Valentine Shelf Life

Barnaby Bennett at Shelf LifeI previously mentioned Simone Lee at Calgary bookstore Pages on Kensington. We did a little in-store appearance there a few years ago with the wonderful Lorrie Matheson. I wondered if we might do something similar this trip but Pages was maxed out handling sales at the Teachers' Convention so Simone suggested I get in touch with Shelf Life Books. It's a generously proportioned new shop on 4th St. across from Memorial Park but manager Wil was worried there wouldn't be much walk-up traffic. Still, he leapt in and arranged for Barnaby Bennett to come down and play and had a great set up for me on a flat screen TV in a corner of the store to do the presentation.

Yesterday's appearance on CJSW certainly helped drive some audience into the store and we did a nice little presentation. I'd watched a couple of Barnaby's videos on YouTube to acquaint myself but I'm not sure they quite do him justice. He has a kind of fragile, tremulous vocal delivery that completely draws you into the poetry of his songs – not only his own but his covers as well. He did two of each at Shelf Life, including covers of Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan" and Neil Young's "Long May You Run". It's a tough thing to cover such well known songs by such iconic artists but he actually brought something genuinely new to the interpretation of each. He gave me his CD "Shadows and Reflections: An Anthology" and I've already had it on repeat several times – very compelling listening. I highly recommend it! He also mentioned to me that he was particularly excited to return just yesterday from a European tour knowing he'd be playing Voyageur today so that was a real honour (and a fitting re-immersion in Canada!).

Thanks to Barnaby, Wil and his helpful staff at Shelf Life and those lovely folks who came in to spend part of their Valentine's Day with us!

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