As a musician, Amy Wood is a rare breed. As a child, she spent most of her spare time at the piano, writing songs and singing to herself, and later, out of high school, she sought rigorous classical training in both voice and piano.
“Having the experience of being both self-taught and classically trained gave me a broad view of what music is and the role it can play in someone’s life. You can follow all the rules in the world to write a song, or you can throw them all away, and you’ll be right," says Wood.
Wood recently released Sound Home Light, her third album of original songs that showcase her intoxicating tone, one which easily draws you in, making you listen to every nuance of each syllable, every soft touch of the keys. There's a raw emotion in her voice that we here at Eat North can't seem to get enough of lately. Truth be told, we've been fans for years and she just keeps getting better and better.
The artist spent a week in Brooklyn, NY, recording with Mason Jar Music after hearing their instrumental arrangements on a Josh Garrels album.
“I’d never heard such creative and beautiful orchestrations on a songwriter’s album," says Wood, happily. "The instruments were so well-played and each part was crafted to the movements and meaning of the song. After spending time with Jon Seale (producer) and some MJM musicians, I can see how it all happens. There’s no shortage of genius in that team. I feel so grateful that together we created my dream album."
Though now a resident of Calgary, Wood spent a good chunk her formative years obtaining a bachelor of music performance in the beautiful city of Victoria. With each trip back, the talented pianist and vocalist finds new great spots to try and always remembers to check in with her old favourites, which she's happily shared with us below.
As a lover of long walks with a latte in hand, any breakfast spot down the street from a sandy beach would likely sway me. Crumsby’s, however, is both the cupcake and the icing on top, offering a delicious breakfast and lunch menu and a dazzling selection of cupcakes. Did I mention they are nut-free? For someone with a peanut allergy, those two hyphenated words spell a rare indulgence that can be justified several times a week, by me, anyways. If you happen to have limits, I encourage them.
Whether I have a looming paper or a nerve-jangling recital coming up, Crumsby’s seems to sooth the soul. By the way, this place is very kid friendly, so while that made my uterus skip a beat, you may need to sit a bit away from the action.
I had to coax my usually obliging boyfriend into this one. The name of this spot, ‘be love’ hooked deep into the inner spiritual seeker and wannabe enlightened zen master in me. What a glorious two word mantra: Be love. My sweet, practical, meat-eating boyfriend however expected to be eating tofu valentines --you know, heart-shaped tofu.
We were both pleasantly surprised by the creativity and care put into each dish, let alone the sheer amount of artfully cut vegetables that must be prepped for 11 a.m. I imagined each server had a daily enlightenment practice, which made my organic, local, plant-based cuisine all the more satisfying.
From maple salmon to moroccan-spiced veggies, Pink Bicycle’s menu has got "not your average burger" covered, although its cheese burger is also a treat. Two main draws to this restaurant, for me: it is perfectly placed for a pre-concert bite and the menu’s variety and affordability mean that you could go with just about anyone from your first date to your last. Wait, is that a broad enough spectrum? You can also bring anyone you aren’t dating!
Your last few bites will leave you within blocks of hearing jazz at Hermann’s, opera at the Royal Theatre or your latest indie find at Sugar. Lucky you!
Full disclosure, I’m not picky about drinks. I happily choose whatever someone else is having. (My creative streak is horrified by this approach but my palate is often pleasantly surprised.) I am, however, highly influenced by soft twinkle lights and live DJs, both of which you'll find at The Mint. It likely has excellent drinks as well. Me and my ambience-induced joy comma haven’t noticed otherwise!