Despite the personal battles Carolyn Anele was facing, she never gave up and never backed down.
Instead, Anele used her songwriting and visual art to work through the problems she faced. Out of that tumult came the folky singer-songwriter’s sophomore full-length album Wishes, Dreams and Centuries for which a CD release concert is slated for Sept. 29 at Paddlewheel Park Hall.
“Twenty-seventeen was one of the most difficult, emotionally-draining years I’ve ever gone through,” Anele said. “This song (Bring That Mountain Down) came from that turmoil, so it was rewarding for it to be acknowledged as a finalist in both the 2017 United Kingdom International Songwriting Contest and the Great American Song Contest in the country categories.”
Bring That Mountain Down, Anele said, encapsulates the challenges she faced through heartfelt and uplifting lyrics despite the difficult subject matter.
And it’s a song and album that helped the wife and mother-of-two deal with the trials and tribulations put in front of her.
“By the end of that year, I just needed to dive right into creativity,” Anele said. “I need to put other things aside and go into my own creative space. That’s why I started painting. That’s why I started this album and recorded it – to help me stay balanced.”
Recorded in Lake Studios in Kelowna, the 12-track drop, which was nine months in the making, features some of Anele’s classics with new material for a blend of folk, singer-songwriter, bluegrass and country tightly wrapped in the artist’s unique style.
“These are songs I’ve performed throughout the Valley. I just really wanted to get them down on this album,” Anele said.
While she draws from a wide variety of influences, Anele said her music tends to lean to the folk and singer-songwriter vein, but she doesn’t like to limit herself to any specific genre. Instead, her sound varies as much as her subject matter.
“I think that there’s a deeper, more spiritual place I try to go with my songs. I like to make songs that can make you laugh and make you cry,” she said. “It goes from ridiculously funny to really serious matters of humanity.”
Embodying the comedic aspect of Anele’s modus operandi is Motorcycle Recycler.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle – that’s my baby’s battle cry. He’s my eco-friendly road warrior, the organic apple of my eye,” Anele sings on the track written by her husband after she mistakenly suggested that environmentally responsible was a “really hot” attribute.
Contrasting that light and humorous approach to music is the album’s titular track: Wishes, Dreams and Centuries.
Previously dubbed Wish, the track was written in the middle of the night prior to the album’s recording.
“It was inspired from my anguish over my youngest son’s comments about not believing in wishes anymore and his grief over losing his grandfather. It got me thinking about my own life and how I’ve always wished and dreamed for people, things and circumstances to manifest themselves and how I want the same for my children,” Anele said. “It’s really about creating your own landscape.”
With her vast array of influences and emotional tones embedded throughout her discography, Anele said she hopes there will be something for all listeners.
“They can’t really be bored. They might not like the music, but no songs sound the same,” Anele chuckled.
After going solo in 2000, Anele is stoked for the opportunity to play alongside Andrew Smith, Brian McMahon, Hugh Spinney, Deborah Lee and Neil Fraser at the CD launch performance.
“I’m really excited to have these people in my lineup. They’re stellar musicians,” Anele said. “As a songwriter, you do a lot of solo work. It’s incredible to be able to pull in these highly acclaimed musicians.”
While she took time off of putting out albums and EPs to raise her family, Anele said she intends to drop her third full-length album within three years.
“(I hope) to continue making music and writing music until I’m at least 80 – just keep songwriting, playing and performing when I can,” Anele said.
“Music and family: it doesn’t get any better than that for me.”
Wishes, Dreams and Centuries’ release concert is set for Sept. 29 Paddlewheel Park Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at Triumph Coffee or at Saucie’s General Store.