PEI’s Tara MacLean, a JUNO-nominated songwriter and mother of three, has a new album and is preparing to launch the new version of her song-and-story production, Atlantic Blue.
Tara says that she is thrilled to be sharing her new album, entitled Deeper, and to be on cusp of launching a muscled-up version of her cabaret show, opening July 26 at The Mack as part of The 2019 Charlottetown Festival and directed by Mary-Francis Moore. “This journey is a reclamation of a legacy,” says Tara, amidst rehearsals. “It’s about being a part of a lineage of East Coast songwriters who have inspired me my whole life.”
The journey she speaks of is both career-oriented and an in-show celebration, as Atlantic Blue guides audiences through the deep roots of this region’s music scene. The songwriter and her cast breathe new life into songs from such legends as Gordie Sampson, Sarah McLachlan, Stan Rogers, Rita MacNeil, and others. Tara explores the people and places behind more than 20 conic anthems, paying homage to those musicians who found a way to create beauty from their own challenging experiences; and those who inspired Tara herself as an artist.
“We illuminate people like Gene MacLellan, who used to tour with my Dad and who was around the house when I was a child, singing ‘Put Your Hand in the Hand’,” remarks Tara, whose band also returns to the show, featuring PEI musicians Jon Matthews, Deryl Gallant, Todd MacLean, and Cynthia MacLeod.
For Tara it is extra special to join The Charlottetown Festival, she says, after spending two great summers shaping the show next door at The Guild, as the Festival runs in her blood. “My parents met while performing at Confederation Centre as 17-year-olds, so this place means a lot to me.”
Changes for the show include the addition of four Festival orchestra members and five backup singers who also provide narration for video interludes.
“I’m so excited to take the show to the next level, to have Adam Brazier and the artistic minds of the Centre expand things and put them in a whole new world,” says Tara.
Sponsored by Honibe, Atlantic Blue runs select dates until September 27 at The Mack in Charlottetown.