Who: Soprano star Measha Brueggergosman’s vocal talent and playful, seeking spirit took her career on a soaring journey from small town to international big city opera houses. She loves vehicular treks through the United States, Germany, Paris through Bordeaux and into the Basque region of Spain, but she views Canadian road trips as a vehicle for her vivacious spirit.
Her wheels: Black on black 2007 BMW X3
Most memorable drives:
“I had to develop the ability of a distance driver. Earlier this year I was in Vancouver to perform at the opening of the Olympics, and said to myself, ‘OK, I think I’ll drive to the Rockies.’ I drove from Vancouver to Calgary through the Icefields Parkway to the Rockies. Our country’s landscape is breathtaking. I totally get the Rockies, I was humbled.”
“I just got back from a road trip visiting friends that took me from Toronto to Fredericton and back, with stops in Sussex and Penobsquis in New Brunswick, and then Trois-Pistoles, Tadoussac and Montreal in Quebec. Before leaving Toronto, I traded in my 2006 Mini Cooper for a 2007 BMW X3. I drove my new car off the lot and started the road trip east. My co-pilot on the way down was a fellow Frederictonian, who has eclectic taste in pop music from hipster-electronica with the occasional acoustic rock/soul palette cleanser to dub/step reggae hybrids from various DJs. I did learn something: drums and bass make you drive faster, so the next time you throw on Shapeshifter, pay close attention to the speedometer. We threw on this disparate musical mix of newbies, oldies and oddities.”
(1) Don't Stop Believin'
“The most significant hearing of this [Journey]song was while I was going through a horrible break up. My best friend snail-mailed me a CD with ‘In case you need it’ written on it. I was driving through Nevada and I put the CD on in the car, and this song pumped. And man, did I ever need it. The syncopated, pulsating opening piano motif is immediately recognizable, and the unapologetic power of Steve Perry's lead vocals poise the listener on the cusp of something big. For anyone from a small town where fantasies seem far away and you just need that little extra oomph to get you up and about, this track will take you from the depths of discouragement to the heights of hope in a glorious 3:47.”
(2) The Old Ways
“I got my driver’s licence six months after I turned 16 and one of my first road trips was with friends from Fredericton across the border to Houlton, Maine, to see the remake of 101 Dalmatians. On our way back, the heavens opened and a record-breaking snowstorm came crashing down on us. The highway was deserted and I couldn't see 30 cm in front of me. We were perilously close to being late for our curfew, so when I missed our highway turnoff, I thought a good idea was to drive my best friend's mother's white 1992 Ford Taurus across the highway median through two and a half feet of freshly fallen snow. My friends convinced me that was a bad idea. So instead, I went up the down ramp and then we were back to barrelling down the highway toward Canada at 10 km/h. After that drama, we threw on this tune by Loreena McKennitt from the album The Visit. Her orchestral choices, textual layering and overall production create atmospheres while melding the unlikely bedfellows of Celtic, Indian and tribal styles.”
(3) Things Have Changed
“David Myles is from Fredericton, where I grew up, and this song is from his album First Thing. I love the innovative use of unlikely instruments. He’s classified as roots folk, but you hear the occasional mandolin, banjo or trumpet colours that jump out. Compositionally, he’s quite sophisticated and he writes about love.”
“Luciano Pavarotti has the perfect voice for the Grand Canyon. I was there this spring for a Bikram yoga teacher-training course and drove out to the canyon at sunset during a break for some sight seeing. I wanted to mark a moment with this song. The best music to play on your stereo system is classical. “The Pav” sings the requiem tenor aria by Verdi. It’s the barnburner for the tenor. And his voice rings out over the orchestra, but starts out like a wisp of sound and he comes in like liquid velvet —powerful, surefooted — and his voice creates a sense of occasion.”
(5) Little Things (remix)
“This song is by The Trinity Roots, an electro-reggae Kiwi band I discovered in Seoul, South Korea in December. [At the time]I was travelling with a friend who spoke Korean. After a very late night, I woke up to this song and I thought ‘That’s how I feel right now’— it’s the little things that matter.”
Correction: David Myles' name was spelled incorrectly, it has now been fixed.