Born in Scotland, singer/songwriter Isla Grant grew up surrounded by music, and a love was forged almost instantly. As she prepared to head to Newfoundland, she says she’s bringing the music back to a place – and to a people – she loves
By Pam Pardy Ghent
Isla Grant is always doing something. “I am busy at the moment getting down to organizing the set list for the Irish tour. There will be a lot of the hit songs on it and also some of the new songs from the new album which is getting a wonderful reaction from folks all over the world. I also have to organize our rehearsals for the show, this is going to be a new show that we will be taking to Ireland in February and March, Newfoundland in June, Australia in September and October and then onto New Zealand in October and November. It needs to be looked at carefully to make sure we get the right blend of old favourites and new songs in there too,” she wrote on her blog as she was preparing to hit the road.
‘felt like home’
Grant is no stranger to travelling and she recalls each visit to this province fondly. She’s been coming to perform here now every second year for about 17 years. ‘It felt like home, it really did, but I think it was the people I really fell in love with because they are so welcoming. They show that as well at the concerts, they are with you from start to finish and they are just lovely people and they are such truthful people,” she says with an engaging laugh.
One thing Grant is always grateful for is her fan base –one that keeps growing.
“I had a five year-old come up to the stage the last time I was there and we had a gentleman who was 98 or 99, so we had both sides of the age spectrum the last time I was there and that was so great.”
Little wonder her fans adore her. Grant has been in the music business since she was a child.
“I started at 14 singing in folk clubs in Scotland but then I started listening to country music and started listening to folks like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, but Haggard was my idol – such a great writer – and as far as I’m concerned, he was the best in country music. It was him that inspired me to start writing, and I had a chance to tell him that, that he was to blame for me to start writing music. He told life’s stories, and I really got into the writing myself, and started putting my own feelings to music and things took off.”
Single Yellow Rose
Grant has a few favourites she loves to perform. Sweet Baby Mine that she wrote for her son is one. Mother, a song she wrote in memory of her own mother, is another. Fans always love to hear Single Yellow Rose.
“That song is a favourite all over the world, and in Canada for sure, people sit and wait for that one.”
Grant says she is so thankful to her fans, in Newfoundland and beyond. They keep her writing and inspired, she says. “I have a lovely fan base. We have to add more dates every year. People are always there for me, the ones who come back every year, but the numbers are growing too. I think people love real country music. Traditional country music is still in the forefront and I think people are still looking for the real country music sound.”
Grant is still writing and active. “Things happen in life and I say I have to get it down and I go onto the studio and get things down. I love what I do.”
bound for the rock
As she prepares to head to this province, Grant says the excitement grows.
“The last time we were there we went out to a little village just outside St. John’s and I fell in love. It was a little fishing village. And I love Ferryland. So many places in Newfoundland have meaning. But mainly, it’s always the people I remember. Someone who I’m always desperate to see again.”
Grant is also excited to see icebergs on this trip. “I’d love to get some shots of them. I’ll be doing a new DVD and I want some of Newfoundland on it with those beautiful icebergs in the background.”
We’ll see what we can do.
Isla Grant’s NL Arts and Culture Centres Tour Dates:
• June 6 – St. John’s
• June 9 – Gander
• June 10 – Stephenville
• June 11 – Corner Brook
• June 12 – Grand Falls-Windsor