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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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August 5, 2022

More Return to Solitude shows


Grant’s run of shows this spring and summer have been a series of sold-out smashes, which has helped the new book “Return to Solitude” remain at number 1 on the BC Bestsellers List for months. Here’s the next series of dates – hope to see you there!

Fri Sep 9, ArtSpring, Salt Spring Island, BC +
Sat Sep 10, Harrison Memorial Hall, Harrison Hot Springs, BC *
Fri Sep 23, Community Hall, Galiano Island, BC ^
Sat Sep 24, Community Hall, Gabriola Island BC ^

w/ musical guests
+ Jay Malinowski, Kathryn Calder, Tom Hooper, Phoenix Lazare
* Jay Malinowski, Kathryn Calder, Jill Barber
^ Jay Malinowski, Kandle Osborne, Sarah Osborne

Tickets on sale here.

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May 2, 2022

Return to Solitude: out now!

Hello world of friends!

English author Neil Gaiman apparently once said:

“… a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it has a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

This past week I’ve had the pleasure of spending many hours at a couple of incredible independent Vancouver bookstores… mostly thanks to you and your pre-orders of “Return to Solitude.” So… THANK YOU to everyone who did so… I’m typing this with my left hand because my right is in a bucket of ice. I’m honoured. 

If you still want to order a signed copy of the book, you can do so from Massy Books here. To mail order a book, you need to quickly set up an account, thank you!

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Last week I spent the day at Massy Books signing the mail orders with love and appreciation. Massy is a 100% Indigenous-owned business located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It’s a beautiful shop and a must-visit when in Vancouver.

As I went through your orders, I recognized names and friends from the various stages of life… the (too many) years I spent on the road in the Smugglers and the fan(s) we met… the CBC Radio 3 community… North By Northwest listeners from CBC Radio 1… far flung then-and-now Desolation Sound neighbours… old family friends… and folks who signed up to this rickety mailing list last month and last century. Books are now on their way to places like Brandon and Bakersfield; Toronto and Tokyo; Dawson City and Denver. Hope you dig it! 

When you receive your book… if you feel so inclined to post a pic from wherever you are, please use the hashtag #returntosolitude so I can see it too!

Saturday April 30th was “Return To Solitude”‘s official release date as well as Independent Bookstore Day. I spent that afternoon at the amazing 32 Books and Gallery in the quaint mountain village of Edgemont on the North Shore. For over a decade they have been North and West Vancouver’s last-standing, only independent bookstore. A community hub for sure.

This was a “table signing”, which I usually loathe, but Deb McVittie and the entire staff at 32 Books have been massive supporters since Day 1…

The reason I have grown to fear these “signing” type situations is because you sit at a table with a pen in front of a stack of books and just kinda hope people approach. Like a lemonade stand without a cute kid.

I’ve always preferred doing an ‘event’ (like a gig) where I get to go on stage and tell stories / joke around / have music. I’ve done these signing situations before where I’ve sat at that table for hours and literally the only reason people approach me is to ask where the washroom is.
[I’ve shared these soul-crushing stories with my ol’ pal Chris Murphy from Sloan, and he admitted that he assumed my new book “Return to Solitude” was about one of my book signings. (BABOOM!)]


I’m happy to report that the table signing for Independent Bookstore Day was *not* soul-crushing– it was in fact a great experience (thanks again, 32 Books). I had a bunch of amazing interactions, conversations, beer (thanks Bill Crow), and cookies, and the only person who asked me where the washroom was was my son. 

If you’d like to know what “Return to Solitude” is all about, this is a pretty good review / interview / overview recently published in the Squamish Chief

Next up is my first set of “Grant Lawrence and Friends: Stories and Songs” shows in over two years! If you live in and around the Salish Sea, I hope to see you at one of these gigs. I’ll be masked when I’m not on stage, signed books will be available, and each show has absolutely amazing musical guests, so you don’t have to listen to me all night. 

Wed May 4, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney BC
Thu May 5, Victoria Events Centre, Victoria BC
Fri May 6, Kay Meek Theatre, West Vancouver BC
Sat May 7, Brackendale Art Gallery, Squamish BC
Tue May 24, Tidemark Theatre, Campbell River BC
Wed May 25, Patricia Theatre, Powell River BC
Thu May 26, Heritage Playhouse, Gibsons BC

Thu June 16, Maury Young Theatre, Whistler BC
Fri June 17, the Effie, Kamloops, BC
Fri June 24, Community Hall, Pender Island BC

Sat June 25, Heriot Bay Inn, Quadra Island BC

Ticket to all shows here.

If you would like to put on one of these shows in your town / island / barn / dairy farm / brewery / haunted hotel please get in touch! More shows are coming up on Galiano, Mayne, and Gambier Islands.
And hey… Mother’s Day is around the corner, and my lovely wife Jill Barber is releasing a very moving, beautiful song called “My Mother’s Hand”. Check it out and share it with your mom… or a mother in your life. Jill will be gracing the stage at the West Van show listed above.

Happy Mother’s Day, Happy May, Happy Life, and hope to see you on the road soon.

Grant Lawrence
Vancouver, BC


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