I started my gig here at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge January 7, 2017 and it has certainly been an adventure. Jasper is absolutely magical. Living here is like getting a giant hug every day from all the gorgeous mountains. Although my wife, Julia, and I had to deal with some major logistics to make this happen, I’m happy we made the choice to move here for a couple of years. I will forever cherish our Jasper memories and will miss the pristine winter air, all the amazing nature, the slower pace of life and our special mountain friends. I’ve met and worked with so many wonderful folks here and am so grateful for how well I’ve been treated.
Musically – it’s a lot of playing. Depending on the time of year, it’s either 5 or 6 nights a week plus some extra gigs along the way. A lot of folks don’t realize how much physical energy it takes to perform music, especially singing, so I admit it will be nice to slow down a bit, although I’m not thrilled about the loss of income.
Although it is essentially a restaurant/lounge gig it’s somewhat unique compared to similar venues I’ve played over the years. The Great Hall, where I play, is a very large area and the room itself sounds warm and full. There’s a mix of traditional dining tables as well as big comfy chairs and couches with a big fireplace. There is also a more formal dining area which has partial sight-lines to the stage. Although there are occasional exceptions, it’s amazing how much goes on here and how busy it is even when the weather is not travel friendly. And, in the summertime it is a proverbial zoo.
I did start writing some new material when I first moved here but never quite finished anything, and once Julia moved here the logistics of living in a very small apartment made it pretty tough to record. But, I have lots of cool ideas I’ve saved which I plan to work on when we return to the coast in early April, 2019.
The transition back to White Rock will definitely take some adjusting. I know we’ll miss our cool mountain digs and the lifestyle here but we love the ocean as well and are looking forward to being close to our family and lifelong friends.
I was hoping to continue at JPL on a part-time basis, so we could have a home in the mountains and a home by the ocean, and still make a decent living, but that idea went out the window when the new GM came on board. Such is life it seems.
I’m still pondering exactly what I’ll do when we get back to White Rock, but for now I have one gig booked, which is at the Vault, April 26/27, start time 8:30pm. For those not familiar with The Vault, it’s in Cloverdale and is a sister restaurant to the Washington Avenue Grill, which is in White Rock and one of our favorite haunts. I’m hoping I can get a few gigs at the WAG as well and will let ya’ll know if and when that happens.
The Vault is located at 5764 176 Street and the phone number is (604) 576-4243.
Well, that’s it for a long overdue update. Wishing you all health, peace and love.
Neil Harnett (AKA Jasper James)