Over The Moon Acoustic Roots Duo featuring Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell, award winning vocal and multi instrumentalists.

  

Over The Moon
Featuring award-winning vocal and multi-instrumentalists,
Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell

  A short while ago a band from Calgary was recording a CD and they hired Craig Bignell to record drums, percussion, and banjo from his home studio in Grey County, Ontario. Everything was as usual for this type of thing, until they asked him to be part of their CD release in Alberta a few months later.   This would be Craig’s first time meeting Suzanne Levesque and they seemed to hit it off right from the start!  

  A few days after, a close mutual friend (Tom Jackson singer/actor) was having a dinner party at his Calgary home and many of the guests were from Alberta’s music community.  As fate would have it, Craig was staying with Tom at the time, as he was rehearsing for one of Tom’s Huron Carol Tours.  After dinner, people were sitting in a large circle taking turns playing and singing songs. When it came time for (the ever shy) Craig’s turn, he bravely went forth, clutching his acoustic guitar with obvious great strain and fear for his life:) 

    You see…Craig had made his career as a drummer/percussionist (www.craigbignell.com) and without a huge array of drums, cymbals and various incendiary protecting him, he was sitting utterly alone on a stool, singing some silly love song, completely terrified. Now as luck would have it, Suzanne's  band was also at this event.  She was watching as Craig struggled on in front of his often overconfident peers.   So from the shadows, Suzanne appeared, bass in hand to rescue Craig by adding her incredible voice and bass playing to this seemingly silly love song.   In doing so, she made him sound and feel so much better…

   Craig could just feel himself relax, and he even ventured a smile as his voice returned to normal, losing the Slim Whitman vibrato sound that was present before she appeared…He thought his heart was going to burst!

 And that was how the whole thing started. They’ve been singing together ever since and even have people asking if they were related, as their voices blend together so well they sound like family. I guess they are now as they were married five years ago:)

 They continue the music and magic of that first night now with Over The Moon and getting rave reviews and gaining new friends and fans wherever they perform.   Their first CD "Moondancer",  was released in 2017 and it reflects the beautiful two-part harmony style that they are known for and the wide array of acoustic instruments that they play. Most of the songs are original and tell stories of life lived in Southern Alberta's ranching country. The title song "Moondancer" was given to them by their artist/ranching neighbor Ian Tyson!  Below is their first "one-page" from their U.K. release.
 

Wedding Day!

Wedding Day!

Happy New Year! 

   Well, it looks like another Christmas and New Years has come and gone and we'd like to wish all of our friends, family and followers a happy and healthy 2020.  2019 was a pretty amazing year for our wee duo, as we we had so many highlights it's hard to keep track:)  A couple of the big ones were getting a chance to take our music and stories across China, playing some of their biggest and most beautiful theaters and even coming home with a bunch of new friends. One of them even followed us as far as Calgary, and is now going to help us learn to speak Mandarin...Haha, I guess my jokes will go over better there that way:)      Yue, you don't know what you're up against:)    

  Another highlight was signing an international record deal with Borealis Records... We are so thrilled that they are going to help get our next couple of albums out around the world and we can't wait to get out there to help promote them... On that note...We also signed with a wonderful UK agency and our first UK tour will be for the month of March 2021 and we're now looking at the two weeks after in Europe!

We were also blessed to have Jeff Bradshaw, Cedric Blary, and Bruce Hoffman join us on stage for some of our bigger shows. There are none better on their instruments anywhere on this planet and they made our music sound so good that Suzanne often had tears in her eyes when we performed. They're also great friends to boot!  We also traveled to Saskatchewan to showcase at OSAC and came away with 23 shows booked on two tours in 2020 and 2021... We just love Saskatchewan people and can't wait to start the tours...

 On the other hand, we have not been on social media much the past couple of months as we've been struggling with the decision to let you folks know about something very personal that is happening.  We would never have decided to say anything, except that is is causing us to cancel 3 months of shows (a least) and forced us to cancel our trip to Folk Alliance International in New Orleans in January,  representing Alberta there.

 Anyway, it turns out that I (Craig), was born with a bicuspid aortic valve in my heart and it is not working correctly, so much so,  that it has dilated my main artery as well. I have no symptoms at all! The surgeon said that we need to fix it right away or the outcome would be catastrophic ... It will be an open-heart surgery where they replace the valve and the main artery... It's not the open heart thing that scares me most, it's not having my body temperature lowered to a hypothermic coma ( I'll finally get some sleep:) ...it's getting a catheter installed before that terrifies me :) I had a lot of questions for the anesthesiologist when we met the team,  but one that made him laugh was... "If I get a blood clot, and it travels to my brain, is it true that I have to play bass"?  Haha, Suzanne loves that one:) Turns out his father is a sax player that used to play with Manteca and he promised to play some Steely Dan while they put me to sleep!

 With all of this said...we'd like to say we're so sorry to the venues and ticket buyers that we had to cancel on... and thank's to Borealis Record's,  Bill and Grit for being so caring and understanding as this has delayed our new album release and also made us miss their showcase at Americanafest... and thank's to our musicians for being so understanding that we have to cancel some of their work too. 

 Anyhoo, we're sure we'll be out playing up a storm in no time and with the team of wonderful people that Alberta Health Services put together for us, I might even sing in tune after all is said and done!!!! 

Thank's for reading our blog and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Craig and Suzanne

 

"East Meets Western" Tour of China 

 

 Well, the week before we left on our "East Meets Western" Tour of China,  was pretty frantic, to say the least. Since our friends in China couldn't have an upright bass at every venue for Suzanne, we decided to ask Charlie Chadwick to build us one and just prayed that it would be here in time for our trip. Somehow he did it and Suzanne couldn't be happier with the bass and that fact that it folds down into a flyable case, makes it even better.

 It was quite a task to get through the airport with 5 instruments and a big suitcase with just the two of us, but somehow we did and made it to China without losing anything! We were met in Shanghai by our road manager Felicia and she whisked us away to our hotel, right beside the venue. The Shanghai Oriental Theatre is one of the most beautiful theatres in all of China. The photos below do it no justice. Even our hotel was a marvel of engineering and totally POSH, especially for two Longview Cowbillies like us...

  We were very nervous to play this venue for our first show and even more so as we were going to sing one of their folk songs in their language...BUT... From the second we walked out on stage, the people were so welcoming and supported us all the way through the show. There were even requests for some of our original songs.  I wonder how they knew us and our music so well... After the show two of the hostess from the theatre came on stage and gave us both a big bouquet of flowers.  That has never happened in our careers.... The only sad thing was that we weren't able to go out and meet some of the people after the show. We truly wanted to chat with folks after and especially one lady that said such nice things on Facebook about us even before we came to China... Sorry, we missed you Yue!

 Now today, it's back to the airport and the long lineups, to fly to Baotou in the Inner Mongolian Province. We'll keep you posted what happens...

 

Thank's for checking in on us!

Craig and Suzanne

Welcome to our first Blog post! 

    Well, here goes our first attempt at a Blog... We know most of our friends and followers are as interested in our adventures while we're out on the road as they are in our music:)  Trying to get from show to show and some of the unbelievable places and predicaments we've ended up in seems to resonate with them... Haha, that's still one of our favorite things about making music together while not having enough money to fly everywhere and staying in the best hotels.

  We are blessed to travel in our old van, sleep on the roof  in a rooftop tent, and have the constant  company of our ever faithful German Shorthair Pointer.."Teak".  We wouldn't change a thing even if we could... We can't even begin to tell you how much we prefer the taste of our first coffee on a cold morning after using our 60's Coleman stove to heat up the espresso maker over the free continental breakfast some of the hotels serve.  Haha, there's just something so comforting about standing there freezing, waiting as the coffee maker gurgles away, and knowing that in a few minutes you'll be rewarded with a smokin' hot mug of love!!! That's usually when I climb the ladder and try to wake Suzanne:)

 Anyway, we're off on our "East Meets Western" Tour of China in a couple of weeks, and there's bound to be some adventures coming on that trip. We're even playing a show in Mongolia, so stay tuned  here and we'll keep you posted!

Happy Trails now,

Craig, Suzanne, and Teak