Shari Ulrich said it can be a little strange taking orders from her daughter in the recording studio.
“There are times when I feel like, wait a minute, aren’t I the adult here?” the Bowen Island-based folk singer said.
She’s currently at work on her yet-untitled eighth solo album and her third with daughter Julia Graff as co-producer and recording engineer.
Ulrich, a Juno winner and along with Nanaimo’s Rick Scott a founding member of ’70s B.C. folk group Pied Pumkin, said the record touches on themes like life, relationships and death, but “it’s not all dark.”
“It’s a similar vein to the style of my music, which tends to be personal, which means universal,” she said, adding that it might be slightly less “rootsy” than her last couple albums.
“I find it impossible to be objective about what it is until I’ve lived with it for a while, and one doesn’t live with it until it’s done and out and you give it six moths and then listen to it,” she said.
Some of those songs will be making their Nanaimo debut when Ulrich and her trio – pianist Cindy Fairbank and Graff, a multi-instrumentalist – perform at Unitarian Hall on Saturday, Oct. 27. Ulrich said she can’t remember the last time she’s performed in the Harbour City.
Ulrich said playing songs live while they’re still in the process of being recorded helps influence how they will be sung, although it can be nice to save them for “the big ta-da” when the album comes out.
“It take a while for the song to mature and for my voice to wrap itself around it and figure out the best way to deliver it,” she said.
”So they definitely evolve in the way I approach them and the way I express them and express the words. So it is good to sing them live before I record them.”
Ulrich said playing unrecorded material is also an opportunity to gauge listeners’ reactions to new songs and workshop lyrics.
“There was one on this album that the lyrics were a bit too dark for people and I’m a fairly casual performer so I’ll out and out ask the audience, ‘Is this too dark?’ and someone’ll say, ‘No, it’s just too real’ and I’ll think, ‘OK, maybe I need to dial this back a little bit…” she said. “I wouldn’t want them to think that they’re my focus group, but in some ways they are.”
WHAT’S ON … The Shari Ulrich Trio performs at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Rd., on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22, available at Arbutus Music, Fascinating Rhythm or online at shariulrichnanaimo.eventbrite.ca.