Melancholy Morning Memories 

The 90's as a decade of music, and specifically the Grunge/Punk (ish) aspects of the 90s were major in my musical taste development.  It was the first time in my life that I wasn't listening to music that I'd inherited from my parents, the first time in my life I was exploring new music on my own, was the first time I fell ridiculously in love with a rock star (20 years now and still going strong - what's up, Eddie Vedder?) and seemed to be the perfect therapy I needed during those angsty, hormonal, confusing teenaged years.

My English teacher in Grade 9 gave me an assignment that I have never forgotten; she told us to pick 3 songs that we loved, write out the lyrics and then write our interpretation about the message of each song.  I can’t ever remember being more excited about homework in my life.  I remember going through my grunge catalog and having the worst time narrowing the songs down to my top 3 most important songs at the time. 

I honestly don’t even remember which 3 I chose (Hunger Strike/Temple of the Dog was probably in there, as was The Day I Tried To Live or Fell On Black Days/Soundgarden, but I probably struggled over Sliver/Nirvana and Creep/STP and When I Come Around/Green Day and The Sweater Song/Weezer and Jeremy/Pearl Jam and Porch/Pearl Jam and Alive/Pearl Jam and Indifference/Pearl Jam...ummmm…I really loved Pearl Jam).   

I wish I could go back and talk to that teacher (I even forget her name now) about her true intent behind the assignment.  Now as a mental health professional in my adult years, the value in that assignment given to teenagers seems profound.  What better way to dig into the minds of teenagers, who are so often guarded and blocked and distant from adults, than to ask them to dissect their favourite current songs and then tell you what the song means  to them and why.  You want a teenager to open up?  It seems genius. 

That 90’s music was so important to me at that stage of my life, that hearing the news of Scott Weilands death has made me feel like a part of my youth or my innocence or a friend has died.  How many hours did I spend every Friday after school watching the Much Music countdown, waiting for my fave videos to come on so I could tape them, so that I’d have one entire VHS tape that would play all my favourite videos that I could watch over and over!?  How many Saturdays did I spend in my room listening to Casey Kasem and waiting to hear the latest from all those bands because the internet didn’t exist and you couldn’t just have access to that stuff at your fingertips. 

Music has become a huge major part of my personal identify in so many different ways, and I love all kinds of various bands and singers…but there’s something about the 90’s that still pulls at my guts and wells up in emotions behind my eyeballs.  My friends and I spend hours (literally hours…one night recently was 6 hours straight) taking turns watching our favourite 90’s videos on youtube (wassup Moe, Evan, Rebecca!).  Perhaps this is because of our impressionable developing brains at the time, and maybe everyone’s teenage music taste mean this much to them, or maybe it’s because ever since then, new/current music has left me less and less satisfied. 

I don’t know, that’s an argument I won’t go into...but what I DO know is that I was watching Much Music at the gym the other day and all I saw was some girls butt cheeks and all I heard was a guy singing about how she shouldn’t be giving him grief for being a player and should just accept that he’s a man who wants to sex up all the girls.

ANYWAY all I wanted to say was that Scott Weiland’s death is making me sad, and it’s making me sad for many reasons, especially the reason that we are so so so so bad at dealing with and treating addictions and mostly I think its because we still don’t really understand addictions in the way we need to in order to do better.  It’s also making me sad because those songs, those guys, those videos, those MTV unplugged sessions meant and still mean so much to me for reasons I guess you just had to be there for.

And finally here’s Scott Weiland literally rocking out on MTV,,,

...and also here’s a video of Chris Cornell doing an unreal version of this song.  Bye for now.


Pre Tour Blog 

I promised last blog that it wouldn’t take me long to write another entry...I super failed.  It’s been a year and I haven’t written anything on my website blog!  Well, here I am, the night before my next little prairie tour, writing to you!...Whoever might be reading this.  

Tonight my friends Jolene and Eric and I got our hair cut in my kitchen by our friend Merita, while our friends Heitha (Sol James), Jessie and Dexter visited happily in my living room, not listening to my wonderful mix of playlist songs on iTunes (which blows my mind, actually.  I’ve got some good stuff on this computer, including the best of the Partridge Family and everything you can imagine by Jack White). Anyway, I couldn’t help but think to myself tonight about the life I’m building here in Winnipeg, and the changes I’ve made over the last couple of years.

My good friend Sol James, who I’m about to hit the road with tomorrow, named this upcoming tour the “Come What May” tour.  We didn’t talk about that at all and somehow she just came up with the title when we were designing our tour poster.  The funny thing about this is....that song, “Come What May”, was written while I was deciding to leave my hometown of Calgary and give Winnipeg a shot.  The point of the song was - it’s easy to do what you know how to do, what everyone expects you to do...but what if you took a chance on what was in your heart, what certain people might question you for and maybe even deter you from doing?  The line “We’re all alone in the end, anyway” isn’t a pessimistic line, it just means....we all leave this earth with only ourselves, no one comes with us as far as we know.  Not that I’d advocate being inconsiderate of others, or giving up on people you’ve committed to....all I was thinking was, well...just that: “We’re all alone in the end, anyway!  Why not take a chance on what feels right in your own heart...what’s wrong with that, in the end, anyway?”


My move to Winnipeg has been fascinating.  Full of ups and downs, full of so much learning and all the heartache you can imagine that comes with major transition.  I’ve been through some of the lowest lows of my life in the last 1.5 years, going through feelings of being brand new again and being removed from what is comfortable and familiar. These days though, I am honestly mostly contended...calm...becoming well adjusted.  Today was +4C and I thought to myself, “Wow...I feel like I’ve really earned this weather.”  We went through a brutal winter - you should just see how the fence in my yard is basically buried under piles and piles of snow.  The wind will blow so hard here sometimes in winter you’d think it’s trying to bite your face off.  Today brought the promise of coffee on my veranda come my return from tour, and it’s not long now till it’s beach time, lake time...some of the best Manitoba has to offer.


But before all that happens, I am heading home to Alberta - tomorrow!  Despite all the exciting things to look forward to here in my new province of Manitoba, despite the brilliant music I get to witness happening here in this fine city of Winnipeg, I get to return home to the beautiful province of Alberta this week.  Calgary and Alberta is where music started for me, it’s where I made my first and some of my most important musical connections of my music life.  I absolutely cannot wait to introduce Kris Ulrich and Sol James to some of the most important people and musicians I’ve known in my music career.


I took a chance on Winnipeg...and I’ve been lucky to connect to a couple of phenomenal musicians and songwriters who have agreed to tour with me!  So...COME WHAT MAY!  And we’re coming your way.  Tomorrow Saskatoon!  The next day............the world?  Actually no.  The next day is Calgary.    YAAA-HOOOOO!


Full tour details available in the “shows” section.  Hope to see you out there!

Lots of LOVE!


An Overdue Update, Apparently!! :) 

I got an email from my friend David Ward today, who mentioned that my last blog had been in October 2012 and that I should really be posting another update!  It was an encouraging email to receive because I didn’t really realize that people felt compelled to read these words!  It was encouraging also because sometimes I feel silly writing a blog - like, what makes my life something people want to read about, when they are out there living their own lives?  The fact that there is even one person out there following along and keeping tabs is a bit surreal, so thank you David and anyone else who is reading.  (If you hang in until the end of this blog, I actually have a request of you all to consider!).

One quote that could sum up my last several months, as well as my future, is as follows:

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

In so many ways this concept applies to my life these days - Music Career wise, my “Other Career” wise, my individual life and my relationships.  

Unfortunately, at the start of this year I developed a very painful nerve injury and have been in pain for about 2 months straight.  This injury WILL heal, but it is a long process and in the mean time, life has been very much a “One Day At A Time” kind of existence.

Up until this past weekend I was feeling pretty desperate and overwhelmed in terms of how to cope when I am constantly distracted and exhausted by pain.  This past weekend was the annual Folk Alliance International Conference which was held this year in Toronto.  It is only every 5 years or so that this conference comes to Canada, so there was a huge Canadian contingent of musicians in attendance.

I went again as part of the Alberta Rooms which are sponsored by the Bow Valley Music Club, Alberta Music Industry Association, and many other sponsors.  This was only the 2nd year in a row that Alberta had organized and formal presence at the conference which has been running for 25 years now.  The group that attended was full of such great Alberta talent:  The T. Buckley Trio, Cam Penner Duo, Amy Thiessen Duo, 100 Mile House, The Travelling Mabels, Steve Pineo, Dave McCann, Jenny Allen, The Backyard Betties, Pear, Lucas Chiasson, Dani-Lynn Trentham, Braden Gates, Chris Gheran, Chloe Albert, John Wort Hannam, Scott Cook, Maria Dunn, Ralph Boyd Johnson and me.  I know there is even more Alberta talent out there that didn’t attend, and so I felt very proud to be able to represent the great province of Alberta.

In context of a multitude of representation from other provinces and countries, I was so inspired again to have the reminder that music itself is what is important about this musical path I’m on right now.  Some musicians will be able reach financial stability being working musicians, some will get to be super famous and be on Strombo (jealous), and some will always struggle to conquer the “business” side and financial side of music.  I was reminded that for me, all I want right now is to make music.  I want to meet people who inspire me and meet people that I want to collaborate with; I want to sing about things I believe in whether I’ve written the words myself or not.  I want to just take music a day at a time - the way I’ve learned to with my physical pain - not let the whole situation overwhelm me and to just let the outcomes evolve as they are meant to in the time they are meant to.  (It is funny to compare my pain experience with my musical experience, especially because the two situations bring up very different feelings for me!  Well...sometimes the music business is pretty painful...)

Of course I will do what I can to promote my music in a way that keeps me feeling comfortable in terms of self promotion.  But I am striving now to take pressure off myself to be in places with my music that I’m currently not.  I’m trying to take everything as it unfolds, having faith to take the steps forward that feel right to take, even if I don’t know where those steps will lead me.

Also helping me is that I saw a doc today who put me on a pain med which has made today pain free and productive - woooohhhooooo!!  In “Other Career” news, I am working as a nurse again for an adult mental health crisis response program.  This will be more part time than before, but allows me to stay in a helping profession (which I love) without having to devote full time hours to it as I did for the last 8 years.

Other quick Folk Alliance musician shout outs I’d like to give are as follows (in case you’re looking for new music to discover!):  Charlie A’Court, Red Moon Road, Sweet Alibi, Petunia and the Vipers, The Crooked Brothers, Rose Cousins.

I have a lot of cool musical projects coming up this year.  More on those as they unfold!!  We’ll be doing a handful of CD release shows in Alberta in May - please check the “Shows” sections for dates.  Check back here often too for CD release information, especially the Calgary dates which we anticipate will be busy!

A request of you Going back to the idea that blogging seems a bit my own journey I realize that we all learn from our ups and downs, and that living is about moving along with the way life unfolds, making sure to experience all the feelings we need to in order to grow and reach our potential.  It might take a while to realize this though and we all reach that level of awareness from different experiences and at different times.  I would love to learn from the stories of others - especially if you are reading this, we probably have crossed paths before, know each other or at very least have something in common!  If anyone feels compelled to share their learning with me, I would love you to email me or direct me to your blogs if you have them!  Not for any reason other than just so I can read your stories too, maybe learn something new.  A lot of my song writing is about life and living, so who knows - maybe you’ll even be inspiration for a bunch of new songs.  Feel free to send any thoughts to 

Till next time (not 5 months from now DW, I promise!),

Brooke xo

October 2012 Honest Ramblings 

Somewhere around this time last year I decided my life needed major revamping, in a multitude of ways.  I spend a few months over the fall and winter hibernating, reflecting and deciding.

Because I'm my own worst critic, instead of making distinct plans to fully pursue what I really truly deep down love to do - SING! and create music - I applied to Graduate school in Winnipeg, Manitoba - the Master of Public Health Program at Uof M.  Grad school is something I knew I could be successful at and had concrete outcomes - an easier, less tough on my ego path than an uncertain future in music.

I've worked in a nursing capacity full time for the AHS for at least 10 years now, and music has evolved slowly but surely for me as a "secondary" vocation.  I have loved every musical moment, even the ones where I'm telling myself I suck and should quit (those are learning moments, as I've come to appreciate!).  I have had phenomenal support and encouragment, and i keep connecting to musicians who fascinate and inspire me - and I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe the kinds of opportunities and musical people who keep entering my life. 

Even despite all the natural ways my music career is unfolding, I decided when I got accepted to grad school in April 2012  that I was going to make the move and do that.  I have beautiful friends and family Calgary, wonderful musical connections and it's my hometown - but it was time to have some distance and change.  I've got roots in Winnipeg, family and a bunch of great musical friends as well.  It made sense in those ways to spend sometime in Manitoba.

For some reason in Spring 2012 my confidence as a musician was really low.  I sent a friend a text message at one point saying I was just going to focus on school and my health care career and give up on music.  A week after I sent that text, I got a call from RAWLCO radio, saying they were awarding me a 10K recording grant towards my new record.  (My friends response to this news was : "Too bad you're quitting music").

Immediately I called my great friend and producer of my 2nd record, Steve Loree, to tell him we had a 3rd record to make by June of 2013.  Steve said he wanted to get it done this summer...I said that was near impossible given my impending move to Winnipeg, my full time job, the renting of my house, the fact that I didnt yet have a full album written and didn't have a band to record with....  etc etc etc.  Steve knew that if we didnt get it mostly done before I left, we wouldn't do it.  I decided he was likely right, and figured I would just find the time to fit it in.

Two days after that, Steve ran into Ryan Weber of the Weber Brothers in Nanton, Alberta.  Steve and the Webers had worked together before in Steves studio, and Ryan said they had a week or so of downtime coming up in July 2012 - did Steve have anything they could be a part of that summer?  If anyone has heard the Webers you know that it's a phenomenal opportunity to get to work with such amazing musicians! (even though initially my inner self depricating monster was freaked at the thought of sharing my brand new 
not-yet-sung-in-front-of-other-humans songs).

This past year I've also been so fortunate to have made musical and true friendship connections with John Wort Hannam and Lana Floen (The Traveling Mabels).  John asked me to sing on his new record ("Brambles and Thorns" - out this week!) and Lana wanted to write together before I left.  I asked John to sing on my record as well, and Lana and I wrote a song together called "Always Be mine" - on which the whole Mabels trio came and sang harmonies!!  We also asked Scott Duncan, Shelly Groves and Charlie Hase to add musical accompaniment to a few songs.

The time I spent in Steve's studio this summer was some of the most inspiring, fulfilling time I've had in a long time.  The support and enthusiasm, professionalism of all the muscians was so encouraging and just basically - FUN!  We're working on the final touches of the album - we have one song left to record (written by Ryan Weber) and I've collected a few great local Winnipeg musicians to help me out with that (so far Blake Thomson of the F Holes, Sol James and Jess Rae Ayre of Sweet Alibi). We are anticipating a Spring 2013 release, trying to come up with an album title and planning a bit of a CD release event for May 2013 as well!!

Leading up to my move, i did alot of personal work and reflection on better trusting my intuition, following my heart, meditation and just generally how to lead a happier life for me.  Lo and Behold, turns out there were alot of road blocks and signs about Grad School, all leading to my decision to actually not attend Grad School at this time.  Had I not taken time for personal reflection, Im not sure I would have been aware that school is not the right fit for me at the moment.  (The funny thing is - this is the second time in my life that music has trumped my attempts at going to grad school...I like to think that the universe is telling me something :)

So - I left my 1450sq ft condo in downtown Calgary at the end of the summer and I am writing to you now from my my 550sq ft loft in Wolseley in Winnipeg.  I have been unemployed for a month and I am in love with having this time to feel centered, to get settled, to make more informed decisions about where I invest my energy, my time, my heart.

I dont know what my work/music balance will look like from here, but i am learning to follow my heart, trust my instincts - you can't make bad life decisions if they genuinely come from your heart, from what you know to be true about yourself.  I trust that things will evolve as they are meant to if I am living consciously, honestly and fully aware.  

I'm excited.


To The Arkansas Gentleman 

(My friend Geoff H. put that "Arkansas Gentleman" quote in his facebook status the other day...nice.  I started writing this blog after I heard the world was about to lose Levon Helm, and he passed yesterday before I was finished).

Last Saturday, after everyone (myself included...admittedly) was desperately trying to buy Garth Brooks tickets online, I made a comment on facebook about wishing it were Levon Helm that was coming this summer instead.  Last summer my family and I had 5th row seats to the show he’d booked here.  But then Van Morrison came and it all got messed up; Levon’s camp pulled out in the end.  None of us wanted to go without Levon being on the bill, so we didn’t go at all - we looked forward to seeing a show that was just Levon sometime in the future.  

Yesterday’s news of Levon being in his final stages has had a big impact on me, especially since our hopes of seeing him were still so alive.  My reaction to the end of Levons life has felt strange given that he is a celebrity and I person I didn't personally know.  Partly my reaction may be attributed to the fact that it’s not usual to know that someone is just about to pass away - usually we hear about celebrity death after someone has's been odd to just be waiting to hear about when he'll actually go. I think the significance of what he represented for me goes deeper though, and I thought I’d share some of that here.

I finished reading Levon’s autobiography “This Wheel’s On Fire” just after this New Year started.  If you know me well, you’ll know that I take forever to read most things, sometimes not even completely finishing a book (Adult ADHD, it’s called).  This book was different - although biographies and stories of human life usually do captivate me - Levon’s particular story was so full of passion, detail, adventure, humour, honest and genuine emotion.   At the heart of all those things was Levon’s love of and belief in music.

When Levon was just a little kid, he was captivated by a band he saw on stage and knew that’s what he wanted to do.  I remember him describing the drummer’s techniques he saw and admired, and I remember thinking that this was pretty insightful for a young kid - to be drawn to something in that way and then know to follow that feeling wherever it would take him.

One story he wrote about which really struck me was when he chose to leave the Bob Dylan tour at one point and ended up back in the States working a crappy rig job.  Because Bob had decided move away from the folk singer thing and have a rockin loud band, many of the shows were riddled with Boo-ing from the audience and at times things being thrown at the stage.  Levon wanted to play music, but he knew he didn’t want to play music like that.  So he left the tour while the rest continued on.  Eventually they called him and asked him to come up to Woodstock to re-join and record, but he didn’t necessarily know that would be an eventual outcome...I love the way it all came back to him; he followed his gut and was able to do what he believed in the way it best suited him.

What I learned from reading Levon’s book was how powerful it can be in life to just follow what your gut tells you to do...just believe in what you’re feeling pulled to do, even though other people might think it’s not the right choice, or even if it seems far fetched, or even if you think maybe you'll lose out on something cool by trusting your gut...if you really listen to your true reactions and feeling (intuition...I think they call it), then I can’t help but believe that is the best path to take.

Even in what Levon thought, believed, said in could not argue that the man exuded genuineness and honesty.   I think the reason he got so much respect was because he didn’t seem to say anything or project any kind of image that wasn’t really in tune with who he was.

Another part of the book that resonated with me was how he described that the Band didn’t necessarily want to tour but just wanted to play music and make music in wasn’t for anyone or for any purpose other than just being musical and creating.  I related with that so much...I do like being on stage but the business side of music, the promoting and the whole “look at me” concept is something I struggle with all the time.  I just want to make music and collaborate with friends and people who inspire me.

Levon is a role model for me in so many ways - and obviously given the outpouring of love for him he had a major impact on so many people.  We can’t all be famous or rich, and so to me a lesson I take away from his example is to just be true to pay attention to what my intuitive reactions tell me about what I really believe and how I feel...and go with that.  Don’t go along with what the masses expect or dictate.  To me that’s the only way I know I’ll live the life I’m meant to live.

Death is as natural as birth and so we can't avoid the fact that we'll all die eventually.  I want to end every day knowing that I lived the best life for myself by being as true to who I'm meant to be as possible.  That's the direction I'll take from Mr. Helm.  What a beautiful life he had.

It's 2012, and March at that. 

Dear People!

Thanks for visiting my website and checking out my brand new blog!  I'm sitting here listening to Rose Cousins, something I'm not sure why I've put off for so long.  I caught two of Rose's showcases at Folk Alliance 2012 and I'm just totally hooked.  She's playing April 02 at the Ironwood in Calgary, you should probably be there.

Lots has changed in Brooke Wylie's Music world in the last handful of months!  The Coyotes as a band played our last show in October of 2011.  For many different reasons, most of them to do with me, it was time to put the band project on hold for a while and concentrate on more solo, more stripped down efforts.  I've been doing quite a few solo/duo/trio type shows, house shows, playing lots of listening rooms.  It's been fabulous to have captivated, attentive audiences!  Not that I haven't valued or appreciated what playing in bars has done or taught me, it was just time for me to head down a different road.  It's a great thing to challenge and reinvent oneself...stepping away from the band helped me realize how hard we worked as a band over the years, to the point where we didn't even rehearse anymore!  But I didn't want to get too lazy either - so here I am out on my own again!

I've been lucky to have the support of three super talented local Calgary musicians - Tim Leacock, T. Buckley and Derek Pulliam - who helped back me up when we were in Memphis for Folk Alliance last week.  Their stellar musicianship has been very motivating and I'm looking forward to potential collaborations in the future with them.

I've been writing, writing, daydreaming...and I've got about half an album floating around in my brain and in my heart.  The hope would be to be recording again this summer, album out by fall.  I just came up with that plan now.

Folk Alliance was a great thing to be a part of, especially since Alberta hadn't had official representation down there before.  The Bow Valley Music Club and Alberta Music Industry Association, as well as sponsors such as Andy Stanislav, are to thank for getting us down there and believing in Alberta musicianship!!  Check out my Media section for some photos.  I met some phenomenal people down there, very excited for what the future holds in terms of connections across this great country.  I am more invested than ever in supporting Alberta music and talent, and making everyone I can aware of what we've got going on in this beautiful province.

Thanks as always for the support, drop a line in my guestbook - it's got animated emoticons!!

Love, Brooke