As Sarah K says in this episode, you just never know what’s coming.
A few years ago I didn’t know that touring in Europe was coming. That this website was coming. That this podcast was coming. I didn’t know my current life was coming, but here we are.
Sarah K didn’t know her life as a drummer was coming either.
She was initially a keyboard player. Her father was a drummer (and still is), but it had never occurred to her that she might be a drummer one day too. Even when she joined Catl – Toronto’s juke joint blues legends – she never thought she would be a drummer. She played organ. Drums weren’t on the radar … until they were.
Sarah K is one of the most unique and visual drummers I know. She doesn’t play a traditional drum set. She’s not a traditional drummer, so why would she? Sarah’s trademark is her two-piece kit: floor tom and a snare that was once her dad’s. She plays it standing up, which leaves lots of opportunity for her to flail and leap, as the title of this episode suggests. She is a riot to watch and does what she does perfectly in the band.
What I love about Sarah’s story is that it’s about welcoming change and opportunity. She didn’t ask her partner and bandmate Jamie whether she could try the drums. He presented the idea to her – the organist – and she said yes. That’s the key. It’s the key to me playing with Sarah Smith. It’s the key to this website and podcast. Saying yes. Taking opportunities that come along. That’s what Sarah did when the band was looking for yet another drummer and Jamie put the challenge to her.
How many good and life-changing things do we miss out on when we don’t say yes?
Catl has developed a dedicated following in Canada, the United States, and Europe. They travel and play lean, slinging raucous, stripped down blues music propelled by Jamie’s slide guitar and Sarah’s flailing drums. They tour all over the place. They put out records. They have carved out a unique identity, musically and otherwise, through a lot of hard work and, as you will see, through a fair amount of struggle. No great dream is achieved without both of those things.
It was a lot of fun to talk touring and drumming and life with Sarah. I first interviewed her several years ago on the London Groove Machine blog and we’ve since had the chance to play shows together and become friends. She’s an inspiration to anyone who is perhaps reluctant to create a unique path or do things in a different way. Let her be the example of what’s possible when you follow your heart.
And say yes.
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