From left to right: support Bassist Brent, Dave Wasyliw, CP employee Leah, Chris Thorsteinson, support Drummer Steve
Leah: This is your first year on the CP Holiday Train, how has your journey been so far?
Chris: The journey has been unbelievable. For somebody who has never been on a train, I really feel spoilt. I mean, having your own room on a train? It’s like royalty.
Dave: It was neat, when we met up with the train in Whitemouth, we saw it pull in, you know, we don’t get that luxury anymore because we’re on it, Chris and I we looked like two little kids when we saw it pull up. So it was really, really neat. I remember thinking “I’m gonna spend the next two weeks on this train” and I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.
Leah: You have a song called “That Train”, how have trains influenced your songwriting?
Chris: Well it’s funny, country music always has a lot of references to trains and tracks, and I think a lot of it is cause trains don’t go off tracks, unless they derail, but it’s not like you could make a left turn if you wanted. Once you’re on that track you’re on it and usually it’s a one way track. The song “That Train”, it was just an idea that once you get on that train, you’re kinda there. It’s hard to explain the song but I think the last verse says a lot of it about the band. You know, we miss our families, we miss being away, but we still get on that train and go tour. I think there’s so much romance about the railroad and you really see it on this train.
Leah: Dave, any comments on the metaphor of trains?
Dave: Just my experience with trains, I grew up right beside the railroad tracks in Portage La Prairie and 70 trains go by a day there so it’s definitely in my blood, just the swaying of my house, haha, and just the rhythm of hearing trains, it would rock me to sleep.
Leah: How is playing out of a boxcar different than a regular stage act?
Chris: I love the stage coming down, when the front of it goes down and the smoke comes out because of the fog machines, I think it’s a great thing that they do and I think it’s really set up well with the band playing as the stage comes down. I think it’s really exciting for the fans and for us it’s unbelievable, until that 25 below wind comes shooting at the stage and the guitars go insanely out of tune haha, but it’s definitely very different.
Leah: How is it playing with Miss Emily?
Chris: She’s wonderful.
Dave: From the first time we saw the train and we saw the Brothers Dube pop out with all that energy and seeing Miss Emily because we knew we’d be on the tour with her....just to hear her voice, the first line she sang, I couldn’t believe the voice coming out of her. I just loved it. It sounded like she’s had a million lifetimes of experience coming out of that voice.
Chris: She does, she’s got that real raspy voice. Every time we play and she sings “Old Toy Train”, you know it’s a really country-sounding song, but she’s got this cool raspy-ness in her voice that makes it unbelievable. She’s so nice to work with too, not bad to look at either haha.
Leah: Can you tell me a little bit of what you’re working on right now? Any upcoming albums or tours?
Chris: Ya something that’s out right now is a duet we did with Emmerson Drive, we co-wrote a song with them called “Let it roll” and that’s the title track for their record. We are doing a tour with them in March, pretty much all the way from Vancouver to Toronto so you can check that out. Dave and I are writing, well probably not as much as we should be haha, but we just got back from Nashville and have been writing a bunch of songs and have been looking to get recording, probably by the 28th of December.
Leah: Are there details on your tour dates on your website?
Leah: Great. The last question I have is from the charismatic MC on the tour, CP employee Josh Pender. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you chose?
Chris: I don’t know, it would probably be Josh I think haha.
Dave: Hmmm well maybe since we just went through the whole American election, I think Barack Obama.
Chris: Ya? Maybe Lincoln. I’ll go with Lincoln. Sorry Josh.
Dave: They had really crappy food back then haha
Chris: We could take a train like this. Or I guess that would be before trains like this?
Leah: Ya that would have been the steam age.
Chris: Oh ya, a steam train with Lincoln. Or maybe Winston Churchill – I heard he was on one of these trains. Or Demi Moore haha…
Dave: Or Oprah…haha
Leah: Well thanks for sitting down with me guys. It's been so fun having you aboard.
Doc Walker and Miss Emily will be continuing their tour on the CP Holiday Train across Alberta and B.C., finishing in Port Moody on December 18th. Scheduled event details available at www.cpr.ca