Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was sing and play music. I owe most of that to my grandparents, my mom and dad, and three folk singers from Canada. I have been wanting to share this part of my life for quite awhile now. So here it goes.
When I was kid, my main goal was to entertain. When family would come over for holidays or birthdays, I would usually sing and bang on our piano until my parents told me to stop. Sometimes, I would even talk my sister and cousins into joining in and we would put on shows for everyone. This was the norm in the Lovelace house. (I have the home videos to prove it)
Each afternoon when school let out, my grandmother (Gran) would pick me up and usually take me to my grandparents’ house where she watched me until my parents got off work. When we got there, we always turned on Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it was a children’s program in the late 80′s/early 90′s that featured 3 folk singers, neighborhood kids, and a dancing elephant. It was absolutely my favorite show. I knew every word to every song. They made music fun. From a very early age, I decided that I would be a musician when I grew up. I haven’t looked back since.
Gran was always the one that would sing along with me, any time I asked. I remember listening to Sharon, Lois & Bram in her car and driving to the library to find songbooks or more records to listen to. She was always teaching me new songs and rhymes that she learned as a kid. My grandad (Pops) would sing with us every now and then too. My favorite times growing up were singing with my grandparents. The song we sang the most was called “Side By Side” which SLB recorded on one of their early records.
in 1995, Gran became sick with cancer. I was only 10 years old so it was really hard for me to understand. I remember when she was getting worse, I bought her a Sharon, Lois & Bram cassette tape, thinking it might help her feel better. She passed away in September of that year. After that, my family gave me the tape back and said that she would have wanted me to have it. It wasn’t much, but it made me realize how important the trio’s music had meant to our relationship over the years. After she passed, I began collecting Sharon, Lois & Bram memorabilia. I collected tapes, videos, books, LPs, posters, etc. Every time I found something, it reminded me of Gran. I feel a part of her is always with me through their music.
Last summer, we played a concert in Toronto on a tour we were on. I knew it would be a long shot, but I sent a message to Sharon, Lois & Bram’s management. I told them that I was in town, playing a concert and that their music had meant a great deal to me. I just wanted to invite them and their families out to the show so I could tell them that in person. I got a response back. They weren’t able to come to the show, but Sharon graciously met me for coffee. It was one of the best visits. I finally got to tell her how much their music impacted my life. Without them, I don’t know if I would be doing what I do today.
Ever since last summer, Sharon and I have kept in touch. Saturday, we were in Toronto again for a headlining show. My wife was out with us as well and we got to do one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. We got to spend the afternoon with Sharon, Lois & Bram. We spent almost two hours talking about music, family, life, food, and traveling. After coffee, we said our goodbyes to Sharon and Lois and then walked with Bram back to his house. Once we were inside, he brought out some SLB memorabilia for my collection which included a record that had never been released. I couldn’t believe it. It was such an amazing afternoon for Whitney and I. As if the day could have gotten any better, Sharon stopped by our show, and got to see us play. It was standing room only in a packed out rock club but she still came by. I was and am still blown away.
I tell you all of this for a few reasons. First of all, it is a peek into my childhood. A lot of who I am today is found in the songs and lessons I learned through Sharon, Lois & Bram. As funny as it may sound, I feel like I am a better person because I tuned in. I learned to always live with eyes wide open, letting myself be amazed at the simple joys of life. I’ll always be a kid at heart. And the neatest thing is, when Whitney and I have kids of our own, I have a great big collection of amazing music to share with our family.
One more thing. Family is important. So hug the ones you love a little tighter, say I love you more often, and make family a priority. If you are a parent, invest into your kids. If you are a kid, talk to your parents. Spend quality time together and make memories that will outlive you.
Saturday was an experience that I will never forget. It meant so much to me that 3 people that I admire so much would make the time for Whitney and I. I hope one day I can pay forward what they have given to me. If you have kids, you should check out SLB’s music. They will love it.
Thanks Sharon, Lois & Bram for sacrificing almost 35 years of your lives so that families can communicate their love for each other through song. You deserve to be honored.