Kate Boothman performs onstage at the Ganaraska Hotel

Meet the Musicians—Kate Boothman

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Talking about music is like dancing about architecture, so the saying goes. It can be hard for a musician to describe what they do, which is why Kate Boothman invented a new genre to describe her latest album, My Next Mistake. “It’s a really relaxing record about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, so we called it massage rock,” she says, laughing. “It’s versatile—it can be played acoustic, it can be played loud electric, but I’m a singer-songwriter, essentially.”

Boothman sits near the stage of the Ganaraska Hotel, Port Hope, one of the most venerable buildings in a town with no shortage of history. It’s an evocative place, with the unpretentious feel of a corner bar despite its storied past. “There’s a lot of character and a lot of characters. It’s 100 years older than my guitar,” Boothman notes, gesturing to her 1937 Gibson. She has a special affection for the Ganny, having launched her previous album, I Am an Animal, there. That experience would later inform the writing of My Next Mistake.

“I realized with I Am an Animal it’s hard to take a big rock show out on the road alone, you know? So I wanted to make a record that could be both. I could do it on my own and I could also have a band do it with me.” Hence the evolution of massage rock, though the pandemic inevitably threw a wrench in those plans. “Releasing it from your living room when there’s no shows to play, I guess it didn’t really matter how versatile it was if you can’t get out there. But I’m looking forward to a bunch of shows now coming up.”

Touring logistics were hardly the only factor in creating the album. Boothman says the writing of My Next Mistake coincided with some major personal changes. “When I wrote and recorded this record in 2019, I was about a year clean from having drugs and alcohol, and I was kind of worried that there wouldn’t be much left for me to write about. You know, when you party there’s lots of drama,” she says. She found new inspiration in collaboration with Thom D’Arcy, who co-wrote and recorded the album with her. D’Arcy is most famous as a producer for bands like The Sheepdogs, Yukon Blond, and Neko Case, but he and Boothman have a connection that dates back to their teenage years. “He was sort of one of my first friends in a band, and he really liked bands like Oasis and that British sort of pop thing. He’s such an effervescent, fluid songwriter. It was really fun getting together and writing with him.”

Ironically, the pandemic has led Boothman to lean into collaborative songwriting, with several new projects currently in the works. She credits both the desire to re-connect and her own artistic maturity for that development. “I used to be really fierce about just writing music on my own, and doing my own thing,” she says. “It’s really cool actually to get together with people who do what you do and share ideas and make music together.”

Boothman chose her song “Please Don’t Be Late” for the Meet the Musicians series. It’s a piece that reflects that personal growth, contrasting lyrics like “It’s been awhile since I’ve known how to feel” against a calm and unhurried tempo. “It was just sort of a lament on making connections and how things were going to start working,” she says. “The song happened pretty fast and I just liked the melody of it, to be honest—the sort of whimsical, gentle melody of it.”

Although she may not have had a chance to fully road test the songs on My Next Mistake yet, Boothman remains optimistic about the local music scene. She’s appreciative not just for the audiences and venues, but for the sheer level of talent among her peers. “You know, I think there’s gold in these hills. Some of the most talented performers and gifted musicians that I know,” she says. “I grew up next door to Blue Rodeo. Travis Good from the Sadies lives up the road. The community in itself is so beautiful to look at and charged energetically with rivers and old buildings and it’s just such a scene, and it’s so organic… I don’t have to work too hard to feel inspired and motivated.”

Hear more from Kate Boothman by visiting her website

Discover more local musicians through the Meet the Musicians series, released regularly through Spring 2022

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