Sometimes the best parts of a good song happen in the simplest sounds. And Jennah Barry produces those simple but dynamic and emotive sounds with subtle flair and amazing skill. Looking to pick her brain about music and growing up on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, Mixtape caught up with folk songstress as she preps for a show taking place Sunday, November 17 at The Carleton in Halifax.
Mixtape Magazine: How has growing up on the South Shore influenced your music?
Jennah Barry: It’s a very unpretentious place, the South Shore. Socially, you’ve got what you’ve got and in small towns it’s not in your best interest to make enemies. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you at least have to find a way to see each person as a character. It’s a perspective that you tend to live without in a big city where it’s a survival tactic to ignore people or stay within your scene. The strange brew of people I end up hanging out with influences me greatly.
MM: If somebody is visiting the South Shore for for the first time, where should they go?
JB: Tourist towns are tricky. Because of the whole….tourist thing. The locals are guarded. So I’d say, go to the bakery in Lahave, it’s the hub. Homegrown Skateboards is upstairs, there’s a craft co-op. It’s a grocery store. That’s where you go. And eventually you’ll notice that everyone is staring because you’re new and you’ll be forced to introduce yourself. Bam.
MM: How did you meet Rebecca Zolkower (Dark for Dark) and Desiree Gordon(Burrows)? You all seem to have a lot of fun when playing together. What do you enjoy about playing with them?
JB: I grew up with Des, we used to compete in the district music festival together. She beat me in musical theatre once and I’ll never forget it. She sang “Everybody Wants to be a Cat”. I don’t remember meeting Zolkower because I’d like to think that we were always friends. She’s a sweet Christmas angel and I’m lucky she’s around. Same with Des, but that musical theatre thing really holds us back.
MM: In Sydney during Nova Scotia Music week, you told the crowd the new album would be “roller disco on a yacht” theme. Tell us a little more about that.
JB: Haha. I’m glad I said that. I wouldn’t say it’s a “theme” but I’ve definitely been thinking about roller discos and traveling by boat a lot lately. I think I’ll go a long boat trip soon. Anyway, I shouldn’t be saying anything. Who knows what will happen in the end. It might turn into a derby rather than a disco.
MM: What’s something you’ve learned about touring since releasing Young Men last year?
JB: Be assertive. And save your pennies.
Photo: Stephen Cooper /Picture House