Wednesday, 05 October 2016 11:56

Eliza Mary Doyle launching new album in Swift Current

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Eliza Mary Doyle is not only launching her first album under her own name, but it is also the start of an important change in her musical career.

The official release of her new album It Ain’t What It Seems will take place at the Lyric Theatre in Swift Current Oct. 11, which will be the start of a 24-show tour across western Canada with a band to promote the new album.
“I’m really excited that I’m kicking off the tour in Swift Current,” she said. “That’s really special and symbolic to me, because I’ve been a part of this community for the last seven years, and really appreciate everything it’s given me.”
She used to be a teacher at Maverick School in Swift Current, but a year-long sabbatical to explore her musical roots in the United States turned into a decision to focus full-time on her music. She now lives on her land near Saskatoon.
“I’m living in this little tiny home that has solar power,” she said. “I collect my rainwater and try to keep my expenses low so I can support my musician lifestyle.”
She is already a well-known banjo player in Saskatchewan, but on her new album she explores her musical style.
“On a lot of the songs I’m doing on the album I’m playing guitar or I’m playing the dobro,” she said. “I’m writing songs that people have never heard me perform before. I think when people hear the album they won’t even really recognize that it’s me for some of the stuff, because it’s such different content than what they’re used to hearing me play.”
The album still contains her high-energy banjo music, but she has included other songs that have been written over many years.
“These are slower songs I’ve had in my personal collection for the last 10 years, but I’ve never had the outlet to play them or to perform them because the bands I’ve played in were all high-energy party music,” she explained.
She loves to play banjo, but she has always played guitar and she has been playing dobro for about three years.
“I’ve been really enjoying the dobro and I’ve been writing on the guitar,” she said.”It’s hard to write slow music on the banjo, but it’s easier to get that outlet with the guitar. So I guess my writing has changed with the different instruments that I’m playing as well.”
While the album has been produced under her name, she is not playing solo on the album and she will also tour with a band.
“I don’t want to play as a solo person, because I feel I feed off people’s energy so much and I love the sound that brings to a concert,” she said. “So on tour, I’m going with a band, but I’m performing all my own songs.”
The album has banjo, dobro, pedal steel, drums, guitar, bass and fiddle on it.
During the Saskatchewan portion of her tour she will perform with a four-piece band that will have Lucas Geotz on pedal steels, Dustin Olmsted on electric guitar, Liza Holder on guitar, and Paula McGuigan on upright bass. She will be accompanied by Holder and McGuigan for the tour through Alberta and British Columbia.
Doyle has previously performed with Holder and McGuigan in the Swift Current band, the Midnight Roses, and they have helped her with the production of her new album, which was recorded in Holder’s studio in Big River.
Doyle has been a member of a number of successful bands over the years, starting with the Cracker Cats in Saskatoon. Thereafter she played with the Hard Ramblers and the Midnight Roses, but each time, band members moved on and she had to become part of a new group.
“It’s really a lot of energy to start up new bands and to be part of new bands that keep on moving on, because you have to rebrand yourself, you have to get a new website, you have to get a new business card, you have to get a new CD,” she said. “So I basically got sick of having to be in new bands all the time and the simplest solution was to go under my own name, because then hopefully I’ll never break up with myself.”
It has been quite a challenge to be responsible for all the tasks involved with creating the new album, booking shows, and producing the material to publicize her music.
“It was extremely challenging, because I’m somebody who loves collaborating with people and that’s why I was really glad to have Paula and Eliza help with song selections and helping me produce them,” she said. “It’s a lot more time consuming because I’m doing everything on my own, ...  and I just want to play music, which I will do. So that’s why I’m very excited about the tour, because all the hard work is done.”
Last year’s trip to the United States was an important moment in her musical career. She was heading to North Carolina, but her car broke down in Nashville and she ended up staying there for a while.
She met many musicians in Nashville and she also performed in different bars and clubs, which brought her to an important realization about her own music.
“They really enjoyed it, and so it was just a very reassuring thing,” she said. “I never considered myself on the same level as these people that can do it professionally as a living. So it kind of made me think why not just try it out.”
She is planning to release an album every year over the next two to three years, and she is hoping to work with a producer for her next album.
“I’m hoping this album will be a stepping stone to working with producers, working with managers, working with booking agents,” she said. “I’d love to go to Europe, I’d love to go back down to the States and do eastern Canada. So I’m really driven and see this as the first step.”
She will kick off the tour for her new album, It Ain’t What It Seems, at the Lyric Theatre on Oct. 11. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Pharmasave.
For more details about the tour and where she will be performing, visit her web page at

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Matthew Liebenberg


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