Keri and Devin Latimer are remembering what it’s like to be on tour.
The married couple are members of the Juno award-winning country music band Nathan, which last released an album in 2007. While their main gig is on hiatus, the pair recorded an album under the name Leaf Rapids, named for the small northern Manitoba town where Devin grew up. Their debut album, Lucky Stars, was released on April 14 and the duo is now in the midst of their western Canadian tour. They will perform at The Root: Community Emporium on May 1.
“Right before we left for the tour I was starting to panic thinking, ‘oh jeez, I don’t even know if I can do this anymore!’ But it’s just been amazing,” Keri Latimer said.
“This is sort of a side project to utilize all this music that I can’t stop creating.”
Latimer was approached by the label Black Hen Music in December 2014 and asked if she had some songs she was working on and she would be ready to start working on an album by August. Latimer said “sure,” even though she didn’t really have much of a plan in place, and started working on some songs.
“The kids would go to school and Devin would go to work and I got to sit down at 8:30 a.m. with my coffee and pretend that was my day job and just work really hard all day,” she said. “It was fantastic, I just loved that period. (It was) during the winter, too, so you can kind of be a hermit. I’m a really good hermit.”
The folk songs that came out of those coffee-fueled winter mornings are more brooding and psychedelic than her previous work. Latimer attributes the dour, dreamy vibe to the group’s namesake town as well as the addition of a Theremin, an electronic instrument which emits an otherworldly wail as the player waves their hands through an electromagnetic field.
“It’s a really isolated little community, very close-knit, full of beautiful, eccentric people, because you’re way out there and they have their own way of doing things,” she said. “And now that the mine has shut down it’s sort of a struggling little place, too. So I think I had that in my mind just because we named it that. I just tend to tap into things that I’m living.”
Latimer says her and her husband are still writing music with the other members of Nathan, but jobs and family obligations get in the way of touring, and Latimer likes to be on the road. For this tour the Latimers are bringing their children along for the ride.
“We leave for the U.K and Germany and the Netherlands right after we get back home, so we’re on the road for a while, which is really fun with our kids,” she said. “So far, so good. They’re seven and eight (years old) ... so they definitely keep themselves occupied. And they’ve been selling some merch, too.”