Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking for a cure? Just Askher!

I recently attended a breast cancer benefit -- what an awesome way to spend a Sunday night at Norma Jean’s, London’s home of live music! The $5 donation at the door was more than worth it to support such an important cause and to see the night’s line-up, four talented female-fronted bands, singing for a cure: The Stone Angels, Jenn Marino, Stop’n’Askher, and Shelly Rastin. While all of the bands were fantastic, one really caught my ear!

At the event I was fortunate to hang out with self-taught guitarist, and singer-songwriter Lori Girard, whom I was introduced to by my drummer friend, Julie Howes. Lori’s performance with her band, Stop’n’Askher, was phenomenal! Lori sings lead vocals and rocks out on her acoustic guitar with Ron Van Boheemen on bass, Barry McKeon on drums, and Andrew Malo on guitar. The band opened with a cover of Sheryl Crow's All I Wanna Do, and played a great set including Girard's very own I Told You So, Teeter Totter, Head Games, and Karma, among others. They also performed an incredible cover of Janis Joplin's Me and Bobby McGee:

While she often plays with the band, Lori also has been playing a live solo show for four years under her stage name, Askher. She also plays in three duos -- Askher and Newman (who opened for April Wine), Askher Fonti, and Askher and C!

When she’s not on stage, or recording in her home studio, Ms. Girard can be found teaching high school English and French! The multitasking musician is also a mother of two, and one who has a fun sense of humour -- when asked by a new fan whether she likes playing alone, her reply was, “I like to play with myself!” Lori then spoke more seriously about her love for music, and how it has helped to guide her:

I think everything in the world comes in waves -- sound waves, light waves -- waves go up and down, and life goes up and down. When I’m up, I know I’m going down again, but then I’ll get up again.” – Lori Girard

Askher's words can certainly speak to anyone -- we all have our ups and downs, but we need to know that the sun will shine again even when we're feeling low. Lori's positive philosophy comes out in her song Karma:

This particular video was taped in 2007, but I'm posting it because the sound quality is much better than it is in the video of Karma I took at last week's show. Both are amazing performances, so it's not hard to see why Lori has been nominated for two London Music Awards this year! Make sure to vote for her as your favourite London singer-songwriter under “Lori Girard” and as your favourite composer under “Askher.” By the way, Lori's opening for Cheryl Hardy on Saturday, March 14th, so if you're in London, be sure to head on over to Norma Jean's!

Askher’s lyrics are filled with emotion and, with over 10 years of experience, her energy on stage shines through to show her passion for performing. Lori is one of those artists whose music really speaks to my soul. I have a feeling that one day she'll strike a record deal. After all, such would be karma for playing so many wonderful shows!

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