When Amanda Rheaume selected the performers for the upcoming Bluebird North concert series, Lyndell Montgomery’s musical prowess and her collaborative spirit were deciding factors.
Organized by the Songwriters Association of Canada, Bluebird North takes its title from a café in Nashville of the same name. The event displays four singer/songwriters as they take turns performing and speaking to the audience about their inspiration.
“Every Bluebird North show is authentic. You’re probably not going to see these four artists onstage together ever again,” Rheaume says. “What tends to happen is someone will start, they’ll play a song and then the next artist in line will be inspired by what that song was about. It’s organic how the songs get tied together.”
This year’s songbirds include Juno Award-winner James Keelaghan, Roxanne Potvin, John Carroll and Montgomery.
Rheaume first encountered Montgomery when the multi-instrumentalist was performing with her long-time partner, on and off the stage, Ember Swift. Rheaume says Montgomery’s aesthetic fit perfectly with the event.
“She’s a great person aside from being a great songwriter,” Rheaume says. “[Being a multi-instrumentalist] is a great addition to a concert like this. What tends to happen is people start jamming with each other. For me, it’s important to include artists that are not only amazing at their songwriting; they can also contribute on a musical level as well.”
A violinist and bassist, Montgomery says each instrument tells its own story.
“What I love about it is being able to pick up one and tell a story one way and play the exact same song on the other and tell the story another way,” she says.
Montgomery began a new chapter personally and professionally after she parted ways with Swift a few years ago and found herself single, living on an isolated farm outside of Ottawa.
But it didn’t take long for this avid gardener to join forces with Kristin Sweetland, a trained flamenco dancer. Together, they formed the collaborative musical duo Captain Dirt and The Skirt.
Montgomery calls their union “accidental brilliance”; they hope to release their debut full-length album this spring. The collection is produced by David Travers-Smith, who has previously worked with Ani DiFranco and The Wailin’ Jennys.
“We thought, ‘What kind of porn is that going to bring up?’” Montgomery laughs about the duo’s website, dirtandskirt.com.
Montgomery says she’s looking forward to the Bluebird show’s improvised interactions onstage. “I’ve been a side player for most of my career, so presenting songs is a very vulnerable way to experience myself musically.”
Ottawa Bluebird North
Friday, March 1, 7 pm
430 Breezehill North
$15 advance, $20 door
Tickets available at Ottawa Folklore