Winter has come to Ottawa. The mercury dipped south of the -20 mark this week, and so I am on the hunt for things to keep me warm as the deep freeze sets in.
So, when my old friend Jenny Berkel was in town, giving a show at the cozy Raw Sugar Cafe, I was thrilled to sit down for an evening of great music and alcoholic tea. Jenny, as usual, gave a stunning performance and if you haven’t heard her music, you must listen to her. She is phenomenal! Her album is now available vinyl and comes with the guarantee to keep you warm on cold winter nights.
But the added treat of the evening (well, in addition to the AMAZING maple whiskey hot toddy) was the opportunity to meet the charming and lovely Jennah Barry. I knew I would like her when our first conversation began with a slightly inappropriate question. Her frankness was clear when she took to the stage, discussing her life with such honesty and humour, it was hard not to be completely charmed. It doesn’t hurt that she has smokey vocals, thoughtful lyrics, and easy clever banter, combined with her rad outfit (which, she admitted was a boys’ pyjama top).
Since the show, I have been listening to her album on repeat, and it is accurate to say that I am captivated. There is one song in particular, that struck me right in my squishy heart.
This song is about finding a harbour of peaceful domesticity amid a tumultuous and difficult life. It represents finding a brief solice from the world. Her lyrics paint a picture of coming in from a cold, dusky evening into a warm cabin, which while sparse, is filled with warmth and love.
I might find it particularly poignant based on how she had contextualized it – that she had this brief period of lovely domesticity, which for many reasons came to an end. I think for me that makes it even more powerful, as it recognizes that there are times where you can crawl into a comfortable place, but just because it doesn’t always last, doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. It is hard when things come to an end not to let petty bitterness colour the memories, but I think this song represents the importance of remembering the story.
It also helps me remember that despite the sting of difficult endings, these moments of peace are worth searching for, worth opening your heart to. In this lovely 3 minute song, I believe that I will be able find/build a cheery home to fill with love, warmth, and lovely souls to keep the stark, harsh realities at bay.