Liner Notes with Isabel of The Strumbellas

August 18, 2015

As 1/6th of the Juno award-winning Folk/Country band The Strumbellas, violinist Isabel Ritchie knows music. We’re super-lucky to have her guest-DJing on All Lit Up today: put her mix on through your headphones (we’ve compiled it in Spotify, or there’s individual links below) and listen to some seriously super indie tunes. Then, check out the books we think go great with these tracks.

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As 1/6th of the Juno award-winning Folk/Country band The Strumbellas, violinist Isabel Ritchie knows music. We’re super-lucky to have her guest-DJing on All Lit Up today: put her mix on through your headphones (we’ve compiled it in  Spotify, or there’s individual links below) and listen to some seriously super indie tunes. Then, check out the books we think go great with these tracks.

1.  Waiting for You – Good Lovelies 

Isabel: This song is just pure joy for me. The warm fuzzy feeling of just falling in love.

ALU: While a traditional love story Excessive Love Prostheses by Margaret Christakos (Coach House Books) isn’t, the poet refreshingly vaunts love in its modern imperfection instead of discounting it. 

 

2. My Baby Don’t Understand Me - Natalie Prass 

Isabel: Firstly, a raw isolation of feeling alone. But also with the symphonic elements it’s big and anthemic like a soundtrack to an early Hollywood movie.

ALU: Insomniac Press’ The Loneliness Machine by Aaron Giovannone strikes the same meditative balance, this time concerning the loneliness of being a poet. 

 

3. Ledges - Noah Gunderson 

Isabel: Small town/rural life. Family

ALU: Young Egg Murakami in Prairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi (Goose Lane Editions) has her own ledges to navigate: the suffering of her parents after a tragic loss, her older sister’s budding sexuality, and the slow-to-change mores of a small, prairie town. 

 

4. The Place I Left Behind - Deep Dark Woods 

Isabel: This song evokes the Canadian wilderness (or really any wilderness). A solo isolated journey.

ALU: Pilgrimage by Diana Davidson (Brindle & Glass) concerns four people trying to make a life in the colonial Northwest at the turn of the 20th Century. 

 

5. Wasted Genius – Siskiyou 

Isabel: This song is psychedelic to me. A blurry, out-of-focus view of the world. Serenity in the middle of a crazy out-of-control party.

ALU: Kiki by Amanda Earl (Chaudiere Books), about Kiki de Montparnasse, evokes the same freneticism of a crazy party. 

 

6. Vessel – Dan Mangan + Blacksmith 

Isabel: This song feels like summer to me. Like running through a sprinkler, or swimming across a lake, or going on a long run. The lyrics aren’t super evocative to me, so it’s more about the churning repetitive guitar.

ALU: Lesley Choyce’s memoir Seven Ravens (Wolsak & Wynn) reflects on a difficult time in his life and how immersion in nature helped him climb back up his “wobbly ladder.” 

 

7.   Let ‘em say - Caroline Smith and Lizzo

Isabel: The lyrics kind of speak for this one. Self empowerment. This song is just super feel good and makes you feel awesome when you listen to it.

ALU: The Wondrous Woo by Carrianne Leung (Inanna Publications) follows Miramar Woo, and her own self-empowering quest to step out of her familial obligations. 

 

8. Telephones – Mo Kenney (explicit)

Isabel: This song is about boredom in a relationship, but it kind of speaks to boredom in general. Being done with something and being completely blasé about it.

ALU: The cold, indifferent Luke Violet in Blind Spot by Laurence Miall (NeWest Press) would have the audacity to have another lover and keep you on the side. 

 

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Special thanks to Isabel for coming up with this fantastic list for us! We’ll for sure be using it to chill out in the busy fall season ahead. Be sure to check out The Strumbellas’ new song, “ Spirits”, debuting this Friday, August 21st.


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