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Sarah Harmer: Looking Back & Stepping Up

Sarah Harmer: Looking Back & Stepping Up

Nominee, 2021 JUNO Award, Adult Alternative Album of the Year for “Are You Gone”

Sarah Harmer didn’t set out for her new album “Are You Gone” to be the spiritual successor of her debut album “You Were Here,” released 21 years ago. But, she says, they turned out to be “bookends” for each other, as each album has songs that explore lives lost. On “You Were Here,” the title track was an ode to Harmer’s friend and former bandmate, Joe Chithalen, who had died in 1999.

I’m just sad for myself
Cause I know you’re clear
But I would love it if you were here

“You Were Here”

Sarah Harmer’s album “Are You Gone” is one of five nominees for the 2021 JUNO Award for Alternative Adult Album of the Year. She previously won this award for her 2005 album ‘All of Our Names.’

On Harmer’s new album, released in 2020, there’s a solemn tone to some of the songs, but there is also a sense of honouring and celebrating the lives of people no longer with us. “Shoemaker” is a song inspired by a photo Harmer found of her great-grandfather. Curious about who he had been, Harmer delved into genealogical research sites. The song imagines what it was like for John, a shoemaker from Glasgow, to travel to Canada in 1843.

A lonely sky
A shoemaker’s eye
Had never seen a horizon
So wide

“Shoemaker”

Read the rest of this story by Andrea Gunn on the Visit Kingston website.

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