Queen's University — Since 1873
31st May 2011

No more waitin’ and seein’

Despite a recent shake-up to her band, Nova Scotia’s Carmen Townsend is ready to bring her rock tunes and rollicking live set to the Mansion

On the eve of touring for her debut album, Carmen Townsend faced a major set-back. 
Her drummer broke his hand, forcing Townsend to have to search Cape Breton for a new 
drummer, which she found in Steve Wilton who she refers to as “Wonder Boy.”
On the eve of touring for her debut album, Carmen Townsend faced a major set-back. Her drummer broke his hand, forcing Townsend to have to search Cape Breton for a new drummer, which she found in Steve Wilton who she refers to as “Wonder Boy.” (Supplied)

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Carmen Townsend and her bandmates are touring Canada in a minivan this month and they’re looking for places to stay.

“Want to support some hard working rockers? We might need a place to crash,” Townsend tweeted on May 16.

The Cape Breton singer-songwriter hasn’t stopped touring since the January 2011 release of her debut album Waitin’ and Seein’. She just returned from her mini tour in the UK last Monday.

She started the year with a Canada-wide tour, opening for Heart. The tour was Townsend’s first time performing her music for thousands, a slight adjustment from her beginnings playing in a Sydney, Nova Scotia barn six years ago.

“The Heart shows were just me and an acoustic guitar, so it was kind of freaky at first,” she said. “I’m so used to having the rock band, that’s my thing.” Playing in famed venues like Toronto’s Massey Hall gave Townsend a chance to reflect on her growth as an artist and a performer.

“I’ve been performing since I was fifteen,” Townsend, (34), said. “It was like a pat on the back.” Last weekend, Townsend started her Canadian tour in Hamilton with bass player Shane O’Handley and new drummer Steve Wilton—added just days ago. For Townsend, going home provides constant inspiration.

“Actually, I wrote quite a bit of the songs [from the album], lyric wise, hunkered down in a little cottage by the ocean,” Townsend said. “I love being by the water and being in the woods and I get a lot of inspiration from nature for my songs. It’s always a nice opportunity to get away and write.” Townsend and her band will play at the Mansion tomorrow night, but you won’t find them partying before or after a show.

“We aren’t very big party animals,” Townsend said. “We like to hang out and meet new people and have a good time … all the commotion and people talking is very dangerous as a singer because that’s when you lose your voice … When you’re driving all over the place it’s nice to take it easy and take good care of yourself.”

Although Townsend is busy touring across Canada until mid-August, she’s already contemplating what’s next.

“After the tour, we are getting into festival season,” Townsend said, with plans to play at Evolve Festival and the Calgary Stampede. “I know we are heading back to Australia and we’ll see about the next album from there, I think I need more hours!”

Carmen Townsend plays at the Mansion on June 1 at 10:30 p.m.

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