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    Patrick Ballantyne and Donna Creighton
    Patrick Ballantyne and Donna Creighton

    12 Feb 2014

    This Wednesday GAIN Music and 39 Carden Street will be hosting two fantastic musicians during February’s edition of the Singer-Songwriter Series. If you’re a fan of live music but want to forego the bar scene, this event will be for you. Both Patrick and Donna are established musicians with a rich history of music. We got in touch with them to answer a few questions:

    Music Lives: When did you first start making music?

    Donna Creighton: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say at birth. I was born into music in a house where music was the first language and instruments were my toys. I started to make up tunes when I was little. By little I mean age 2 or 3. My baby book says I was whistling tunes I knew at 18 months, so really it was musical babbling as a concurrent language to speaking. By the time I was in the double digits, 10 and on I was improvising over simple melodies on the recorder and singing harmony along with the radio, performing in music festivals and singing in school and community choirs.

    Patrick Ballantyne: I started singing along to the radio when I was 3. I used to serenade the older kids in our back alley while they played basketball or hockey. I knew the words to every beatles song and must have drove the neighborhood crazy. I taught myself guitar when I was 14, and started trying to write shortly after I could string two chords together. I am still playing those same two chords and almost have them down perfectly!

    ML: When did you decide you wanted to make music professionally and what were your first steps?

    DC: I decided at age 16 that, if people did for a living what they did as a hobby then working would make them happy. So, to be happy, I would have to work in music. I practiced, did Royal Conservatory Exams and continued to build a traditional repertoire of both classical, folk and rock music.

    PB: My first ‘professional’ gigs were playing in local Windsor bands while in school. I’ve never been entirely full time though…I haven’t got the courage!

    ML: How has music changed for you since you started?

    DC: Music, like language, is constantly evolving. Immigration and globalization and web surfing allow more and more cultures to influence what was once primarily a white English arts focus in Canada. I have enjoyed the musical fusion that is occurring. Traditional and cultural instruments from other cultures are being used in pop music, fusion bands have popped up and I like the change in the sonic landscape. I’m listening to the radio again where for many years I couldn’t stand it.

    PB: I don’t think music has changed for me at all. What has changed is my gradual recognition of how necessary music is to my well-being…I’m insanely crabby if I don’t play for a while…whether in my home studio, in the garage with friends or in front of an audience. I used to think sometimes that music was an indulgence for me…now I know it’s no more of an indulgence than water or food.

    ML: Can you share one favourite moment from playing live in recent years?

    DC: I think my favourite moment happened last year at my Donna! Back From the Dead concert at Aeolian Hall in London ON. I was playing the classic guitar introduction to Heart’s Crazy on you and just when it was time to start singing the song, I forgot the words. My band was so on the ball that they circled around with me like a pigeon looking for home until someone from the audience yelled out the lyrics to me. It was an syncretistic and authentic moment where performers and audience were totally together as a unit: a moment that cannot be recreated and can only happen live.

    PB: Well, it likely involved the Moonshine Café in Oakville…playing there is like putting on a comfy pair of pajamas and wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket. You feel welcomed and relaxed. That said, playing the Bluebird in Nashville several times was a career highlight!

    ML: How did you find out about each other?

    DC: I was discovering musicians on Reverbnation and “fanned” Patrick who “fanned” me back…it’s a Reverbnation thing. We started talking about gigs and performing and decided to share an evening.

    PB: Twas the old fashioned way…the internet…mutual likes on reverbnation…and casual discussion about playing a show together sometime…and NOW is the time! (well, Feb 12th…)

    ML: What are you most looking forward to about playing in Guelph?

    DC: I really enjoy performing live. For me, it is my most comfortable way to communicate. I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with a Patrick, a ‘new to me’ accomplished song writer in a ‘new to me’ venue with a brand spanking sparkly new audience.

    PB: It’s a new and intimate venue for me. actually,  I’ve had the pleasure of playing in Guelph only once before, which is a bit surprising given the rich arts scene there. Also, I’m just finishing a new album and this will be my first chance to try out some of the songs.

    ML: How can people find out more about your music?

    DC: Oh lots of places. I can be found at, on Facebook at, or on  Twitter at @DonnaMCreighton

    PB: On my website at or on Facebook at

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