MUSIC – Canadian Sarah MacDougall's on song for Glasgow

SHE was 11 when she started writing songs, and Sarah MacDougall says it has always been her way of expressing herself.

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Sarah MacDougall says visiting Scotland is like being at home in Canada
Sarah MacDougall says visiting Scotland is like being at home in Canada

The first line of the first song on her latest album summarises how the Canadian singer-songwriter views her work.

"Some people put their lives into a dream, I put my life inside a song."

Sarah's new album, The Greatest Ones Alive, is her second, and this will be the second time she has brought her work to Glasgow.

Performing for the first time as a duo with bassist MJ Dandeneau, she will play an intimate show at Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club tomorrow.

Sarah, 33, said she hoped the audience would be moved by the music.

"I hope that they walk away with a good feeling, that they can feel something deep within themselves from the music."

'The Greatest Ones Alive' is based around the theme of 'storms' – both in nature and emotionally."

It follows on from her debut, Across the Atlantic, which came out in 2009.

She said she chose to write about the idea of storms because "life is a storm".

"I think it's the ups and downs in life and storms in general.

"I think it was a time too when there were a lot of big storms in the world and there was lots of talk about it.

"And in my own life, turning 30 and I had a bit of a crisis about that. I was thinking about how to stand strong in a stormy life or stormy times."

Sarah took about a year to pull the album together, including a really intense month of recording.

"It was both easy and hard," she explained.

"The recording was really intense, we recorded in the studio each day for 30 days and about 13 hours a day, so it was quite gruelling.

"And then I mixed it, but I wasn't happy with the mix and the engineer, so I had to switch engineers and I ended up recording a few more songs when I moved, so that's why it took so long."

Although she lives on the other side of the world, Sarah has Scottish routes.

Her family hails from Oban, and she thinks it was her great-great-grandfather who made the trip across the Atlantic to Canada.

Now Sarah loves coming to Glasgow, and has played at the Glasgow Americana Festival twice.

She said: "I love it. I like Scotland in general. I think that it is old but new at the same time.

"Every time I have come here I have come up from England, where it is so congested with people and crazy everywhere.

"Then you get to Scotland and it is like sheep in the fields, calmer.

"It reminds me of Canada a bit, with all the green and space and I think Glasgow people – and Scots in general – are really open and generous and nice."

Now she is coming up to the final straight of her intense 13-date tour following three weeks playing to fans in Europe.

Although she is enjoying it, Sarah is looking forward to getting a day off in Glasgow after the gig.

She said: "I think we are going to go and try some haggis somewhere, we have never tried it so it is about time. And we will probably just go shopping and buy some whisky."

l Sarah will perform at Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club tomorrow, supported by Glasgow singer/songwriter Stephanie Manns. Tickets cost £10 and doors open at 8pm. For info, visit www.woodendbltc.co.uk/index.php

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