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Well-travelled Brewster working on finishing touches for new album
Banff Crag & Canyon ,2006

Sitting on Cori Brewster's deck in South Canmore on an unseasonably warm May afternoon, one word comes to mind as I listen to her talk about her life and her music. That word is spitfire. Although she comes in a small package, she seems to have more energy and electricity coursing through her veins than most people expel in a lifetime.

With two albums already under her belt, the singer/songwriter is working on her third album."This album has a lot of songs on it about home," explains the petite, athletic blonde. "I haven't settled on a title yet, but one I'm considering is The Long Ride Home."

It's appropriate because it has been a long ride home for Brewster, who left Banff where she was born and raised to experience some of life's rich pageant."I've spent a lot of time based near Edmonton," she says. "I lived in Manitoba, Vancouver -- lots of places."

Most of that time was spent pursuing her musical career. As a self-described music lover of all genres, her own sound is a mixture of bluegrass, roots, folk and country. Her songs are largely narrative. "I hate using those labels, but how else could you explain to a person whether they'd like an artist or not," she says.

Things changed seven years ago when Brewster's son, River, was born.
"I wanted him to go to school here and have the advantages of growing up in the Bow Valley," Brewster says. "So we came back."

That was five years ago, and now she is releasing her first album since returning."It's time now," she says. However, just because she has not put out an album does not mean she has not been busy with music. She has also developed a large repertoire of material to choose from in that time, and has won a songwriting award.

"I don't call myself a musician. I don't consider myself a musician," she says. "I'm a singer/songwriter who plays guitar."Co-writer and sometimes bandmate Bob Remington agrees."Cori called me and asked me to play backup at a show for her, and I said 'sure,' so she sent me some of her music," says Remington, who is a mandolin player. "After listening to some of her songs, I was fairly intimidated. The production quality was very good and the songs are intricate. She has a distinct style of writing and they aren't easy songs to play."

Remington and Brewster won an award at the Calgary Folk Festival songwriters competition for best Alberta song. "I'd wanted to write a song about William Twin for a long time," Brewster said. "Bob was receptive to the idea, so it worked out well."
William Twin was a Stoney First Nation member who was close to Brewster's ancestors.
The experience was a first for Remington."I'd never collaborated on a song before," he says. "So the process was new to me. We each brought different ideas to the table -- she had her interpretation of my work and vice versa, and in the end, this is the product.
I actually quite like the song."Brewster's high-profile family has been a blessing and a curse for her in her adult life. "My family casts a large shadow, and I don't mean that negatively, in the area. They are very supportive and I'm grateful for that," she says.

"We are constantly having to explain that we no longer own Brewster Transport. We all work very hard in the businesses and professions we are involved in."

With a degree in physical education, she now manages her family's nine-hole golf course, Brewster's Kananaskis Guest Ranch."I'm probably the only person who likes it when it rains in the summer," she says with a laugh. "It means I can sit down and write a song."
To that end, Brewster is dedicated and determined."I'm constantly writing something down and listening to conversations for ideas," she says. "It's a long process and it doesn't all just come out at once for me. I go back to a song over and over again."

The lyrics in her songs make her a truly Canadian songwriter."I write what seems meaningful to me and what I care about," she says. Remington says it's a unique gift.
"Cori plays about 90 per cent of her own stuff per show," he says. "That's something a lot of artists can't do. It's definitely a strength. She also writes meaningful lyrics and has a social conscience. It takes a certain amount of courage to put your heart on the line the way Cori does."

So armed with a new arsenal of songs, Brewster is playing Acoustically Speaking at artsPeak on the evening of June 9. She will be playing with Brent Saklofske.
Look for Brewster's new album sometime in fall. She will also be playing in the Yamnuska Mountain Series she helped to create. The dates and other artists have not yet been released.