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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Of Pain And Gain

Charles Cassino
Published Thursday October 15, 06:13 pm
Jen Lane perseveres through tribulation and tragedy


Saturday 17


From tribulation to triumph and then to tragedy, Saskatoon songstress Jen Lane has gone through the proverbial wringer while crafting her new album.

Titled This Life of Mine, the album captures a time in the singer / songwriter’s life when everything seemed to be going awry, including the unexpected death of a family member. But having emerged from the ordeal relatively unscathed, Lane says she now has her sights set firmly on the future.

While the full-length won’t appear until some time early next year, new material has already emerged.

Here are five things to know about her upcoming release:


The new album was recorded on an alpaca farm

Lane’s most recent album was a folk duet LP released with her musical partner-in-crime, John Antoniuk. (The two are also married, so there’s a lot of excellent partnerships going on here!) When it came time to start plotting her next solo outing, Lane hoped to tap American producer John Keane, who’s worked with the likes of R.E.M.

It didn’t happen.

I thought it was a great opportunity, but the harder I tried the more it fell apart,” says Lane.

We were on tour and there was no way I could get funding for it, and I had no idea what I was going to do. So we were playing at a venue in Kelowna and we got an offer to stay in the band house, [which was at] this massive alpaca farm. [And] at the farm was my dream studio. There was a guitar there that Eric Clapton had played, a massive piano and everything I would ever want in a studio.”

It was love at first sight, says Lane.

John Ellis, who had played on previous material with Lane, was eventually drafted to come out and helm the recording. It was a great match for Lane, who was toying with a more rootsy sound, away from the folk-pop formula that she normally had written with.

We hopped in a car after the tour and we met him in Kelowna. It all came together really beautifully.”


And then everything almost fell apart (again)

And then my grandfather passed away,” says Lane.

While she was out in Kelowna, she had received the sad news, and was seriously torn: Was it time to pack up and go home, or should she continue on in the studio?

Thankfully, the choice was made a whole lot easier by a bunch of family support — and the knowledge that her grandfather himself would be seriously pissed if she passed up this opportunity to make her music.

My family told me that I had to do this, which meant a lot to me,” says Lane.

And my first thought was that my grandfather would probably kick my ass if I came home — he was an artist and a supporter of my music. And it was bittersweet to be amongst all of these beautiful orchards and animals, but it was the perfect place to channel that grief into art.

I felt like that all happened for a reason.”


Lane has never released a single before

The album isn’t set to drop until early next year, but that hasn’t stopped Lane from teasing the new material. Her latest song “Shoe” has hit the airwaves as a single, and it’s been a welcome new world for the singer.

Being an indie artist, I always just figure it out as we go and I’ve always just released my albums the only way I knew how,” says Lane.

A quirky bluegrass song, the tune has already found a home on CBC’s satellite radio.

When we were in the car on our way home from supper one night, it came on the country show and obviously it was pretty exciting,” says Lane.

It was the first satellite radioplay I probably had as well.”


Shoe” is inspired by a Netflix series

At one point, after she injured her foot, Lane was holed up at home on crutches while John was away on tour. Attempting to find something to do while immobile, she quickly descended into Netflix and began crushing episodes of Orange is the New Black.

That’s when a light bulb went off.

There’s this part in the show where characters are incarcerated in a solitary confinement block called the SHU, and I thought, ‘This is my SHU,’” says Lane.


Lane isn’t a morning person (but then again who is?)

Now that she’s back on her feet and touring again, Jen and John have been across Canada several times in recent years, and are already plotting out their upcoming fall tour, including a residency in Toronto.

That also means doing a lot of press and promo work.

We’re doing lots of morning TV performances and I have no idea how we’re going to make that all work. I’m definitely not a morning person,” admits Lane with a laugh.

We’ll see if it’ll kill me.”

With all of the things she’s overcome to get to this point, here’s betting not.

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