Alumni vibes

Meredith Shaw brings her debut album to Kingston

Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar produced Meredith Shaw’s debut album, Place Called Happy.
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar produced Meredith Shaw’s debut album, Place Called Happy.

Meredith Shaw is one of many Queen’s grads who have gone on to have thriving music careers. In fact she began her time in Kingston by meeting a future Canadian star.

“I actually met Jay [Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash] my first night at Queen’s, he lived across the hall from one of my best friends.” Shaw said.

Shaw, ArtSci ’04, learned how ubiquitous the Queen’s alumni community is while filming the video for her debut single “Little Fishy” on Connie Island.

“We shot it very kind of guerrilla style with all Queen’s people,” she said of the unintentional reunion. “Everyone involved in the video went to Queen’s. So the stylist went to Queen’s, the producer went to Queen’s, the director and myself.”

“Little Fishy” is the first single off Shaw’s debut album Place Called Happy, released in May. The album was recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio in Spicewood, Texas. The trip to Texas was a first for the Toronto singer-songwriter.

“I’ve never been to Texas before and as a good little Canadian I was like ‘Eww Texas, that’s a little right wing for my taste,’” Shaw said with a laugh, adding that her perspective quickly changed once she arrived in the Lone Star State.

“It was super inspiring,” she said. “It was hot and that was kind of nice and it was dusty and vibey and full of musicians that were there because they love it. There is no L.A. kind of fame game rat race going on there; it’s just sort of good old boys and girls who rock.”

At the start of the month Shaw began her Canadian tour with blues rockers Big Sugar.

“I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now, these guys are so good at what they do,” she said. “It’s like a part of Canadian music folklore and history. I stand up there and I’m like ‘Oh right I’m in the show.’ I feel like I’m watching it and I have to be like ‘Oh yeah sing here.’ ” The self-described girly-girl, though “not an annoying girly-girl,” loves shoes, hair products and nail polish. She said so far tour life hasn’t suppressed her feminine spirit.

“We haven’t got on the bus part yet, that could be a rude awakening,” Shaw said. “All the guys are sort of waiting for me to really grasp what that is. I’m like ‘I’ve been to camp I know how that works.’ “Right now it’s pretty swanky, were in hotels and drivers and all those sort of fun things. It’s not that hard to get use to.”

Shaw’s upcoming stop in Kingston will hopefully allow her to indulge in one of her favourite restaurants from her time at Queen’s.

“Poutine at Bubba’s,” she said.

Meredith Shaw plays Alehouse on Nov. 16 at 9 p.m.

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