When Liv Wade drives home, she doesn’t spend hours stuck in traffic. Her commute is actually one of the better parts of her day.
That commute is the basis for the song Cranberry Lane, the first single off her new album entitled A Piece of Paradise that came out on Dec. 20. Salt Springers will recognize some of the imagery from Cranberry Lane, including a description of a farmhouse next to the road and “the open spaces watching . . . with room to breathe.”
Wade, who lives on a farm up in the Cranberry Valley, said that the appreciation for the small and beautiful things in life is one of the major themes of her new album.
“I think that the album is about really appreciating those things around us and what we do have personally,” she said. “When you’re used to something all the time it’s easy to maybe not appreciate it the same way . . . When I drive home I look around at this beautiful place I live . . . I come home feeling liberated by looking around at the natural world, compared to being stuck in traffic in the city, or being stressed or having to get somewhere at a particular time.”
Wade released her first album in 2011, and has been recording music ever since. A Piece of Paradise is a step away from her last release, 2017’s Resilience. Though the album is meant to showcase the better things in life, Wade touches on some darker places in some of the new tracks. Her song Hard Days was inspired by the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline by First Nations people from the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
“I was thinking about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and how mainly Indigenous people are at the forefront of this. Obviously there are lots of allies who have come forward, but that song in particular is where I try to put not outright political statements, but an underlying theme of ‘Hey, water is what we need and we have people out there fighting for our rights to drink clean water,’” she said.
Wade is Metis, and her music has a connection to Indigenous rights and issues in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Hard Days’ inspiration is one example of that. She explained that while there are a lot of small things that we can turn to and appreciate to make our lives better, we also have to fight for those things that we love.
“I think of situations up in Northern Canada in small Indigenous communities that don’t have water as a basic human right. Going back to [where I live and] Cranberry Lane, I get fresh, clean drinking water every day,” she said. “There’s a huge contrast in that.”
Wade also touches on LGBTQ rights and issues in her music. The final track on the album, Fragile, is meant as a call to youth who are dealing with accepting their sexuality and comes from Wade’s own experience with that.
“I think about there being suicides in the northern parts of Canada with the young people who happen to be somewhere on the LGBTQ Two Spirit spectrum. They are young people taking their own lives because they don’t feel like they have a place in the world or that they have those role models to look up to,” she said.
Wade is planning shows for 2020 all over the province, including some on Salt Spring that are yet to be announced.
Piece of Paradise is available to download on Apple Music, and to stream on Spotify.