One of the best things about Steven Page being as busy as ever this year is the fact that long-time Barenaked Ladies fans have had multiple chances to see the singer-songwriter collaborate and to catch up with the vocalist from a career-spanning perspective.
For the second time in less than a month after he performed with the Art of Time Ensemble at Ottawa Chamberfest, and less than six since he performed in near by Kingston with the Trans-Canada Highway Men, Page returned to Ottawa to perform at the Great Trail; the celebration event held in honour of the connection of the Trans Canada Trail.
“First of all, they keep asking!” Page says when asked about his quick return to the Capital.
“[Ottawa]’s always been, since the very beginning, a place where audiences have always been into the music. It’s not just me or Barenaked Ladies, or anything else. It’s music in general. Between things like Folk Festival and Bluesfest and all the street festivals, Parliament Hill celebrations, clubs and whatever else there’s always been so many places to play. And lots of special events too.”
For his performance at the Great Trail, Page was joined on stage by Halifax cellist, Kevin Fox, and Odds’ frontman Craig Northey; who collaborated with Page in both the Art of Time and the Trans-Canada Highway Men.
Comprising of Page, Northey, as well as Sloan’s Chris Murphy and the Pursuit of Happiness frontman, Moe Berg, the Trans-Canada Highway Men came to be when each band member realized they wanted to work together on a supergroup-type project. With dates lined up in New Brunswick and Ontario in the coming months, Page says they would be very interested in adding Quebec singer-songwriter Michael Pagliaro to the roster (thus, making the supergroup truly Trans-Canada); should he ever be interested.
As for the Art of Time Ensemble, Page says he’s getting ready for a tour early next year with the Toronto-based non-profit organization, that will feature his own songs with Barenaked Ladies, as well as songs by Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, and Radiohead.
On the flip side of things, looking back, it couldn’t go without mentioning the 25th anniversary of Gordon, which introduced Barenaked Ladies to the masses and is home to the Page’s own classic, “Brian Wilson”, or the pending 30 year anniversary of the creation band itself in 2018.
“I’m most proud of the fact that people still listen to that stuff, that it still means something. That’s awesome,” he says. “Everywhere I go, people tell me the stories of about growing up listening to these records, or their parents playing them for them. Whatever it was, that it actually not just nostalgia.”