Canadian Broadcaster
Canadian Broadcaster

October 10, 2023

Fall shows, Flying Vees, full moon floats, and goodbye Big Buck$

Hello world of friends!

Happy fall and Happy Thanksgiving! Hope this finds you well as we transition into the autumnal stage of the year, my wife’s favourite… low sun illuminating wine-coloured leaves, pulling on our favourite Pollen sweaters as storms kicking up with more and more frequency. This weekend, Lawrence and Barber family members are gathering to celebrate family and the season in places as far flung as Lac Echo, Quebec, Wellington, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Desolation Sound, BC. 

I invite you to snuggle in for all the latest happening from my world and beyond.

Back in the spring and summer, we completed another fun run of my touring show, “Grant Lawrence and Friends: an evening of stories and songs.” Thanks to ALL the friendly folks who came to the BC shows in Port Moody, Gibsons, West Vancouver, Penticton, Salmon Arm, and Savary Island, and on the rather fascinating Texada Island.

At each show I always meet amazing audience members, and two particular highlights from the spring shows were these:

  • At the Port Moody show, Misty Cherry, daughter of Bernard “The German” Krieger, (the latter who I have written and broadcasted about extensively) was at the show with a group of friends. At one point, I invited her to join me on stage where she presented me with a small cloth bag filled with Bernard’s ashes. She asked that her father’s remains be spread in the waters of Desolation Sound, near the cabin he built that still stands. It was a very moving moment, and I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was for certain then and there. Thank you, Misty.
  • At the Salmon Arm show, we were honoured with the presence of Audrey Stremick, formally Syms, the girlfriend of Russell “The Hermit” Letawsky, who accompanied Russell on his infamous trek across the Coast Mountains in Sept. 1977 that led him to Desolation Sound. Audrey also came up on stage, delighting the audience with her version of the events. Then she proceeded to bring the house down when she pulled out her ukulele to perform “House Of The Rising Sun” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.” Thank you, Audrey!

And a big cheers of appreciation to the incredibly talented musicians who compliment my stories with their songs at the shows: Jay Malinowski, Ashleigh Ball, Said the Whale, Suzie Ungerleider, Hayden Roth, Dustin Bentall, Danny Michel, Luke Wallace, Evan Symons, Docs ‘n Socs, and Jill Barber.

I’m working on another run of fall shows, the dates for which you can check out below – you never know who might show up! 

If you live in East Van, who know someone who does, please let them know about my first-ever show in my adopted urban hometown… a holiday show at the Historic Theatre at the East Van Cultural Centre

And if you have a cool theatre or venue in your town that you think would be suitable for this show, please get in touch.

Cabin Life

After the spring tour, we lived at the cabin in Desolation Sound for a good stretch of the summer, hosting the annual Okeover Open Crokinole Tournament, the Full Moon Float, and Ladies Whiskey Night (I’m not invited to that one), and collecting many more stories and wonderful memories. 

What is most astounding these days is that large cetaceans that continue to arrive in Desolation Sound in record numbers on an almost daily basis – orcas, dolphins, porpoises, and humpback whales seem to be everywhere, even right up close to our dock on several occasions, and it’s an incredible thing.

On a somewhat sad note, it looks like Big Buck$, our trusty oceanic chariot of many decades, that has driven over three generations of our family up and down the inlets, has taken her last charge across the Sound. We loved this made-in-North-Vancouver Hourston speedboat, but it dates back to 1985, pre-Expo, and had an entire life as a Horseshoe Bay pleasure rental boat before her many faithful years with our family in Desolation Sound. A huge thanks to our Hernando Island friend Gaye Leggat, who was the first person to refer to Big Buck$ as “vintage” instead of the more common description “what a piece of crap.” 

Now we’re trying to figure out what to do with Big Buck$. She’s currently for sale… any ideas?

Dirty Windshields Audiobook returns!

After about a year-and-a-half break to get some other things done, I have finally resumed the weekly audiobook chapters of “Dirty Windshields: the best and the worst of the Smugglers tour diaries.” 

Big thanks to Smugglers fan Sacramento Sandra, who I met up with this summer at the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas (where there is a Smugglers boot on display), for urging me to pick it back up again.

I’m into Part 3 now, during which I read aloud all the international touring stories, chronicling my band’s misadventures in Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. The podcast is free, and you can listen to the weekly chapters here.

Wha…?! Twenty years of the Flying Vees!

When I was growing up, I was never a sporty kid, never signed up for teams, didn’t like gym, but I did enjoy playing street hockey and pick-up baseball games – but wouldn’t dare play organized sports. I was too intimidated. As an adult, I wanted to overcome that feeling. I have always loved hockey, so twenty years ago my friends and I formed a hockey team called the Flying Vees (I write about all of this stuff in my second book “The Lonely End of the Rink”). 

The Vees’ roster was filled mostly with musicians and artists who could skate (luckily my parents forced me to learn how to skate as a kid). Somehow, someway, this September, we skated onto the ice for our twentieth season as a team. 

Along the way, we’ve won our fair share of championships, something I never thought possible as a scrawny kid. I tried to retire my goalie skates at the end of last season, but my teammates convinced me to keep playing… because, as my pal and teammate Pat “This is That” Kelly reasoned, “why quit something when you’re having fun? That’s like announcing, ‘I’m going to read ONE more book and then… that’s it! No more books!”

I guess he has a point… in the body works, and you can still get out there and have fun, it’s a gift.

Fall Tour:

Sun Oct 15, Whistler Writers Festival, Lost Lake Walk, with authors Yvonne Blomer, Justene Dion-Glowa, Rabbi Paul Plotkin. 9am start from the Chateau Fairmont. SOLD OUT!

Fri Oct 20, Community Hall, Fanny Bay, with musicians Jay Malinowski, Stephanie Cadman, Sarah Jane Scouten. SOLD OUT!

Sat Oct 21, Community Hall, Denman Island, with musicians Jay Malinowski, Stephanie Cadman, Sarah Jane Scouten. 

Thu Dec 7, The Cultch Historic Theatre, East Vancouver, with musicians Jill Barber, Dawn Pemberton, Luke Wallace, and comedian Charlie Demers. SOLD OUT!

Tickets to all shows here.

Jill Barber

As usual, my lovely wife has her own busy fall schedule, including shows in Alberta and, after living in BC for 15 years and counting, her first-ever shows in Washington and Oregon! Please help spread the word to our Cascadian neighbours.

Jill’s Fall Tour

Thu Nov 2, Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB 

Fri Nov 3, Communitea Cafe, Canmore, AB  

Sat Nov 4, The Grand Theatre, Calgary, AB 

Fri Nov 17, Silver Moon, Bend, OR 

Sun Nov 19, Jack London Revue, Portland, OR 

Tue Nov 21, The Triple Door, Seattle, WA 

Wed Nov 22, Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, WA

Tickets for all shows here.


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

All the best from the West,

Grant Lawrence
Desolation Sound, BC


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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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