St. John’s songbird Katie Baggs has been lending her beautiful voice and instrumental talents to such great local bands as Dead Language, All The Wiles, Pilot to Bombardier and The Burning Hell for several years now. All along she has been writing and collecting songs that never made their way into her other projects. This Friday (June 15th), at The Ship, Katie will finally release these songs on her long-awaited solo debut Home Again, Home Again. I recently spoke to Katie about the new album.
Home Again, Home Again has been a long time coming, you’ve got so many great songs that are neither All The Wiles or Dead Language tunes but need to be heard. How long have you been working on this album?
I guess in some ways I’ve been working on it for a long time. There are a couple of older songs that I wrote back when Dead Language was still playing, and others that I’ve written over the past two years, and a few that are quite new, written just before recording began. One song, “Saint John Song”, has a completely new sound. We recorded it for the Dead Language album and again with All the Wiles and it just never fit. It finally will get a life of its own on this record.
Where and with whom did you record the album?
The album was mostly recorded live by James Anderson in the Church of the Ascension in Chance Cove. Some additional tracks were recorded in St. John’s at Henge Studios. James is a great engineer who is from Newfoundland and based in Toronto. He travelled here to work with the Burning Hell and Pilot to Bombardier. I met him while singing harmonies for those groups.
Is the record primarily solo acoustic or is there a band vibe to it?
The album is all acoustic. I sing, play guitar, ukelele and a wee bit of violin, and I had some friends join me on viola, double bass, banjo and a few notes on piano. There is some subtle percussion here and there.
Some of my favorite tunes of yours are on your 2011 RPM Song Skeletons, like “Dum Dee Dum” and “Pleasant Street” and “O Light”. Can we expect to hear any of these on Home Again, Home Again?
Yes, “Dum Dee Dum” and “O Light” are both on the new album. The album has a similar feel to the RPM recording in some ways. “Pleasant Street” didn’t make the cut this time… something didn’t feel right, but I like to play it and might record it some other time.
Any plans for a touring or big shows lined up for the summer?
I am leaving to go on tour at the end of this month. My first mainland solo show is at the Company House in Halifax on June 26, with Fraser Anderson. I’m playing a few dates throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario until the second week of July and then coming home to enjoy the summer here. All the Wiles have some exciting shows in August – the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival and the Woody Point Writer’s Festival. No big solo shows planned yet but things sometimes have a habit of popping up so I’m sure you’ll hear from me!
You can hear from Katie Baggs this Friday night (June 16th) at The Ship during her release party for Home Again, Home Again with special guests Pilot to Bombardier.