music from the time she was a kid. She started piano lessons before kindergarten and wrote her first song in elementary school. Her writing was inspired by books and she would up a soundtrack for what she had read.
As much as she enjoyed it, Grist never planned on music as a career until she was inspired by a high-school music program to go into voice.
“It was like a light bulb went off — using the voice — everything went like fireworks for me at that point,” recalled Grist, who went on to do a music degree in voice and piano at Capilano University in North Vancouver. “It was very jazz.”
After doing jazz for a number of years, Grist broke away to do her own music, which she describes as indie/alternative pop.
The rock influence comes from her husband, Mike Southworth, who plays drums on the record and is in her four-piece band. He also produced the record and has been garnering a name for himself on the west coast for making music videos. He is up for a three Video of the Year awards at the 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards, including one for Grist’s song Waltzing Matilda, off her new album.
They will be performing together as a duo in Barrie. Married seven years ago, they met when each was in a different band. In addition to drums, he plays guitar and sings and he continues to perform with Scatterheart when he is not touring with Grist.
Grist’s storytelling ways and artwork have also resulted an a children’s book called Tomorrow Is A Chance to Start Over. It’s due out in April 2015 through a Montreal publisher.
“It’s a whole album of lullabies," said Grist, who calls them "dream songs" for kids who can’t sleep because of noise and city sounds.
Hilary Grist will perform in Utopia Hall, located at 8396 6th Line, on Friday and in Barrie next Tuesday at The Clarkson, located at 130 Dunlop St. E.