ROB MURRAY: I’m speaking with musician Leah Barley. It’s been a really long time since we’ve chatted. You used to live in the Bow Valley. How long ago was that?

LEAH BARLEY: I’ve been in Vancouver now for almost 11 years. I was in Canmore for four and a half years before that.

RM: I remember you from the Canmore Idol days. Do you remember that?

LB: I sure do. That was, I think, six months after I started performing.

RM: Do you still have a lot of connections to the local music scene here in town?

LB: I do. I’ve kept in contact with quite a few of my friends from back in Canmore.

RM: How has your music grown and improved since you moved out to Vancouver?

LB: I came here for school, and the first summer I was here I met someone on the beach; I was playing my banjo and he wanted to record me for a school project. My first summer here I started recording and performing and touring with local musicians, and since then I’ve put out three EPs and I just released my first full length.

RM: Bring Out Your Dead. You released it last year. What can you tell us about this album?

LB: There’s eight songs on there. It’s pretty big chunk of my heart.

RM: What inspires your music and your songwriting?

LB: My music comes from things that have happened in my own life, either positive or negative. I also write about people in my life that have really heavily impacted me.

RM: I’d imagine that COVID-19 has had a large impact on your music career. Have you been managing to make it work? What have you been up to?

LB: Lockdown hit us in March and we were a month into recording, so we had to figure out a way to keep safely recording and finish the album. As for performing, I did a couple of online shows and a couple Instagram Live and Facebook Live things. I’m just trying to keep up with the times, but it’s hard because I had to go and buy a whole bunch of new equipment and now I have to learn how to use it.

RM: What’s next? What else are you working on right now?

LB: We’re hoping to do some sort of live videos with my full band, but we have to record them all of our pieces separately because we’re still in lockdown. Then I’ll be applying for a grant to put some music videos together later this year.

RM: Speaking of music videos, this ties nicely into the song I was going to play on air. It’s called Mountains, off your new album Bring Out Your Dead. I really like the music video for this song. What can you tell us about it?

LB: The music video is my grandparents’ 1942 honeymoon footage. They took a train from Toronto to Vancouver and then they went across to Tofino. My grandfather was just obsessed with the mountains, and he took so much footage through Canmore and Banff and all through the beaches of Tofino. The song I wrote about my band mate, John Kastelic, falling in love while on tour from Vancouver to Saskatchewan. We couldn’t make a video because of lockdown, and then I remembered I had this footage of my grandparents, and once I got it all digitized it just worked out perfectly. It just blew our minds how beautifully it went with the song. Just two love stories coming into one, really.

RM: Where can people find your music?

LB: The abum is online on all of your major places, Spotify and Apple Music. It’s also for sale on Bandcamp if you want to support me directly. All of my handles are at Leah Barley Music.