In Conversation: Jessica Pearson and the East Wind

Clara Charron of Pop of Colour caught up with  Jessica Pearson and the East Wind for us here at When The Horn Blows.
The interview includes Jessica's transition from a solo project to a band with the addition of the East Wind (and its meaning), touring overseas, and unique fundraising ideas involving lots of jam!

I was recently invited to interview any artist I like for the UK music blog, When The Horn Blows. Naturally, my first idea was to ask my favourite Celtic Canadiana band: Jessica Pearson and the East Wind.

The trio, composed of Jessica Pearson, Maddy O’Regan and Pat Bigelow, joined me in a group Facebook chat, which was really more of a conversation than a formal interview.

Jessica, of course, had released a solo country album, a little over a year ago; 'Country In Us' is on regular rotation in my collection. When asked how her sound had changed since becoming a band, she happily gushed “I feel more confident [with my] inner music and sound. We all put info into the songs and the arrangements. I love having all these different opinions and I believe we make it the best song can be. I also feel that our sound has a little bit of all of us in it, not just myself which I believe makes us stronger as a band!”

Adding on “the East Wind” was the idea of bassist Pat. “So, my mother's family is from a wee little town called Charlo on the northern east coast of New Brunswick. Like, right on the waterfront,” he explained. “You can imagine then why the locals in Charlo take the coming of an east wind very seriously… Particularly in high tide seasons. In the past, a storm with an east wind has torn away land from the beach, and one year, high tide and wind even took my uncles' back porch, and flooded his basement. My grandfather and uncles would always speak sort of ominously of, or even, with a sort of respect for the east wind. So for this reason I've been alway sort of enchanted by the idea. It also has a pretty significant presence in western culture and literature. Even some enchanting bible passages: Jonah 4:8 has “When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, 'It is better for me to die than to live.'" I've had it in the back of my mind to use as a name of a project of some kind for a number of years. When I joined Jess and Maddy, the name found a perfect home for a group that is working with Eastern influences.” Note to international readers: in this context, Pat is referring to the East Coast of Canada, on the Atlantic Ocean, where he’s from. To quote Jessica, “we are a mixture of folk and country roots with a maritime splash.”

Jessica and Maddy have already played on the other side of the pond, and from the sounds of it, had a good time. ”The amount of musicians and people in the industry that wanted to help out, was insane. thats always the first thing I tell people,” Maddy jumps in. “It was extremely inspiring to get out of your comfort zone, learn new things from musicians from a different culture and see things in a new way in Ireland and Scotland,” Jessica adds. “The nature there is just beautiful and inspiring.” Of course, next time, they’re bringing Pat. “There is a possibility of a European Tour this September, but nothing solid yet. If not this this year, next year for sure,” Jessica confides.

To raise funds for the tour last year, Maddy and Jessica were bouncing fundraising ideas off each other. Maddy tells the story, laughing: “We didn't really want to sell anything typical like shirts or hats, and didn't have enough time to put music together to sell, so we thought of jam [the kind you put on bread]… Because Jess And Maddy = J.A.M. I Googled local jam makers, we stumbled upon MichaelsDolce, emailed him, and we got together the next day and he loved the idea!” Spread (excuse the pun) out every merch table at their shows, jars of jam can be purchased. I believe it is very important to have merch that stands out from everything else. It is nice to have T-shirts and CD's but I find having a unique merch Item helps people remember who you are and also is more interested for them to purchase. We will be getting T-shirts and Stickers, but I believe that Jam helps us stand out among all of the other artists in Ottawa.”

Jessica Pearson and The East Wind are recording an EP in May 2017. In the meantime, keep up to date with them via their official website.