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L.A. Beat

Brenna Lowrie’s debut CD a surprise hit

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 Lethbridge singer-songwriter Brenna Lowrie never intended to record a CD  when she retuned her guitar to learn Joni Mitchell’s “Sisotowbell Lane,” and certainly didn’t expect it to reach number one on the Earshot charts, which charts campus and community radio airplay.

But her debut “Body Electric,” not only did just that, but  has found a home on CKUA, where DJs Grant Stovel and Baba have taken a liking to it.
“Joni Mitchell is a pretty under-rated guitar player. I never even figured out the song, I got frustrated,” Lowrie said. But she fell in love with the CGDFCE tuning, and wrote 10 songs in it, and one in open D Minor “Right Kind of Woman”  for her CD.Brenna Lowrie with a copy of her debut CD . Photo by Richard Amery

“I felt it was good for me creatively and good for my brain. I can’t even revert to traditional chord shapes anymore,” she continued.

  The CDs success came as much of a surprise to her as it did anybody else.
“It was definitely a  surprise, a pleasant surprise,” she  said.

“I’ve always listened to CKUA. A couple of the DJS Grant Stovel and Baba really like it. Though I’ve never heard myself on the radio, a lot of people tell me they have,” she said.

“ It has surpassed my expectations. I’ve never done this before,” she said.
 She only recorded it at the insistence of producer and Esper Records owner Jesse Northey.

“ I considered this to be a writing project to see how many songs I could write in that tuning, but then Jesse Northey approached me about recording them and said that it could be a good CD,” she said.

“He’s in the audio recording arts program at the university and wanted some experience. He’s such a go-getter,” she enthused. While Lowrie plays most of the instruments on her CD, they assembled an  impressive cast of local musicians including bassist Paul Holden, Cellist Kris Hodgson, drummer Clayton Smith, her brother Nathan on guitar and Northey added guitar and bass as well. She plays drums in local band the Yeah Dads. She started out by playing keyboards.

“They’re such a talented bunch of guys. Everybody was so gracious with their time,” she said.
 The 27-year-old had been writing songs and making home demos of them for about a decade. She approached the lyrics from the perspective of a 27-year old looking back at the past and progress.

“ You can do anything now. You have  so many options now but what the hell do you do with them,” she said.
“Things seemed so much simpler back then.”

She noted the songs are all tied together thematically  and with the same tuning. She never envisioned releasing a single from the CD.  It begins with a pretty instrumental overture which reflects the chords used in the rest of the songs.

 It took about two years to record the CD in between work, school and the schedule of the participating musicians.

 “The CD reflects where I was then. I’m already ready to do something else musically. If I do another one, I’d like to record it with a band if possible,” she said.
“ I’m just happy  that  it is getting some recognition because it goes to show there is lots of cool stuff going on in Lethbridge. People just don’t know about it yet,” she continued raving about people like Jesse Northey  and all of the talented musicians in  the city.

 Brenna Lowrie plays the University of Lethbridge Fresh Fest, Sept. 8, sharing a stage with Hannah Georgas, Michael Rault, The Utilities, Yes Nice, Politics of Joy, The Joe, Mitchmatic and Shout Out Out Out Out. Tickets are $20

A version of this story appears in the Sept. 5, 2012 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 September 2012 12:00 )  
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