Vancouver performers Reid Jameison and Carolyn Victoria Mill will be performing twice at the Beaton’s residents in Qualicum Beach on Dec. 8. — Courtesy Reid Jamieson

You can’t not play the Cohen

Leondard Cohen tribute album songs to form part of duo’s back-to-back shows Dec. 8 in Qualicum Beach

A charming combo of husband and wife with an eclectic folk and soul sound are headed to Qualicum Beach with songs by one of Canada’s master songwriters.

Vancouver’s Reid Jamieson along with his wife and songwriting partner Carolyn Victoria Mill will be performing a pair of shows Dec. 8 at the Beaton residence in Qualicum Beach that will include selections from their latest album, Dear Leonard: The Cohen Collection.

Inspired by Cohen’s amazing, expressive writing, other artists’ covers of his music and Mill’s mom whose “a ginormous Leonard Cohen fan,” the pair released seven covers and an original song, Dear Leonard, last year before Cohen died.

Dipping into an eclectic combo of folk, country, jazz, soul and more to come up with the covers, the result is an often light and clear take on Cohen’s music, with Jamieson on guitar and singing, and Mill lending her voice as well.

Asked whether these songs will form part of their performances Dec. 8, Mill said, “Oh honey, you can’t not play the Cohen if you’ve got the Cohen.”

But the two won’t let the master’s songs keep them from creating their own. They’ve got not one but two original albums on the horizon.

They plan to push their soul sound, and create some dancing music with one album to be recorded in Ireland in the spring, and another to focus on the causes of homelessness.

“The first record that we’re going to make in Ireland is really a soundtrack for the second act,” said Mill. “It’s more about all the things that compel us as we age. We both feel like those are under-represented. Music is so much a young person’s game… there are some pretty grown-up themes that we’d like to explore on this Irish record,” she said.

“The great thing about Ireland is they love a sad song.”

It’s the second album — the one about the causes of homelessness — that they plan to make upbeat and good to dance to.

“This is going to be the great trick we hope to pull off,” said Mill.

The pair was inspired to write on this topic after moving from Toronto to Vancouver, they said, and being “shocked when we saw how great the homeless issue is here,” Mill said.

“But most importantly, and I have to say most importantly, the staggering disproportionate representation of Indigenous folks on the street, and certainly the mistreatment of their women and girls. We were frozen, paralyzed by the horror of that, and we slowly worked our way up to thinking about what we could honestly do about that ourselves.”

The idea is to create songs so fun to sing and groove to that people will be learning about homelessness and things they can do to stop the cycle without even noticing.

“It’s a little sneaky, but it’s what we hope to pull off,” said Mill.

Jamieson and Mill will be performing at the Beaton’s in Qualicum Beach on Friday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m.

Price of admission is $20. To reserve your spot and to get the address, email Joyce Beaton at beatonqualicum@gmail.com.

For those who can’t make it to this show, Jamieson and Mill will be back in town at the MAC on June 22, 2018.

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