On The Train For The Off The Rails Tour!
Post Dated: Penned late June 21st, 2015
Seems counter-intuitive, don’t it?
We’re off again - bringing our music across Canada on the train this time! (For those of you just meeting us, we’re Dan and Kasey of Tiger Moon; a travelling free-folk duo who tend to disappear from the ‘real world’ on a regular basis.)
This time around, we’re playing music on the train as Artists On Board from Vancouver to Toronto, at which point we’ll disembark and begin a short tour through Ontario. Dates have been booked in Toronto, St. Catharines, Bowmanville, all over the Ottawa Valley and in Montreal, QC. After the Ontario tour, we’ll be taking off to Halifax once again on a train with our friends at VIA Rail!
Photo courtesy of www.viarail.ca
It’s been my dream since I was a young lad to travel across Canada by train. I’ve always been fascinated by rail travel, and once I learned that there were trains busily carrying freight and passengers coast to coast throughout Canada’s majestic landscapes I was hooked on the idea. I had been applying to the VIA Rail Artists On Board Program for the past four years with no success. Kasey and I have applied together twice in those years and finally were accepted. Now, as I type, I find myself in Cabin D of Car 222 (Douglas Manor), hurtling through the vibrant greenery of Northern Ontario. We’re just East of the Manitoba-Ontario border, and it’s a dream come true for little-boy Dan.
Photo courtesy of thedailymail.co.uk. Despite his weird triangular eyebrows, Thomas was my hero.
Just like the “Play For Your Supper Tour” we undertook in 2013-2014, Kasey and I have saved all our cash, energy and resources to make this tour happen. We took a break from performing for 3 months to work on new material and to refocus. Since the last tour we have added a ton of new music, tweaked our sound, released a brand new EP, and added a third piece to Tiger Moon.
What’s much different from the last tour is that we aren’t carrying this tour out with our beloved tour van and band morale beacon, Clementine. (I’m sure many of our supporters just gave a sigh of relief…) We adore Clementine, and we’ll miss her for the time being, but we’ve decided that Clemmy just ain’t the spring chicken she used to be. So consequently, her touring territory is now restricted to BC and WA - which is still a pretty good touring territory for the old gal!
We’re also beginning this tour with our fancy new three-piece sound, so we’re gonna stomp some boots for Ontario. Taylor Gross of Kelowna’s upbeat Reggae Folk Rock band My Kind Of Karma has joined us - on bass AND kick drum! We got a one-man rhythm section! Taylor will be joining us for the shows at Rancho Relaxo, Mahtay Café and ManAntler Brewery.
I digress… Back to this new and improved tour!
Douglas Manor… Seems appropriate!
Kasey and I spent all of last week working and packing as most of the planning for this tour had already been completed. We had already organized our Ontario shows & events, booked our ride out to Halifax with VIA Rail, played our tour kickoff show as well as the first of three brewery stops at Firehall Brewery in Oliver, BC, and just needed to get our butts to Vancouver to catch the train. Enter Kasey’s awesome Mom, Kenna.
Kenna is a busy artist in the Okanagan, always managing to keep busy with here friends and family, and searching for treasures of all types; be it antiquities, special individuals, natural health foods & products, or as Kasey can attest to, boots. She drove us to Vancouver, took us out to Rodney’s Oyster Bar, put us up in a beautiful hotel, and got us each a pair of new kicks to keep our toes tapping. I think she was secretly trying to ensure we don’t forget about everybody back in Kelowna…
We boarded the train at about 8pm on Friday, June 19th. Though the cabins are small, we quickly found a way to efficiently store instruments, packs, and albums. Since boarding, we’ve played two station stops, (basically busking in Vancouver and Jasper), and three times a day on the train. So far we’ve played about 9 hours of music, and we have yet to get through most of Ontario.
So as we crash headlong through the heartland of Ontario, my thoughts haven’t swayed much from the fact that this is a dream come true. I was expecting to get a lot of songwriting done on the train, but I’m too heavily affected by the sights, sounds and smells of railway travel. There are people of all ages, all ethnicities, and all walks of life on this train.
There is a couple here from Summerland, BC who are here strictly for the train trip they are doing the trip to Toronto and flying back shortly after they arrive. There is a young family from China here with a little girl whom everybody on board knows - she makes sure to say “HI!” and “BYE BYE” to everybody passing by her. There is a lady from the UK who is taking a Winnie The Pooh plush along with her on the trip, and taking photos of Pooh at every stop. (Winnie The Pooh has a very rich history tied tightly with the Canadian Railway, so this made me smile.) I would definitely recommend this trip to anybody - and I’m not even done it yet. Granted, it’s not an inexpensive way to travel, but it’s a pretty breathtaking and relaxing way to travel and see our country.
So far, this trip has already endowed me with much of what I was looking for; an opportunity to sit back and think, and enjoy the countryside without the distraction of being behind the wheel of a car. One can complete thoughts more easily when they don’t have a tailgating grandma in the rear view mirror.
Kasey and I eagerly await what Ontario has in store for us. You’ll be hearing from us very soon!
Our porters, servers, and service managers onboard the train have been amazing. Shoutouts go to Moun, Stacy, Patrick, François, Luca, Jeremy and Jil! Thank you!