Music

Sweet Alibi on life on the road and latest album, Walking In the Dark

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Choosing to embark on a career as a touring musician can no doubt lead to exciting opportunities, but it also means having to leave behind loved ones and the prospect of a “normal” life—which makes it all the more important to have a positive support system along for the ride.

Winnipeg-based roots-pop trio Sweet Alibi has worked to cultivate that since the band began touring together in 2009.

“You learn a lot about each other’s personal lives and how we grow,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Amber Rose during a tour stop in Beaverlodge, BC. “Jessica [Rae Ayre]’s been sober for four years, I’ve gone through a big death in my life and a lot of personal changes, and Michelle [Anderson] I think has just had some struggles on the road in the earlier years, just being away from family.”

She laughs that spending an inordinate amount of time with your bandmates quickly teaches you which buttons not to push—or to push, if the person needs it in order to get back on track. Communication is key, she says, as well as remaining cognizant of each other’s needs and being able to openly discuss anything that needs to be addressed.

With that in mind, the trio wanted to capture a sense of caring on its new album, Walking In the Dark, released late last year. The introspective, thoughtful album encompasses themes of love, loss and maintaining important relationships even when time and distance doesn’t make it easy to keep in touch.

“We really wanted to make the theme of [this album] just a caring theme: that we really care about our friends and family and that we’re doing this to spread a message about happiness and change,” says Rose, who wrote the title track following the death of her mother. “Change can be really good and scary, and life and death is just a part of our lives. There’s things you’re going to go through that are really hard, but as long as you stick together you can get through it.”

Missing out on birthdays and weddings is admittedly hard—on both sides of the equation—but Rose notes that the band’s friends and families remain supportive and recognize how important this is to them, particularly as the group gains momentum. The harmony-filled single, “Middle Ground” made it to CBC Radio 2’s Top 20, for example, and Sweet Alibi is playing to larger and larger audiences.

“‘Middle Ground’ is a song Jessica wrote about trying to find the balance in life with touring and family,” Rose says. “And I guess coming from her heavy drinking before and being sober for four years she’s starting to learn, finding that middle ground. She’s always saying stuff like, ‘If you can find that balance, then the lows aren’t so low and the highs aren’t too high.'”

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