CITIZEN ALIEN OUT NOW VIA COAX RECORDS
SUMMER TOUR DATES CONTINUE WITH MORE STOPS ADDED
“Keri Latimer has a voice that’s…unmistakeably hers…But there’s also her thoughtful songwriting and unexpected lyrical turns,…this magical combination is also what makes their music so darn good.” - Exclaim! 8/10
“Each vignette is so carefully crafted and presented, taking snippets of history and renewing their relevance. For Keri, the content has changed the way she sees herself as a woman and mother, and an especially strong endearment toward this album developed during its creation process.” - Winnipeg Free Press
“If the rest of Citizen Alien, is half this good, expect another JUNO nod and maybe another win for these two.” Roots Music Canada (on “Dear Sister”)
(“Citizen Alien” Video Still)
Having just returned from a successful run of tour dates in Europe supporting their new album, Citizen Alien, Leaf Rapids are already making their way across Canada and have now added more tour dates to their summer plans. Full dates can be found below.
Today, the Winnipeg due are also sharing the new video for “Citizen Alien”, the title track from their latest LP, filmed at home and during their recent tour in Germany and the Netherlands. About the song, Keri Latimer says : “In 1942, just weeks before my grandmother was about to receive her certificate in pattern design she was declared an enemy alien of Canada, along with around 22,000 other people of Japanese descent. Her family was evicted from their home which was built by my great grandfather on the berry farm that they owned in Mission, BC. They were told they could pack 100 lbs each, and were loaded onto a freight train to who knows where. Many parents told their children they were going on a vacation to ease their fears.
They landed in Alberta where they were greeted by hard labour in the sugar beet fields and an uninsulated cow shed to house their family of 5 throughout the fierce Canadian winters. They were paid next to nothing, and not until 1949 were Japanese Canadians granted freedom of movement. Their farms, businesses, fishing boats and any other belongings were never returned. My great grandparents did bury some heirlooms under a big rock with the hope of one day retrieving them, but learned that the new landowners used explosives to remove the rock. I picture shocked faces and pieces of treasure flying through the air. “
Out now via Coax Records, Citizen Alien started the way all good things do, with a story, one that emerged from the time-shrouded attics of Latimer’s family history. A tale of the great-grandmother she knew only as tiny and soft-spoken, a gentle soul who only spoke Japanese. Who would have guessed that once, in her youth, that same little old woman stabbed a man with a pair of barbershop shears? That tale became the torch to light a new journey. As the years turned, Keri plunged into the depths of her family’s ancestral memories, resurfacing with stories like jewels that had been tucked away and forgotten. These she polished and kept safe, waiting until it was time to hold their colours up to the light once more.
Now, all of those stories come together on Citizen Alien. The project is a labour of love for Keri and her husband, Devin Latimer. Through their own family’s stories they created a new world from the old, delving into the intimate truths told by voices from decades long gone.
Each of the Citizen Alien’s 10 songs spins out a thread, binding history and identity to time and place. Threads that crossed oceans, stretched from Kyoto to Iceland’s wind-whipped northern coast, tangled in the heart of the Canadian prairie. Stories of lives that crept forward in boats across the water, lunches packed in liquor-store bags and battered suitcases bursting at their seams.
There is an openness on this record. There is space. It spans out like the vastness between stars. The liquid silver of Keri’s voice spills over a brushed snare, a Theremin trill, an acoustic guitar; all are given room to speak fully. Maybe it’s partly that they recorded Keri’s vocals first, an approach she’d never tried before, either as Leaf Rapids or her previous incarnation as part of JUNO Award winning alt-country quartet Nathan.
Whatever its genesis, Citizen Alien’s soundscape is intoxicating. Co-produced with acclaimed Winnipeg multi-instrumentalist and composer Rusty Matyas (Imaginary Cities, The Sheepdogs), the record saunters from the summery strums of the opener, “Dear Sister”, to the wintery harmonies of “Caragana Switch” with Alexa Dirks (Begonia) and Grant Davidson (Slow Leaves). Whimsical melodies strike a stark contrast with unsettling imagery, all of it playing out in the mind like an old sepia-toned movie. For Keri, who also scores for film, that flickering cinematic quality is intentional: it crystallizes the convergence of her composing life, her folk-life, and the life of her family.
LEAF RAPIDS ON TOUR
Jul 1 - Winnipeg, MB - Canada At The Forks
Jul 17 - Onanole, MB - Poor Michael’s Emporium
Jul 19 - Calgary, AB - ATB Folk Fest Fridays
Jul 19-21 - Ft. McLeod, AB - South Country Fair
Jul 24-28 - Mission, BC - Mission Folk Festival
Aug 2-5 - Wells, BC - Arts Wells Festival
Aug 9-11 - Ear Falls, ON - Trout Forest Music Festival
Aug 16-18 - Nestor Falls, ON - Moose N’ Fiddle Festival