Four-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee, Sarah Jane Scouten will shortly be appearing across the UK as she supports UK Country artist Ags Connolly on his UK tour from May 16-22 with shows in Lincoln, Bristol, Winchester, London, Crawley and Symondsbury. We recently caught up with Sarah to find out more about her and what to expect from the run of shows.
How did the opportunity to tour with Ags Connolly come about? Our friendship came about through a love of songwriting. I'd been hearing about Ags for a while, but I first listened to his song Slow Burner when a songwriting student played it for me. I was blown away and wrote to Ags right away to tell him so.
Will this tour be an opportunity to visit new parts of the country? I have to say, I have hit the dusty trails of the UK quite a bit as I travel from our home in SW Scotland to Devon once a month for a professional herbal medicine course. I love the South West, especially the cider and the truly excellent granola crunching misfits of Somerset and Devon. I've never played in Symondsbury but Ags tells me our show is going to be a really feel-good time, one of his favourite small gigs.
How have you found learning Ags’ songs for your nightly song swap? I love his music and I feel he really captures the essence of Americana music. It's a genre that is really wrapped up in the idea of authenticity, but it doesn't make sense for such an excellent music genre should only be played by a certain group of people ie. Americans. As a Canadian, I've struggled with my own identity as an Americana/alt-Country artist, as I'm not from the Southern US even though I've traveled there loads and learned so much about their music traditions in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana. Canada also has its rich history of country music that we've always brought to the genre. In Ags' music, I feel there's something timeless and rooted in real feeling. It doesn't matter if he's English, he's country and it's cool.
Will this tour be an opportunity to share new music? Big time. I've written a new album that will be recorded this summer when I'm back in Canada. I can't wait, as I'm playing with some of the most talented and good hearted musicians I know. So this tour will be an opportunity to share some of these songs that haven't seen the light of day since COVID. They are some of the best songs I've ever written. I haven't asked Ags yet... but I imagine he'll pull something from up his sleeve. That's why I love a song swap.
Have you had many opportunities to perform live since the end of the lockdowns? Here and there. I did some great songwriter-in-the-round shows in Canada in December with some truly excellent songwriters. I started teaching songwriting a lot over lock down and have had some really cool opportunities come my way through that. I'm also touring a bit with Canadian songwriter Suzie Ungerleider in the UK in June and will be touring Europe in October. It's getting busier. I haven't thrown my full weight into it because of the intensity of what I'm studying. It's full-on. It's nice to feel like I have fuel in the tank and I'm not taking on more than I can handle at the moment. When the record comes out next year and I qualify as a herbalist, we'll be going again and that'll feel great.