Ann Vriend is always a popular visitor to Australia at about this time every year.
The contrasts between frozen Alberta, Canada and sizzling Australia are rarely more stark than in January/February. So Ann can hopefully leave the tissues and cough syrup behind, and look forward to sandy beaches, dazzling coral reefs, and the inside of a string of popular Australian venues on her ‘For The People In The Mean Time’ tour.
On an afternoon when frying eggs on the pavement in rural Queensland was definitely an option, Bill Quinn spoke with Ann from her sick bed in Edmonton, as she was putting the final touches on her tour, and readying to hop on a plane the following week.
It was a baking hot day in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland, and the only place to get a half-decent phone signal was from the front deck at Maleny Hotel, battling the sound spill from rumbling trucks and other traffic on the main road through town.
*** Audio file will be removed be the end of March 2020 ***
*** Audio file will be removed be the end of March 2020 ***
Ann Vriend’s Tour Mishaps #3663 or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love BBC News In The Airport Hotel
Ann Vriend is at it again: touring relentlessly and sharing her sweet music, sumptuous lyrics and those wonderful ivories and keys in far flung locales. And she’s also up to her other signature move: having wonderfully Tati-like, British 70s comedy slapstick challenges, and farcical misadventures.
The ones that you can laugh about and blog about afterwards or during, but at the time they can be massively distressing and painful and expensive and inducing of tears of pain, tears of rage.
But with the crunchy comes the smooth. And Ann found that a rather stormy set of clouds did indeed have a silver lining.
Not too many summers go by in Australia these days without a tour by Canadian singer-songwriter-keyboardian Ann Vriend.
2014 continues that rich tradition.
Ann has already started this year’s tour on the Gold Coast and she’s heading south to Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales before winding things up in Brisbane later this month.
In between dips in the pool on a Saturday afternoon (and no doubt a stack of photos on social media back home to envious and shivering Albertans), Ann talked to Bill Quinn about this year’s Australian tour.
Bill Quinn: Ann, from memory this is your ninth tour of Australia. Does it get easier, or harder or different?
Ann Vriend: I definitely think it’s getting easier. I have more and more people coming on board to help me out, and the fan base is slowly growing. And also different because I’m getting more and more used to being here!
Every tour I have different shows and different itineraries, so it doesn’t get boring.
Ann Vriend (Canada) is a very regular and very welcome visitor to Australia and this week she’s touched down in Sydney to kick off a month of shows that will take her south to Tasmania and north to Queensland — with appropriate stops along the way.
Ann’s first shows are in Sydney at The Basement where she’s received some great support from David Hand and Newport Consulting; the tour opener was fairly bursting with staff thereof.
In between set-list writing, sound-checking and dress-up* for the show, Ann took some time out to talk with me about weather, Aus-stray-lee-an pronunciation, more weather and suburb names. And music.
* When Ann came back in for the show, I dead-set wondered who was this elegant woman who looked like she was off to the races. And why was she waving at me from across the room?
I’m blaming it on jet lag.
*** Audio file will be removed at end February 2020 ***
Bill Quinn: When we have people who tour here from overseas, we have some who come here once and then we never see them again. And then we have others who tour here and they keep coming back, and back, and back again.
As a pundit and a punter, I’m totally OK with that. I’m sitting here with one who keeps doing that, and we’re very happy for that: Ann Vriend from Canada, hello and welcome?
Ann Vriend: Helloooo, and thanks for having me.
BQ: So, this would be something like trip number six, or something like that?
AV: No, it’s… well, I have to do math… but it would be eight, because my first was 2005 and I’ve come every year.
BQ: Every single year?
AV: Yeah. In your summer – that’s not by accident!
BQ: I tend to talk about weather, but what have you left behind you in Edmonton?
AV: Just before I left, we got about a foot of snow in one night. By the time it’s March, I’m a little bit over snow. So, if you go to my Facebook page, you can see the ‘before I left’ snow pictures, and the ‘after I left’ view of Sydney Harbour with palm trees.
BQ: So for the next few weeks, there’s going to be lots of pictures you’re sending back home in strapless numbers…
AV: Oh, I already posted a picture at the beach, like “Ha ha! I might not be rich, but there’s some perks to my job!”
[Insert audible groan of indecision mixed with ‘Oh well, why the hell not’-ness.]
I realise that ‘Year in Review’ blogs and lists can seem as passé as flash mobs and….. other things that are passé.
Like saying that things are ‘passé’.
But as per the opening sentence, ‘Why not?’.
As with many things that I’ve written since age 14, this may provide a mixture of utility for others (especially if I’m reduxing your interview or news event) and utility for me. It’s a natural progression from the Year in Review emails and Farcebook notes I’ve written in years gone by.
This 2012 version was prompted by that nonsensical Farcebook function that purports to consolidate your 20 biggest moments of 2012, using an algorithm that was obviously created by a very finitenumber of monkeys on a finite number of very old typewriters.
My glittering pseudo-career on community radio took an extended break in May when I hung up my boots from Artsound FM.
I love presenting radio programs. I’ve discovered so much good music, so many talented performers and met so many good people through it. But it’s nice to have a little more breathing room and leisure time.
I tend to throw myself in to things like this, boots and all, somtimes at the cost of sensible balance with other things, so I have enjoyed putting my energies into other areas.