Not that I want to glorify the consumption of alcohol when it pertains to music-making (or anything else, for that matter!), but a general swig of bourbon when making yourself vulnerable in front of a new musical companion…well…it doesn’t hurt. Last night I inaugurated a session of Thirsty Thursdays with my neighbour and partner-in-crime, Shawn McEwen. Shawn and I have been neighbours for all the years I have lived in my Kitchener home, and his musical bent has been known to me for quite some time (thanks Porch Parties). It first really came to collaboration during the initial weeks of lockdown in March/April/May of 2020, when our street was ringing bells and banging pots for frontline workers (some of our neighbours are still doing it, and were featured on a recent local CBC broadcast for their efforts: Shawn and I would emerge every evening at 7:30 and in addition to our pot-banging and bell ringing–in rhythm and sync, naturally–would collectively howl to the moon. It was a moment of connection through primal music making!

As a follow up to this thrilling collaboration, I soon joined Shawn’s neighbourhood “Biker Gang”, as we raised funds for Ride for Refuge and healed our collective bruised COVID souls in the process. More than a year later, we have continued to cement this cycling bond, getting to know one another (there’s a small, tight group who have been meeting up to do this on the regular) and sharing some of our trials and triumphs. It was during one of these many rides recently that Shawn and I started talking about music. He mentioned that he loves to play guitar and sing, but often feels self-conscious when performing, and he’d like to get more comfortable. I confessed to my new ukulele obsession, and talked about my battles with (and embracing of) imperfection as I learned a new instrument at which I was at best, incompetent. The idea for Thirsty Thursdays was born!

Last night, we finally made it, surmounting our various excuses and actually convening on my back porch for an hour and a half of song, harmony, bourbon drinking (thanks Glen Carruthers, for those last drops from the bottle pictured here) and above all, connecting over stories and music. We hope to add others to our mix as we go along, but in the meantime, I can only recommend reaching out to someone you know who might be a kindred musical spirit and being willing to just show up and give it a go. Thirsty Thursdays, rock on!