Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:37

Marital bliss comes across on stage for Whitehorse: in Swift Current April 24

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By Jessi Gowan
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Husband and wife team Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet have been making music as individuals for years, but recently released an album as a duo – Whitehorse.

The pair will be bringing their chemistry to the stage at Swift Current's Lyric Theatre on April 24, as part of the Blenders concert series.

“Luke produced one of my records eight or nine years ago, that's how we met,” explained McClelland. “We started working together after that, pretty unofficially for the first six or seven years. We recorded and toured together sometimes, just playing in each others' bands. About a year ago, we just decided to go ahead and merge our careers together, and formed Whitehorse.”

The idea was first thought up as a side project for the two musicians, but the more they discussed the idea, the more it felt like it should be their main focus. The duo wanted to name themselves after Canadian geography, and Whitehorse stuck.

“We liked that it was this remote place that most Canadians never get the chance to see, and we felt that phonetically, the sound of the word matched the style of music that we are doing,” McClelland said. “We draw our sound from a lot of different places – roots, folk, rock and roll. We are, first and foremost, singer / songwriters, and no matter what presentation we use for our music, it's all about the stories.”

McClelland started writing songs when she was ten or eleven, and released her first record right out of high school. She always knew she wanted to pursue a career as a musician, and about five years ago, was able to start touring full time and earning a living with her music. She feels that touring helps her write.

“To be a good writer, I think you should look all around you and not exclude anything,” McClelland explained. “That's the great thing about traveling. At home, everything is familiar, but we are always in new places seeing new things, and that quick glimpse is enough that our imaginations can run wild to create stories about them.”

McClelland and Doucet have been touring together for years. Initially, it was more about finances – it was more affordable for the couple to travel alone, trading songs back and forth onstage. Through those tours, they were inspired to start working together more regularly.

“It felt really good to be onstage together, we had really developed a chemistry and trust onstage, and it just got to the point where we were each others' best asset, musically, so we wanted to take advantage of that,” admitted McClelland. “There's always something scary about performing, you have to take risks and make yourself vulnerable.”

It's a challenge that McClelland enjoys, especially when she can face it head-on with her partner. In the studio, an artist has the freedom to make mistakes, to experiment and see what might work. A live performance is much more in the moment, which excites McClelland.

“Music is changing so much,” she said. “The way that music is presented to people is so different than it was even twenty years ago. All this auto-tune and sound manipulation that what you are getting on the radio is so far from the real thing. That's why I think live music is such a treat these days. What you see is what you get. The true musicians are the ones who can get onstage and put on a good show. If people are not experiencing that, they are really missing out on something special.”

Whitehorse will be performing at the Lyric Theatre on April 24, as part of the Blenders music series, along with opening act Emma-Lee. Doors will open at 7pm, with music starting at 8pm. Tickets for the show are only $30, and are available at Pharmasave or by contacting Shann at 306-778-2686 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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