Shaye launches new CD "Lake of Fire"
Along the shores of the North Atlantic, it is impossible to escape the three elements that dominate every corner, every memory, every song. The land - worn but beautiful in its resilience; the sea - brooding and quick to storm, and; the wind - unpredictable and always moving.
In this place, you cannot imagine one without the other. When a high wave crashes against gleaming boulders, when the wind clutches the sea spray and throws it against the cliffs leaning seaward, you can not tell in that single act where one element begins and the other ends.
This is such a tale; one of three artists of national acclaim, from two provinces of rich musical traditions, forming one band that is greater than the sum of its parts. Individually, they are three of Canada's most exceptionally talented singer-songwriters. Together, you can't imagine them apart.
Kim Stockwood, from Newfoundland, whose voice - open and exposed - teems with life. Her tenor tells stories from the toughest of places with the wriest of humour.
Damhnait Doyle, also from Newfoundland, whose voice - deep, expansive, beautiful - can be threatening even when restrained, like the calm before the impending storm.
Tara MacLean, from Prince Edward Island, whose voice - lilting and resilient - can carry you off in an easy breeze, then suddenly spurn you with the force of a gale.
Together, they are Shaye, one of the most exciting musical collaborations that Canada has seen in a long time. Shaye is the result of years of planning, of a year and a half of recording, a time when these three women confronted births and deaths, tragedy and deepened friendship.
These are three voices that compliment one another effortlessly, without losing any of their distinct identities. Rarely will you find such perfectly textured harmonies.
The confidence in their voices comes from their individual personalities and shared experiences, and the comfort that three good friends take from singing with one another. Even in conversation, you notice how generously each one finishes the other's thoughts.
"We were all solo artists going into this," says Damhnait.
"This is our first band!" exclaims Kim.
So, there was a lot of pressure at first," says Tara, "But then we realized, hey there are three people to blame stuff on instead of just one."
"We were still only thinking of doing this project, " recounts Kim, "Beauty made up our minds. We knew this song had to be sung and we knew we wanted to be the ones to do it. Once we recorded Beauty we were sure we wanted to make an entire album together."
"We realised we all had the same thing in mind, " says Tara, "We wanted to make music and have fun."
As different as they were in style and experience, they knew they had a lot in common. ""Being an Islander and two Newfoundlanders," says Tara, "we knew that we had the same musical sensibility at the core."
They also agreed enthusiastically on the album's producers: Jay Joyce (Chantal Kreviazuk, Patty Griffith) and Bill Bell (Tom Cochrane, Tara MacLean, Danko Jones).
"We pretty much stalked Jay, " says Damhnait, "We were big fans, so Kim and I followed him to Nashville, called him and said: "You don't know us but you have to meet us". In a half an hour we convinced him."
Bill Bell produced half the album and recorded twenty demos with them. He was there for the whole process from beginning to end.
The Bridge was recorded over a year and half, during a tumultuous period in each of their lives. "It's a miracle it came together," says Tara, "Kim was hugely pregnant with Jack through most of it, I was looking after my new baby, Sophia, and Damhnait was on a national tour with her new album". In the face of all this comes the name "Shaye" a Gaelic word which means courage and strength.
Shaye was the name of Tara's sister, and friend to Damhnait and Kim -- a woman of great promise whose life was cut tragically short during the time that this album was coming together.
"This album is a living tribute to her memory; to the wonderful woman she was, " says Damhnait.
The album's title refers to the bridge between this world and the next, and the bridges between three women, three artists, and three solo careers.
"This shared experience has made us better musicians and better friends," says Kim.
"We're close," adds Tara. "Very close."
Six of the twelve songs on the album were written or co-written by Shaye, including the first hit single Happy Baby. An inspiring lyric on being happy with who and where you are in life.The other six are songs the band sought out. "A year and half gave us time to go through hundreds of songs," says Kim. "Some we would sing together acappella. Some worked better than others. That's how the selection process went. We knew it was a keeper when we all got shivers, which is what happened with the track No Mermaid."
"It is a song about how limitless you are," comments Tara, "And we are limitless women."
A year and a half also gave them time to seek out friends who contributed. Guest musicians include: Gord Sinclair (Tragically Hip), Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party), Kevin Breit (Norah Jones), Gordie Sampson, Jay Joyce (The Wallflowers, Indigo Girls), Bill Bell (Tom Cochrane, Jason Mraz) and Natalie MacMaster.
"We took our time to make a record we could be proud of" says Damhnait, "And we love this record. "
Find out more about Shaye and listen to their music online atwww.shayemusic.com.
This profile written by Seamus O'Regan