For Canadian folk singer-songwriter Laura Smith this year has been an amazing and nervous experience.
She released her first album this year since 1997, Everything is Moving, after being in three separate accidents between 2002 and 2006, which left her in chronic pain. After being in the accidents, she said she wasn’t able to sing or perform a lot due to the injuries. She also said dealing with pain medication and reactions to the medication were difficult.
Smith said unlike some trained singers she sings with a natural voice so it wasn’t difficult getting her voice back.
“For me the biggest challenge in coming back was believing I could do it,” she said. “It wasn’t just that I could perform again, but also believing that I would have an audience.
“I’ve always said I’ve had the best fans in the world and during my recovery time they’ve always said ‘we’re ready when you are’. They’ve always been in my corner, both fans and promoters were ready do it again”
According to Smith, since returning to the stage the reception to her new album and her being back has been amazing. She said she worked back into it slowly and played a few shows with others before playing again on her own.
“I remember the last show (at The Celtic Circle) that I played with Ryan (MacGrath) was a lot of fun,” she said. “The audience was really appreciative and I felt I had come somewhere that people wanted to hear me.”
Since she began playing solo shows again over the summer, she said the standout shows have been the Edmonton Folk Fest and closing at the annual Summerfolk festival in Owen Sound.
“The people in the music community and the fans have been so supportive,” said Smith. “The response to the record has been amazing so far.
“Everything that’s happened since I’ve gone back to work has really reaffirmed that I made the right choice of job, something where I get a chance to do what I love to do every day.”
When asked how she reads the crowd or if she does anything to get them involved she said she doesn’t do anything particular. She simply sings the best she can and allows the crowd to react the way they want to.
“I’ve learned over the years that I don’t need to try to do anything,” she said. “I do what I do best - sing best I can. An audience is a tender thing. It takes a few songs to agree they’re in the right place. They may have rushed supper, got a babysitter or had to find a parking spot. There are a lot of things on their mind to become an audience. After one, two or three songs they come to an agreement. I trust them and try to make them feel secure that they came to the right place.
Friday night she is on stage at The Celtic Circle. Tickets are $25 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show at 8 p.m.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris