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April 14, 2023

Grant’s news: spring tour dates, BC Book prize nomination, Handy Candy podcast, cabin capers and more

Hello world of friends!

Happy spring! Hope this finds you well, and that you had a great long weekend / Easter / Ramadan / Passover. Me? I spent a stormy weekend at the cabin In Desolation Sound, where I kept asking Jill to pass over another beer. Whoo!!!

Cabin Life: raise high the roof beam, carpenters

As always, we are trying to make improvements to the old place, and this year it has finally come time to replace the original roof, a rough-cut, old-growth, red cedar shingle design that was installed almost exactly 40 years ago. It’s done very well, but in the last few years there seemed to be more moss than roof. To increase fire safety and decrease leaks, like the rest of our Desolation Sound neighbours, we’ve made the switch to metal. 

Still, I’m sad to see the shingles go. According to Terral, the carpenter doing the job, “the old roof was very much a complicated ecosystem.” Terral is discovering many hibernating creatures under those ancient shingles, including huge nests of carpenter ants, flying ants, tiny ants, wood bugs, and wasps, wasps, and more wasps. Luckily, it’s still too cold for much activity from any of them, so no swarmings.

My fear was that Terral would disturb our little brown bat colony that has called the roof home for decades, but so far, no sightings. It’s made me nostalgic for this story from “Adventures in Solitude”, about one of my family’s first-ever summer nights at the cabin in the early 1980s:

We found out quickly that a burgeoning colony of little brown bats had discovered the overhanging eaves. They apparently loved sleeping deep between the slats of the warm cedar-shake shingles that made up our roof; heated by the sun, the wood must have had the effect of a miniature Swedish sauna. 

At dusk that first night, Mom, my sister Heather and I watched in horror as dozens of bats dropped from the eave above our picnic table like fighter jets, scattering pell-mell across the night sky. They flew out over the ocean, and then circled back, swooping down en masse upon us to assumingly seize upon our necks with their tiny fangs. 

Our instinct was to wave our arms madly, scream at the top of our lungs and run across the deck to dive inside the cabin doors. Even our dog Aggie scrambled for cover with her tail between her legs, yelping in surprise. Then we watched with wide-eyed amazement, our noses pinned against the inside of the glass, as bats fluttered around Dad’s head like the disciples of Dracula, never touching him.

As he calmly but loudly explained to us through the glass, the bats have a natural sonar that allows them to track their prey – like mosquitos and no-see-ums, creatures that actually were out to suck our blood. Since the mosquitos were buzzing around us, that’s where the bats followed. That sonar also allows them to avoid objects like walls, posts, and humans. They ate their weight in mosquitos every night, and their plentiful guano we found on the deck below the eaves each morning was great for the flower garden we would eventually plant, too. It wasn’t until much later that we found out that little brown bats are the number one carrier of rabies in B.C.

It was my childhood exposure to little brown bats, and that nightly summer twilight bat show, that eventually led me to tell my kids bedtime stories about bats, which then led to my children’s book, Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose

Return to Solitude:

There’s lots of great news surrounding my latest book, “Return to Solitude.”

  • It hit the national bestsellers list in Canada.
  • It’s been on the BC Bestsellers List for an entire year!!
  • It was named the number one bestselling BC book of 2022.

… all thanks to… YOU! 

The latest news is that “Return to Solitude” has been nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers Choice Award for the 2023 BC and Yukon Book Prizes, which will occur in September. 

I am profoundly grateful for the support and reception this book has received both within and outside of BC. Thank you again to readers and bookstores everywhere! 

Wanna listen? Handy Candy: Coastal Crafter of Desolation Sound Podcast

Last fall, I had the pleasure of sharing the audio version of the story of Handy Candy, of one of our dear neighbours in Desolation Sound, on the airwaves on North By Northwest on CBC Radio 1. The series was a big hit with listeners- everyone tuned in to hear the real life adventures of our very own “I Love Lucy” of the wilderness, who can famously “fix anything but dinner.” The show is now available as a ten-part podcast that you can listen to here.  

Spring Tour:

I continue to tour my “Stories and Songs” roadshow (inspired by the late great Stuart McLean and “The Vinyl Cafe”) in which I tell or read stories from my books, podcasts or columns, and amazing Canadian musicians play their original songs between the readings.

Here’s my list of dates for spring 2023 with the musical guests featured at each one. Hope to see you at a show! (All shows start at about 7pm and go to about 9pm, are suitable for all ages, and I change up the stories every time.)

Thu May 4, Inlet Theatre, Port Moody, w/ Jay Malinowski, Suzie Ungerleider, Tyler and Ben from Said the Whale

Fri May 5, Heritage Playhouse, Gibsons, w/ Jay Malinowski, Suzie Ungerleider, Luke Wallace

Sat May 6, Community Hall, Texada Island, w/ Jay Malinowski, Suzie Ungerleider, Evan Symons

Fri May 26, Kay Meek Theatre, West Vancouver, w/ Ashleigh Ball, Tyler and Ben from Said the Whale, Doc ‘n’ Socs, Hayden Roth, Jill Barber

Fri June 16, Dream Cafe, Penticton, w/ Danny Michel, Ashleigh Ball, Dustin Bentall

Sat June 17, Song Sparrow Hall, Salmon Arm, w/ Danny Michel, Ashleigh Ball, Dustin Bentall

Tickets available for all shows here

Jill Barber

My lovely wife has her own very busy schedule this spring, as her touring cycle begins in earnest for her new album “Homemaker”, which has already become a hit with critics and fans. It is a return to her folk roots, and a highly relatable rallying cry for working parents everywhere, those who try to maintain an upwardly mobile career while being present for your kids. Many people have asked me if the lyric “Dishes won’t do themselves” is directed at me. Quick answer: yes.

“Homemaker” is out now and here’s the tour: 

Fri April 14, Creekside Theatre, Winfield BC (TONIGHT! 8 tickets left)
Sat April 15, York Theatre, Vancouver (SOLD OUT)
Mon April 17, Mary Winspear Theatre, Sidney BC (SOLD OUT)
Tue May 9, Dominion Telegraph Theatre, Paris Ont.
Wed May 10, TD Music Hall, Toronto
Fri May 12, Babs Asper Theatre, Ottawa
Sat May 13, Station Theatre, Smiths Falls, Ont
Sun May 14, Isabel Bader Centre, Kingston Ont
Tue May 16, The Carlton, Halifax (SOLD OUT)
Wed May 17, The Carlton, Halifax (SOLD OUT)
Thu May 18, The Carlton, Halifax (SOLD OUT)

Tickets for all shows here.

Watch for Jill’s summer festival schedule announced soon! 


Happy Spring, Happy Life, and hope to see you soon.

All the best from the West,

Grant Lawrence
Vancouver, BC

PS. If you’ve read “Return to Solitude” and enjoyed it, please consider giving it a review on GoodReads. It really helps! Thanks!

PPS. If you’d like to host a “Grant Lawrence and Friends” show in your town, island, marina, or resort, please let me know by responding to this email.

PPPS. If you wish to unsubscribe to this newsletter, A) how dare you and B) that’s fine, I will only be mildly offended, just send a reply with ‘unsubscribe.’


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February 25, 2023

Spring dates announced

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October 10, 2022

Fall news: Return to Solitude #1, The Smugglers reissue, Jill Barber album

Hello world of friends!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Hope you had a wonderful summer! It’s been so hot and dry on the South Coast of BC this fall that the squirrels are gathering their nuts with tongs. Augtober!

Return to Solitude:

It’s also been a whirlwind spring and summer for me and my family ever since the release of “Return to Solitude”. The book cracked the national bestsellers list in Canada and remained at number 1 on the BC Bestsellers List all summer long – thanks to… YOU! 

I have also (almost) completed a run of live shows that began back in May and have hit many a wonderful community along the way… places in BC, like Sidney, Victoria, West Vancouver (my hometown), Squamish, Campbell River, Powell River (my second hometown), Gibsons, Whistler, Kamloops, Pender Island, Quadra Island, Savary Island, Refuge Cove, Salt Spring Island, Harrison Hot Springs, and Gabriola Island. And Onanole, Manitoba! Most of the events were either full or sold out, and they were an absolute blast – thanks to… YOU!

These events are “Stories and Songs” shows in the tradition of the late great Stuart McLean and “The Vinyl Cafe” in which I tell or read stories from my books, podcasts or columns, and amazing Canadian musicians play their original songs between the readings.

I am truly fortunate to have had an absolutely stellar cast of musicians performing on these shows, and I give huge thanks and endless admiration to the talents of Jay Malinowski (Bedouin Soundclash), Kathryn Calder (New Pornographers), Ashleigh Ball (Hey Ocean), Leeroy Stagger, Tom Hooper (Grapes of Wrath), Ryland Moranz, Stephanie Cadman, Sarah Osborne, Kandle Osborne, Dustin Bentall and the Blue Wranglers, Madison Olds, Lauren Mann, Old Man Luedecke, Stephen Vogler, Del Barber, Natalie Bohrn, Ila Barker, Phoenix Lazare, Larry Vollens, Dante Hadden, Wylie-Jane Stiver, and Allan McMordie, the kayaking bagpiper of Desolation Sound. And of course my lovely and talented wife, Jill Barber (more on her in a bit).

I have two remaining live events coming up in 2022:

  • Sunday Oct 16, Authors Lake Walk, Whistler Writers Festival, Whistler BC. Tickets. (This is a great annual event where I take readers and authors on a walk to Lost Lake and back with outdoor readings along the route.)

  • Fri Nov 11, Grant Lawrence and Friends “Stories and Songs”, Mayne Island BC w/ musical guest Jay Malinowski, Jill Barber, Tom Hooper. Tickets.

Very few tickets remain for both, so grab ‘em while you can! 

Limited shows will continue in 2023 in BC places like Port Moody, Denman Island, Revelstoke, Penticton, and Cortes Island, but the only announced show so far is a return to my hometown:

  • Fri May 26, 2023, Grant Lawrence and Friends: West Vancouver Stories and Songs. Tickets

The Smugglers:

The big news this fall is from my band that won’t go away! For the first time ever, the Smugglers classic (to us) 1993 album “In The Hall Of Fame” is being reissued for its 30th anniversary on vinyl, thanks to Lava Socks Records of El Cerrito, California (same hometown as, trivia fans, Creedence Clearwater Revival). 

This is the record that “broke” us in Canada and beyond. It was our first to hit number one on the Canadian campus national chart, and was called “one of the best Canadian garage-punk albums, perhaps the best one ever” by Exclaim Magazine. (And no, that’s not actually us on the cover).

At 20 rock ‘n’ roll songs, our original label, Popllama Products of Seattle, always thought it was great for a CD but too long for a vinyl record. But that’s not stopping Lavasocks Records!

Not only is it being reissued on collector’s vinyl but the package is totally deluxe:

  • Double gatefold gold vinyl
  • Remastered HOT by pop-punk producer extraordinaire Mass Giorgini (Squirtgun / Screeching Weasel/Anti-Flag)
  • Cover design by Neko Case
  • Gatefold design by Chris Imlay of the Hi-Fives
  • New liner notes by… me!
  • Limited edition.

This album contains many fan-favourite Smugglers songs such as “Rock n Roll Was Never This Fun”, “Vancouver BC”, “Shakedown”, “Flyin’ Buttress of Love”, “My Morrissey Shirt”, “Your Mom’s The Devil” and a bunch of others.

The official release date is Nov. 4, 2022, but pre-orders are available now, and will be spinning on your turntable by Xmas.

“Well, that’s one way to get a gold record.” – Larry Livermore, Lookout Records.


I continue to host the CBC Music Top 20, heard nationally each Thursday and Sunday evenings on CBC Music / Radio 2, and on Wednesday afternoon on CBC Radio 1. You can hear the show anytime on the CBC Listen app.

I’m also very involved in the annual Canadian Music Class Challenge, where we challenge Canadian music educators to teach their students a song from our list, make a video of the students performing the song, and send it in to the CBC for amazing prizes. If you know of a great music teacher or music student in Canada, I highly recommend signing up for this very fun national event! IMG_6912.JPEG

Also this fall, I’ll be returning to the airwaves of North By Northwest on CBC Radio 1 on Saturday mornings in BC to tell the serialized story of my dear friend “Handy Candy: coastal crafter of Desolation Sound”.

Jill Barber

My lovely wife has been very hard at work on her beautiful new album called “Homemaker.” It is a return to her folk roots, and a highly relatable rallying cry for working parents everywhere, those who try to maintain an upwardly mobile career while being present for your kids. On this album, Jill grapples with her reality: one night she’s headlining Massey Hall, the next night she’s mopping up our messy hall. One week she’s playing Paris, the following week she’s catching our daughter’s puke, bare-handed, on the Sunshine Coast Highway. And so it goes. (Yes, I help out occasionally, too). homemaker-highres-1400x1400.jpg

The first single / video is a longing beauty called “Instant Cash For Gold” where she teases retirement in a song so strong she shouldn’t dare. The video was filmed on location in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

“Homemaker” comes out on February 10, 2023, and will be followed by festival dates next summer. Before that, Jill continues her exotic world touring (without *ahem* me) with shows coming up in Austria this November… 

Fri Oct 28, Cultural Centre Wolkenstein, Stainach
Sat Oct 29, Kulturherbst, Hochfilzen
Tue Nov 1, Cinema Paradiso, Baden
Wed Nov 2, Cinema Paradiso, St. Polten
Thu Nov 3, Oval die Buhne im Europark Stage, Salzburg
Fri Nov 4, Lowensaal, Hohenems
Sat Nov 5, Salzhof, Freistadt

Fri Nov 11, Agricultural Hall, Mayne Island, BC
Fri Nov 18, Granthams Hall, Granthams Landing, BC


Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Fall, Happy Life, and hope to see you soon.

Grant Lawrence
Vancouver, BC

PS. If you’ve read “Return to Solitude” and enjoyed it, please consider giving it a review on GoodReads. It really helps! Thanks!

PPS. If you’d like to host a “Grant Lawrence and Friends” show in your town, please let me know by responding to this email:


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