Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Recording: Paper Laced With Gold Ensemble

Artist: Paper Laced With Gold Ensemble

Songs: Paper Laced With Gold (feat. Lisa Bozikovic) / I Got Stuck in Wawa (feat. Stevie Jackson) / It's Not Your Home (feat. Maggie MacDonald)*

Recorded at The Imperial Pub's back room (Paper Laced with Gold: the musical in concert), August 26, 2017.

Paper Laced With Gold Ensemble feat. Lisa Bozikovic - Paper Laced With Gold

Paper Laced With Gold Ensemble feat. Stevie Jackson - I Got Stuck in Wawa

Paper Laced With Gold Ensemble feat. Maggie MacDonald - It's Not Your Home

You will always be from where you are from / but you can never go back / it's not your home. Originally workshopped at the Harbourfront Centre in 2012, Maggie MacDonald's Paper Laced With Gold is a story that stretches out on that long Canadian spine that runs from the dirty mouth of the St. Lawrence River to the Sleeping Giant of Thunder Bay — mostly settled in a truck stop somewhere in the lonely middle, the Canadian equivalent of the "flyover states", the places where people were promised something that never came true (like, "there'll be plenty of jobs to go around once the Seaway opens!").

This re-mounting coincided with the presence of co-writer Stevie Jackson (in town for a somewhat larger gig with Belle and Sebastian the next night) and brought together most of the cast from the original performance. In streamlining the narrative down to some connective spoken passages, the performance not only tossed aside some of the musical's aesthetic/ideological choices (cross-gender casting, putting "non-singers" in singing roles, etc.) but also took some of the songs out of the character's mouths (Jackson did a fair bit more singing here than in the staged version). That said, in the previous version I could hear MacDonald's voice in the songs even though she was strictly a backstage presence, and here she reclaimed her alter-ego Betty, the waitress at the confluence of all the truckstop's dramas, stuck between laying down roots and movin' along.

The style of this version meant that all the songs came out in a river-rush torrent, but it was often quite glorious — there were several that I remembered well from just that single performance five years ago. My understanding is that this was a waypoint on the journey of getting these songs properly recorded, so they may yet have a life after the stage.

* I will update these once the proper titles come to light. Please leave a comment if you know them!

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