If you take a Via Rail train this summer, you may see Whistler musician Aude Ray playing and singing her folk, jazz, and R&B songs in the panorama dome car.
She was hired to travel and entertain onboard over three trips, the first being from Vancouver to Edmonton, followed by trips east to Toronto and Montreal and beyond.
"I go by train with Via Rail all the way to Halifax," she says.
This coincides both with Canada's 150th birthday, and the release of her new album Be My Home.
It is Ray's third album, following a live album recorded in Montreal in 2002 and Sirène in 2014. Be My Home is being celebrated with a launch concert on Saturday, May 20, at The Point Artist-Run Centre at 6 p.m. as part of the Great Outdoors Festival (GO Fest).
Ray says the title for Be My Home comes from a conversation she has with herself."Everything comes from within, but it's also about where I live and where I choose to live and who I am with, what I want to believe in. It's about undoing old beliefs or how I should live my life, to fully experience how I want to live it," she says.
"I wanted this album to be melodic, so there are a lot of harmonies. It was really interesting to record each song two or three times, it's like a live recording. I would take the best song and do that backing vocals, three-part harmonies."
Despite this, the eight tracks (in both English and French) on Be My Home took only three days to make; it was recorded at Pemberton's Bunker 7 Productions. Ray made sure the songs were ready and a tight budget was stuck to.
The gaps between album releases have meant that each has reflected her development as an artist.
"My first album was recorded a year after I came to Whistler from Quebec for the first time. I was 19. I was so inspired that I created all these songs," Ray recalls.
"When I moved out West, I played music with musicians from around the world and I made my way. My goal was to learn English and get inspired by this beautiful landscape."
Developing her writing and voice led to album two, and Be My Home is the result of the past two years.
"It is very different from Sirène, it has a really present feel. Be My Home was recorded with Rosalind Steel on piano. She had really brought this colour; the piano complements the songs so well. She has been involved 100 per cent in the project," Ray says.
Tickets for Ray's album release are $30 with dinner, $15 show only; $20 and $10 for children 12 and under. They can be purchased at Armchair Books or www.thepointartists.com.