Catherine Swift’s Children’s Album
When my mom retired in her late fifties from teaching, she got straight to work doing the creative things she had been longing to do for several decades. She’s a poet and a singer and a songwriter–three things I relate to intimately–and was always so amazingly supportive of my career, in part because she had put hers aside to pursue a more conventional one in education.
“I always wished I could sing professionally,” she told me once, and my heart broke for her. She has such a lovely voice. At least many a church congregation has had the pleasure of hearing it when wise choir directors have given her solos.
So upon retirement, she first published a book of poetry called “A Stitch In Rhyme: A Poetry of Quilts” This was a collection of poetry about quilting and featured photographs of some gorgeous quilts by people in the Oxford County region where she was living at the time–Woodstock, Ontario. She self-published and peddled the book at quilting guild meetings all over the province, selling the book one at a time and singing her songs as accompaniment to her poetry readers, just her and an acoustic guitar. It was inspiring. That book is currently sold-out.
Then, she published a book called “Senior Moments: A Patchwork of Poetry.” This was a collection of poetry about ageing and included some hilarious pieces. A local cartoonist illustrated it and my mom continued in the tradition established with her first self-published creation and went about selling it with a gusto. Boutique shop consignments, quilting guilds, even an online order option through the now defunct “MySpace.” Basically, she became her own business person and I was so happy to share the independent arts model with her.
My mom has been writing songs for the past fifteen years and now, at 71, with four grandchildren and lots of opportunities to hum melodies to infants cradled in her arms, she has quite a collection. She specifically crafted one song for each grandchild, for instance, and there are several other great songs for kids that even adults can enjoy.
Last year, she approached me about recording her children’s music. I helped set her up with a session at a studio owned by Eccodeck‘s Andrew McPherson’s in Guelph, Ontario and I played guitar while she sang. Then, this year, we went back into the studio and the amazing Adam Bowman joined us for a handful of songs, bringing them to life with his signature drum sound. My kids were with us this year and they had a great time watching Adam in the booth and dancing around. My mom also recorded some harmonies.
Next step is some editing and layering of a few more instruments while I’m back in Beijing this year. Hopefully a mixing session will happen before springtime and then Catherine Swift’s first album will be officially born.