From Onanole, with love

Carly Dow and Logan McKillop swap city and country, but share musical inspiration

Carly Dow

Megan Steen

Solo artists Carly Dow and Logan McKillop have a lot in common: familial roots in Onanole, MB, an appreciation for the captivating beauty of Riding Mountain National Park, a comfortable niche in the local singer-songwriter scene and an intimate show set for Feb. 17 at the Times Changed High and Lonesome Club. 

The two have dubbed the show “Riding Mountain Review” to pay homage to their shared origins. “We were actually hired for the show first, and then we thought, ‘Oh, this is kind of cool,’” Dow says over the phone. 

Dow will headline the Riding Mountain Review. Her upcoming album, Ingrained, is slated for release this May. She plans to tour the album in Canada and has hopes for touring it in Europe.

It’s only been a couple of months since she moved from Winnipeg to the country, but Dow says her small patch of land just outside of Onanole helps stimulate her writer’s itch. 

“There is a lot of input of nature and my surroundings that come into my songs. I think that’s part of the reason I moved out of the city. I find it easier to write. It comes a lot more naturally when I’m not in a city setting. In terms of creativity, I think being out anywhere in nature helps me. Specifically this area because I have a home tie to it.” 

McKillop notes that he and Dow have shared the stage before as part of a collective in the Onanole and Riding Mountain area. “Every summer, we put on a production and do a reenactment of historical shows. We brought Carly in as a guest to sing for the Bob Dylan and Neil Young shows,” McKillop says.

McKillop, the opening act for Riding Mountain Review, released his debut Prairie Sky in 2013. He’s currently working on writing songs and building a name for himself in Winnipeg. In the next year, he plans to write more material and delve into the early stages of recording his next album. 

Like Dow, McKillop cites the prairie scenery as a major point of inspiration. 

“I’ve been inspired by the Park and the natural world. I know I use a lot imagery: the wind, the sun, the moon, stuff like that. It’s something that I feel very strongly about - true natural beauty.” 

McKillop changed scenery in the fall too, but unlike Dow, he moved to the “big new world” of Winnipeg. City life offers a change of pace from that of humble Onanole: “You don’t see problems [in small towns] that a city like Winnipeg does,” he admits, “[but] you are who you are no matter where you live.” 

Whereas McKillop is now minutes away from Winnipeg’s lively music scene, Dow is a gaping three hours away. She says she doesn’t mind. “You have to drive no matter what. If the shows are worth it, it’s great to come in as often as I can. Times is an iconic venue. It’s by far one of my favourite venues that I’ve ever played in.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 11, 2015)

Related Reads