Song Premiere: Sarah Harmer, "St. Peter's Bay"

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword), for Folk Alley

Sarah Harmer Song Premiere Folk Alley

The world is at the brink, in so many ways, none more terrifying than the climate catastrophe that we humans have created through our capitalist, consumerist selfishness. In times like this, art seems both futile and vital. On one hand, it feels like an overly indulgent luxury stemming from incredibly excessive privilege to focus on anything but activism. On the other, sometimes a song or a photo or a poem is exactly what is needed to crack someone's heart open in just the right way. So, in the end, art is activism.

That's the conclusion Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer came to, as well. After taking a decade off to focus on grassroots organizing for environmental causes, she is readying to release a new album, Are You Gone, on February 21, 2020 via Arts & Crafts. The album is brimming with political points painted in human hues to show how interconnected all aspects of life actually are.

There's the punch and power of community action of “New Low” countered by the simmering and shimmering of love across distances that is “Just Get Here.” She may well sing the album's mission statement right there in the middle of one of the record's brightest lights, “Squeaking Voices”: “I'll be on the side of anyone who makes a stand. Even if they don't know I'm on their side, I am.” Other highlights include, the understated recounting of “Shoemaker” and the laid-back drive of “The Lookout.”

The set opens with the easy-going folk-rock of “St. Peter's Bay” and its caring, bittersweet look back on a love now lost. Here, Harmer acknowledges what worked and didn't, with gratitude for what it was, rather than anger for what it wasn't. (No regrets, Coyote, you might say.) And she does it all in quintessential Canadian fashion... replete with hockey references.

"I wrote St. Peter's Bay on the plane to Prince Edward Island for a Hockey Day in Canada theatre show, but the hockey part is only a prompt,” Harmer explains. “The song is about the end of a relationship, set against the frozen shoreline of Lake Ontario. I thought what better way to start the record than with black-and-white pioneer-era sound, and a tale of love burning down to its final ember."

In the end, Are You Gone is a journey across time, place, learning, and loss that Sarah Harmer is an incredibly gracious guide to take us on, starting right there in “St. Peter's Bay.”

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Are You Gone is available for pre-sale now - HERE


Upcoming tour dates:

WED, FEB 26 - Birchmere - Alexandria, VA

THU, FEB 27 - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA

SAT, FEB 29 - Joe's Pub - New York, NY

SUN, MAR 1 - City Winery Boston - Boston, MA

TUE, MAR 24 - Market Hall Performing Arts Centre - Peterborough, Canada

WED, MAR 25 - Market Hall Performing Arts Centre - Peterborough, Canada

FRI, MAR 27 - Algonquin Theatre - Huntsville, Canada

SAT, MAR 28 - The Empire Theatre - Belleville, Canada

TUE, MAR 31 - The Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, Canada

WED, APR 1 - The Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, Canada

FRI, APR 3 - London Music Hall - London, Canada

SAT, APR 4 - War Memorial Hall - Guelph, Canada

TUE, APR 14 - Meaford Hall Arts And Cultural Centre - Meaford, Canada

WED, APR 15 - Orillia Opera House - Orillia, Canada

FRI, APR 17 - Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts - Parry Sound, Canada

SAT, APR 18 - Collège Boréal - Sudbury - Greater Sudbury, Canada

SUN, APR 19 - The Machine Shop - Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

TUE, APR 21 - The Garrick Centre - Winnipeg, Canada

WED, APR 22 - Broadway Theatre - Saskatoon, Canada

FRI, APR 24 - The Starlite Room - Edmonton, Canada

SAT, APR 25 - Bella Concert Hall - Calgary, Canada

SUN, APR 26 - Hume Hotel & Spa - Nelson, Canada

TUE, APR 28 - Sid Williams Theatre - Courtenay, Canada

WED, APR 29 - Tidemark Theatre - Campbell River, Canada

THU, APR 30 - Capital Ballroom - Victoria, Canada

SAT, MAY 2 - Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, Canada

MON, MAY 4 - Triple Door - Seattle, WA

TUE, MAY 5 - The Old Church - Portland, OR

THU, MAY 7 - Swedish American Hall - San Francisco, CA

FRI, MAY 8 - McCabe's Guitar Shop - Santa Monica, CA

TUE, MAY 12 - Soiled Dove Underground - Denver, CO

FRI, MAY 15 - Old Town School of Folk Music - Chicago, IL

SAT, MAY 16 - The Ark - Ann Arbor, MI

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