Feature

My life as a songwriter and beer monger

Photo by Eldie Photography.

Life has been interesting to say the least. It has been almost 16 months since my husband and I opened Copper Bottom Brewing (a small microbrewery in Montague, PEI). It has been as challenging an experience as it has been a rewarding one. It has been grueling and joyful, . exhausting and amazing. Opening a business has truly tested my resilience and has built in me a sense of responsibility. The type of responsibility that I can imagine comes along with being a parent. I guess you could say that my husband and I are having a trial run at being parents to a bouncing baby beer business. When my husband, Ken Spears, was talking about opening up a brewery, I thought to myself, “What a quaint and wonderful idea. I hope he does well with that.” A few years later, I’m in the middle of an eight-month construction period, staining wood floors and praying that it will be over soon so that we can open the doors. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, however, I got involved in this “quaint” project and have become affectionately known around these parts as the “beer slinger folk singer.” 

Finding the balance between art and beer has been hard (although they do go together quite nicely). I’ve had to make some hard decisions around touring. I realized that, if I wanted to pour my full energy into Copper Bottom Brewing, I’d have to take a break from touring. I welcomed the change and have been surprisingly okay with being at home for the past few years. I feel as though it’s been making me a better songwriter, as my day-to-day life as a business owner creates unlimited fodder for writing. From the crazy situations we find ourselves in to all the colourful people we meet, there is always something to laugh about and sometimes to cry about. I find myself reflecting more now that I’m at home and going a little deeper into my personal writing well. I never would have thought that staying home would make me more creative, but I definitely feel as though that is happening. Life is funny eh? 

I find myself thinking about my childhood a lot these days and my life growing up in Murray Harbour North with my fisher-lady mom, Betty. I’ve been thinking about her strength and resilience as a single mom and business owner. I’ve been working on a one-woman show about her and her life here in Eastern PEI. I go into the same bank where she used to go and the same post office, and sometimes it feels as though a little of her energy still remains in those places, and I’m inspired to tell her story. I’m also recognizing a deep need within myself to write, to just sit and let ‘er rip. It’s something that I can do alone and for myself; it helps me work myself out on paper (not a super easy job). 

I could go on and on, and perhaps I’ll continue with the story in another post.  Meanwhile, I’ve also got some NEW music out: a single called “See The Light” that is available on iTunes and Spotify. You can hear the story behind the song and listen here.

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