Jaymie Friesen set out on a solo project but, in a beautiful way, her plans didn’t really work out.
“Music is the language of my soul. So, to not make music is kind of to not be who I’m meant to be,” Friesen says. “It’s how I share and how I make meaning of my experiences.”
After her former band, From Giants, dissolved, she knew she had to do something else musically. That is how Well Sister was born.
On Nov. 5, she’ll release Well Sister’s first recordings. Each of the four songs on the EP is a story from her life.
She wrote Hands while on a pilgrimage in Spain last spring.
“It’s cool because I didn’t know how it would turn out,” Friesen says. “I brought it back home with me and shared it with my musicians and it became one of the songs we decided to record.”
Audrey is based on a woman who Friesen sang for at a care home where she does music therapy.
“It’s dark, dark folk music that tells stories,” Friesen says about Well Sister’s music. “It’s a spiritual autobiography.”
Despite being about her own life experiences, it’s not really a solo project anymore.
“I pulled other people in. So it kind of feels like it’s a solo project but a band at the same time,” Friesen says.
She says Natalie Bohrn, Julie Kettle and Davis Plett are all dedicated and contribute to Well Sister.
“We’re often in conversations where we’re like, ‘What is this?’ It’s a hard relationship to define,” Friesen says.
These are the only musicians who she approached and she was surprised that each was on board, despite having no relationship with Bohrn or Plett before.
She met Plett at a holiday concert two years ago. She saw him playing and approached him after to ask if he’d be interested in collaborating on Well Sister. That was the first time they met, but after listening to From Giants, he decided to get involved.
“I don’t know why they want to be playing with me,” Friesen says. “It’s not like they’re getting paid large sums of money. It’s a huge time commitment. Music pays shit.”
Despite not knowing why these musicians are so dedicated to working on her music, Friesen is honoured that they’re making the time commitment to Well Sister. She also feels lucky that they are all good musicians and good people.
“It’s really important that I actually like the person. For me, you could give me one of the best musicians in the world and I probably wouldn’t want to work with them unless I felt like I could be myself around them, like be connected. If I can’t laugh with someone, I can’t make music with them,” Friesen says.
That has not been a problem for Well Sister, as Friesen will prove on Nov. 5 at The Good Will.
Published in Volume 70, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 29, 2015)