Whitehorse with Daniel Romano
When: Sunday, 7 p.m.
Where: Upstairs Cabaret (15 Bastion Sq.)
Tickets: A very limited number of tickets ($30) will be available at the door
For a musician, the worst part of touring involves leaving loved ones behind.
That isn’t something singer-songwriters Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, who perform together as Whitehorse, worry much about.
“In our case, we’re taking home with us on the road,” McClelland said.
There is one small issue for Doucet and McClelland, however. During the early years of their marriage, the couple had to pursue various revenue streams to support themselves, be it producing or performing. Nowadays, the only project bringing in money is the rootsy Whitehorse.
So far the getting is good, according to McClelland. “It’s kind of an all-or-nothing kind of thing going on here. But we had experience working together and touring together, so we knew we had that good balance.”
The two performers, who were married in 2006, had solid solo careers before Whitehorse came into being in 2011; both were also longtime members of Sarah McLachlan’s touring band, which helped develop their onstage chemistry. Doucet and McClelland knew Whitehorse would work long before they made it official, but some hesitation remained.
Playing together and independently of one another is one thing. Having the household income come via a group that features both members of a marriage is another entirely. “As far as spending every minute of every day together, that gets intense,” McClelland said.
“But the flip side of that is never seeing each other. If the benefits didn’t outweigh the challenges, I don’t think we’d do it.”
McClelland was chatting from Los Angeles, where she and Doucet were enjoying a few days off before the Whitehorse tour kicks off Saturday in Vancouver. They have been living a nomadic existence for the better part of seven months, “floating around” between stretches of touring, McClelland said.
Two years ago, they rented out the house they own in Hamilton, Ont., and moved to New York City. The couple spent a year in Manhattan, but gave up on the dream after spending only seven weeks in their apartment. “It was basically a hotel for our friends and family,” McClelland joked.
They agreed to live on the road until their motivation for doing so ran out, McClelland said. “Now, when we have a few days off, we kind of decide on a whim what city we want to go to. We looked at the weather, and Los Angeles was 25 degrees so here we are.”
Theirs is not strictly a two-person party. McClelland and Doucet strive for personal and professional balance outside of Whitehorse, and on occasion go their separate ways during time off from the group. “If we were to lose that, we would kind of go stir crazy.”
The duo is touring Canada in support of its second album, The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss. The title is a metaphor, of sorts, for the pressure resting on the project. By the same token, the go-for-broke emotion instilled into each song — if not the spectacular pairing of their voices — is what makes Whitehorse such a rewarding musical journey, especially in concert.
“We’ve sung together for many years now, and I think we’ve developed this unspoken, intuitive thing that happens on stage. We can read each other’s minds, and follow each other.”
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