On Wednesday evening, Kingston’s newest coffee shop, Musiikki café, welcomed a duo performance from singers and songwriters Hilary Grist and Christa Couture.
The two talented musicians from British Columbia are currently on their collaborative tour, the Fall Eastern Canadian Tour, during October and November, with stops across Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
Although they haven’t played in Kingston before, they discovered the music-oriented Musiikki café and made it a stop on their Eastern Canadian Tour.
The new Kingston café promises live music shows from Wednesday to Sunday every week, including an open microphone night on Thursdays.
The quaint set-up at the café was a perfect fit for the duo’s jazzy-folk centered music.
The musicians met through the Vancouver music scene and have been playing shows together for six years.
Although their collaborative performances have always been successful, the two are primarily individual musicians, each having released multiple self-titled albums.
Grist has recently released her second full album, Come and Go, and has been touring the album since June.
Grist and her husband, Mike Southworth, created and produced Come and Go, Grist as primary vocalist and keyboardist with Southworth playing drums and guitar.
“He and I record together and play everything. We had a few guests on a couple instruments that we couldn’t play, but we do everything,” Grist said.
The duo’s genres are fairly similar as they both have folk and jazz tones. However, Grist seems to lean toward the pop side of this spectrum compared to Couture’s root folk sound.
“I think [our sounds] work well together,” Grist said, “Our styles appeal to each other’s.”
During their shows, they each get an opportunity to play their own music with accompaniment from the other.
“[We play] separately, but there’s a bit of collaboration,” Couture said. “Hillary comes up and sings harmony on a couple of songs and plays a little keys and then during Hilary’s set, I go up and sing background.”
Aside from having a successful musical partnership, the duo genuinely enjoy working with one another.
“I think we’ve been getting along pretty well and having a pretty good time. It’s the no-drama-tour,” she said. Looking forward to the tour’s remaining performances, the musicians also appreciate the scenery in Eastern Canada.
“It’s a beautiful time of year to drive,” Couture said. “We don’t get that red and orange or yellow. So we’ve all just been enjoying the beautiful drives in Ontario.” The musicians hope to return to Kingston, with potential plans to play a show on Queen’s campus.
“Every time you play at a town, you learn about the places for next time, so maybe next time we’ll do something on campus,” Couture said.
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