Paige Woodbury

By Blaire MacNicol

When you hear how involved Paige Woodbury is in Calgary music, you can’t help but wonder how this girl gets any sleep.

With a strong love for Calgary music and the city itself, the acoustic artist, who first made a name for herself by taking photographs of local bands, is now an ambitious, devoted woman taking over Calgary. In addition to her solo efforts, she is part of three other bands and is putting together a DVD of live local music. Her many other projects-on-the-go include a forthcoming full-length album that she will record in collaboration with various other local musicians and a book entitled It’s Been an Interesting Day on the subject of the Calgary musicians she has been able to surround herself with and call friends.

Moving into the music scene of a city she knows intimately was a natural transition for Paige. She recorded an EP last June with producer Brad Taylor after getting her musical start in January 2010, when she was invited to open for local indie staples Nushi and the Nix Dicksons at the Marquee Room downtown.

I had the pleasure of meeting Paige at Vulcan Fest at the end of July, which for her was a chance to deliver a comeback show after four months off, as well as her first performance with a backing band. I was able to chat with the lively, animated Paige about Vulcan Fest, her place in it and being a female rock ‘n’ roll performer in Alberta.

The Gauntlet: So you are very involved in Vulcan Fest as a whole.

Paige Woodbury: [I] joined last year and took photos with [local photographers] Keith Skrastins and Greg Parke. We went out, opened a gallery in January, sold all the photos and just had a wicked time. This year we were expecting 350 [people], so it was a huge disappointment.

G: How do you feel about the venue and how today turned out?

PW: The shows here are so great. It’s a place to call home; they display art, they play music. So it’s a really cool place and it has a lot of history and a lot of authenticity to it.

G: How do you feel about being a woman in this industry, especially in Calgary, where there are few girls playing onstage and with bands?

PW: I got into it mostly because [of] that first show I played. And I’ve been playing [open mic shows] forever, and being a girl in this scene, it feels like sometimes you get more noticed because you are a girl and because you are playing an electric guitar and because . . . you are recording, and it’s just really great. You see so many people react differently to a girl playing music than [to] a guy in a band playing music like drums or guitar or whatever. A girl playing electric guitar and singing in a band and playing actual rock ‘n’ roll-type, blues rock music — the reaction is so cool.

G: Do you think your networking with the bands and doing photography will influence you down the road, leading you to play gigs with them?

PW: Definitely. [Local band] Black Phoenix Orchestra . . . wrote their first song in my living room at a house party, and I’ve been really good friends with them. Darren McDade, the lead singer, has taken me under his wing. It’s the most amazing thing ever. You feel so connected to the community and there’s so many people involved in this scene.

G: How did you feel today worked out? At the end of the day, did you feel that “Vulcan’t Fest” brought the same vibes?

PW: Not necessarily the same vibes, but definitely hope. There’s that feeling of hope here. It’s just so great, everyone is so charitable and just fantastic. I can’t stop smiling, I’m so happy about the people that I know . . . we have one of the best cities for music I’ve seen in a long time.

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