Buy a Record, Make a Difference 18: Marin Patenaude

Buy a Record, Make a Difference is a new series we have created to help local musicians generate income during COVID-19. It is based on the principle that we should support and reward the hard work local artists have already put into recordings, as it is an immensely difficult undertaking to be creating new material under current circumstances. There is currently a lot of emphasis on livestreaming and innovation in our industry, and while those things absolutely have their place, we think it’s also important to boost projects that have already been completed.

In each post, we’ll ask a local artist a series of the same questions, give them the opportunity to talk about recordings they’re proud of, and ask them to talk about other local musicians whose work they admire. It’s our hope that you’ll take the time to listen to & purchase the work of local artists, or at the very least share their work with others.


Photo: Ariana Flynn
1. Who are you? 

I’m a small town woman with big feelings from a musical family brought up in Horsefly, BC. My dreams are visceral and detailed. I see eminent beauty in the world but can easily find something to be angry and hard-lined about. I’m fearless in the woods, and adore my community in Vancouver. There’s usually dirt under my fingernails. I’m a trained vocalist and a Jazz school dropout. I like motorcycles, horses, and interior decorating. I’m on the tall side of short and am decorated with questionable tattoos. This sounds like a dating profile – that’s what you were after, yes?

2. Describe your music as best you can.

Journey Folk/Confessional Folk –  Influenced by ’60s and 70’s Laurel Canyon days, Classic Country, all that Jazz, and a little Rock n Roll. Melodies and phrasing come to me with much less anxiety and woe than poetry. I can be obsessive over lyrics but the stories mean everything to me. I tend to write longer songs, finding it difficult to express everything I need to in a radio-friendly time. Bouncing between guitar and piano, they offer different impacts to my writing process and the music can be quite contrasting. At times I wonder how it will all come together cohesively, but it seems to when all is said and done. My precious band makes that happen. They know when to be simple and direct, and when to take risks and let the weirdness roll.

3. What’s your latest recording (or a recording you’d like to promote)? Where can people get it?

We just released my sophomore record Sight Unseen on Dallas Green’s Still Records. It’s on all the major platforms for streaming and you can order vinyl or CD’s here. Much of my life has been about trying to connect and aspiring for deep intimacy. I found that with this music, and the incredible relationships that were built around it by muses and musicians. This is an album of release, healing, and celebration. It’s tracked by the big feelings of an impassioned woman, stories from long ago, and fervor for current beliefs.

Revisiting the process, I realized how much of an emotional rollercoaster this record was to actually bring to completion. We scratched tunes, totally revamped others, I lost perspective, and found it again in deeply secure ways. The honesty and love that the players and engineers brought to ‘Sight Unseen’ made the process a beautiful experience when it could have been a mess. Prepared to put my second album out into the world in a half-assed way (like I did my first album), I was gobsmacked when I heard from Dallas Green in a blissful text message.

We grew close, but I grew closer to Karl Bareham as he mixed the album. When my friend Ben Rogers (Still Records’ first signing) called and told me of Karl’s passing it floored me. We were meant to see each other in a matter of days, but instead now found myself in the woods of my hometown with no one to mourn with, weeping on a bed of moss beside my dog. This record is like a bed of moss to me – a place where all my feelings are supported by nature, and is made up of intricate players that somehow ended up in the same beautiful place together.

4. Is there another local musician whose work you’d like to give a shout out to? 

Cole MF Schmidt. Not only one of my favourite humans, there’s not a chance I would be writing music without the anticipation and thrill of what he brings to it. An incredible and innovative guitar player, he’s an absolute pillar in the Vancouver music scene.  I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for his influence, dedication, and friendship. Check out his projects Sick Boss and Pugs and Crows (which I have the honour of singing with)and listen to his wicked guitar solo in the song “Gone Blind” from Sight Unseen. It makes me crazy how much I love it.