Woolly Breeches: Creative connection

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by Caitlin Cohen

Brit Keeton and McKain Lakey, the Woolly Breeches, are brilliantly goofy. When they’re together, they have this fun and playful banter—they poke fun and laugh with each other. They are also incisive and innovative—using music as a way to reach out to other people and also process life experiences.

“A lot of the songs I write are making sense of different experiences in my life. On the album, there’s a song about my mom, a song about a former partner, a song about an experience with sexual assault. It gets into the nitty gritty kind of things that helps me sort through my own experience and vocalizes a lot of experiences that people also have,” McKain said. “I’ve been able to connect through a lot of people through that.”

Connecting with others is a big theme within the Woolly Breeches’ music and also in Brit and McKain’s interests outside of their band. Both of them share their skills through teaching music lessons.

“It’s so much fun to see people discover the magic of music and their capabilities,” Brit said. “With kids, I’m so blown away with the degree in which it’s not giving them the skill but just helping them realize that they have the intelligence to figure it out for themselves… Part of the reason why I love music is to remember the magic that exists in the universe that we tend to forget about in our daily lives.”

McKain also sees how empowering music can be in general, but also for young women specifically.

“A lot of my guitar and banjo students are young women and girls. It feels like this radical thing to be like ‘claim your voice, express yourself’ and find ways to channel what’s inside of yourself that could be used to connect with others… folk music especially is just so focused on coming together, connecting, and community. It just feels very powerful to pass that on,” McKain said.

In addition to connecting with others, creativity in general is very important to the duo. Brit gardens when she’s not playing or teaching music. McKain builds guitars. The core of their life interests is being creative in some shape or form.

“I feel like it’s just a way of being fully alive, rather than plotting through your routine. What fun is that? It’s also a way of connecting with other people and other beings. When it comes to creativity, it’s just what brings me happiness. I would be bummed out about life without,” Brit said.

Not only is creativity valued personally, McKain also sees why it’s an important element to include in everyone’s lives.

“I have this belief that everyone is inherently creative and I think our society doesn’t do a very good job in cultivating that in people. I don’t think it’s a matter so much of my own personal creativity, it’s more so recognizing the creativity that any of us have… I think it would just be a sad life not being creative, kind of limiting,” McKain said.

Much like creativity, finding the feeling of home is a process.

“As much as nostalgia and shooting the shit feel like home to me, I also think there’s a longing or a darkness or a place that needs further exploration that has to do with home, too,” McKain said. “I think feeling at home for me is not so much a peaceful experience but a thoughtful, introspective experience in trying to figure what home actually means.”

The Woolly Breeches will be playing at Boundary Bay Brewery on May 29 from 4-6 p.m.  For more about them, visit www.woollybreeches.com.