Via Rail Tour Part 1

Posted by: Posted on: May 21, 2013

These last few weeks have blurred together in a way that forces me a pinch myself most days to remember where I am. Firstly, May 9th we released the new CD, Unravel, to a sold out crowd at Citadel Theatre, and I can honestly say I haven’t felt that ecstatic in a very long time. To be surrounded by such supportive friends and family, along with new listeners I’ve never met, and to play in such a beautiful venue – one where I could really share my stories was such a treat. Radio, media and so many people have really gotten behind me in Edmonton to promote this record. I got to perform with a “dream team” band who have played with some of my favourite artists – Mike Lent on Bass, Sandro Dominelli on Drums, and Jim Head on Guitars as well and my awesome little brother Wayne. A very very special thanks to Breakfast Television’s Ryan Jespersen for stepping in at the last minute as a host and making it that much more fun! I really felt like I was 100% myself during that show and just had an absolute blast! Between the venue booking, getting people there, rehearsals, media, and finding something to wear, we all laughed that it was like I got married and planned a wedding. There were times when it did indeed feel like that, and I really felt just as happy as I’m hoping to feel on such an occasion.

It has been an incredibly busy last little while – promoting and booking the tour and new album while still working full time. By the time we finally jumped onto VIA Rail for the first leg of our tour after the release show, it was hard to believe it all was actually happening. The train has been an absolute pleasure so far! Audiences are not only attentive and wonderful, but love to chat afterwards and have tons of stories to share. And since we’ve got hours on the road, er rails, we’ve met so many cool people. There are young international students, retirees, and everything in between. Wayne and I have been saying it’s like summer camp, in that you are always meeting and hanging out with someone new. There is wine tasting, a games room, a glass cart to watch the world go by, and we were given our own private room by VIA. The food has been out of this world! I admit, I didn’t know what to expect when getting on, but we’ve had lamb, lobster, duck and have gotten seated in the dining car with new friends to meet every single time. We are really getting spoiled. Being performers, most people on board get to know us quickly, and so conversations with the crew and passengers have been easy and a ton of fun.

We arrived in Vancouver for a few days on the 13th and I was lucky enough to stay with my lovely friend Katie (whom I adore and had really missed!). When she was working during the day, I did my best to meet with some music industry people for coffee, get to know them a little better, and pick their brains a bit. I’m so lucky that they were willing to spend some time with me. I even got invited as a guest to a yoga class one of them was teaching on the side. It’s amazing how many Alberta friends have ended up in Vancouver, and a fellow touring musician/ actress Lindsey Walker was a special addition in an improv show we got to enjoy too!

Our first show was in beautiful Victoria. After a short ferry ride over (which was worth the trip alone!), we found ourselves in the cutest and most delightful little theatre called Merlin’s Home Theatre, a full soft seater built in someone’s house. The host, Tim Gosley, has had a great career as a puppeteer for the Muppets and Seseame Street and was such an interesting guy. Our opening act was the local duo Kasper & Howe and they were awesome. It was such a warm evening, and you could hear a pin drop in that room. We even did a couple unplugged tunes with James Kasper joining in on harmonica – along with percussionist Brad Hawkes who graciously accompanied us during our set and had learned all our tunes.

Erica Viegas Live

Our show in Vancouver the next night was a great chance to reconnect with a lot of friends who came out to show their support and we had a great evening at Falconetti’s. The time in Vancouver was a great chance to connect with fellow artists, meet and scope out venues, and watch the world go by over some great coffee and chats. Even managed to squeeze in a pedicure with Katie and have some ridiculous laughs and crazy car dances. The best friendships always seem to be able to pick up again after time apart!

We played 4 train shows on Saturday, one in the station in Jasper, and continued to marvel at the amazing views along the way. One of our shows was in the “Panorama cart”, which is basically completely glass, so we were playing our songs while driving through lakes and mountains. Once we got interrupted by a bear sighting….which I don’t think too many musicians can say of their shows : )

I’m sitting at a café in Saskatoon on a day off today trying to soak it all it. It’s been going by so quickly, and I feel so lucky to be on this journey with Wayne. We’ve spent a lot of time together in close quarters and had an absolute ball together – so many silly laughs and jokes. The train really has been perfect. If either of us needs space, we have an entire train to scope out and find a corner to take things in alone. As fun as it’s all been, there is a lot of “people” time. As you know, I’m a people person and so I’ve really thrived on all the new stories and faces. But it does get tiring sometimes too. Today is the first day we’ve split off to do our town thing – and it’s both a welcome break to be without anyone and an odd feeling at the same time. In an funny series of events, I got asked to judge the town finals in a Poetry Slam tonight. I was sitting along eating dinner at a pub, and a group decided after chatting with me, that I would be an excellently unbiased judge since I don’t know anyone or have friends in the competition. There really never is a dull moment!


I feel so lucky to be out actually playing my own music in all of these places. Each crowd has been so different, but there is something that feels great about taking baby steps towards your dreams, even when they feel crazy. An especially big thank you to all the radio that has picked up Unravel and supported it. We are in the CKUA Top 30 this week and have been added to UP 99.3 and their rotation – my first commercial radio play- as well as great support from CBC. Also – if you are reading this, then you’ve noticed by amazing new website by destroythebox! Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I want to make this music as shareable as possible, so if you have any suggestions for me, or ways that I could make that easier for you, please let me know!

Also, our lovely parents stopped by to surprise us with cards and tea last night as our train rolled past Edmonton at 1:30 am, stopping for a few minutes before resuming journey. We were apparently snoring so loudly that no amount of crew members knocking on our cabin door could stir us from our sound slumber. I felt so loved, and yet so sad, to wake up in the morning to their little notes and find out that we had slept through their visit. Good thing we’ve only been gone a week!

6 thoughts on “Via Rail Tour Part 1

  1. Hey Erica, nice blog — great to hear all about your trip. Your Alberta friends can listen to 3 songs from the new album this Saturday May 24 on the Key of A — CBC Radio 1 starting at 5pm!

  2. Hi Erica, Evelyn is still talking about the concert at the Citadel. It was a great night of music and inspiring for a little singer. Keep up the great work.

    • I am so so happy she was able to come! My mom told me half the fun of the show was watching her watch all the songs :) And it is so wonderful to get a chance to see live music at that age. I’m so happy you brought her!

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