Honest - I wasn't chasing her; I always wanted to go there myself. She was the catalyst that got me up and going - she wove the cocoon that was the sleeping bag for my metamorphosis. Well, that's about what Jesse Rivest would say about embarking on his travels in 2005, and about his first manufactured CD in 2006 - a girl inspired the whole thing - love inspired it all. And that's about when Jesse Rivest emerged as an international troubadour who couldn't quite lift his trailing leg from Canada.
And maybe that's what his latest 2011 release, Everyelsewere EP, is really about; homesickness, displacement, love, drifting, gravitating. But let's not rush ahead. Rivest has been a musician his whole life, from quite the little choir boy voice, to finding a guitar behind a television set at age 14, to now owning a mandolin and a pandeiro (which he is learning quickly). And he has always been a writer, winning an award as early as grade school - best creative short story (about train safety) among the entire Parkland School Division (20 schools outside of Edmonton, Alberta). He taught himself guitar and sang around campfires, then gigged with cover bands between 1995 and 2004, then discovered Calgary's open mic scene and was even accepted as a Best Newcomer Finalist in the 2005 Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Contest. He had to enlist a friend to perform in his absence, though, as he was already off to Australia.
Maybe he did chase her, just a bit. Chasing her, and performing all around Australia, might have been just what was needed to complete the song set that would become Seventeen Oh-Two Oh-Six, the LP which Rivest returned to Canada to record and release early in 2006. That bluesy acoustic effort took him through a western Canada summer and onward to New Zealand - and he hasn't quite returned from there yet.
New Zealand offered Rivest some attractive opportunities that he may not of anticipated. "I intended to buy a van and travel around playing shows and selling CDs - but that didn't happen, instead I sunk in to Wellington and the vibrant young cultural scene there." After an early 2007 tour of Australia, he found himself interviewing and performing live to a national audience via Radio New Zealand; "It's neat-o to know that you are being heard across an entire country; it's even more neat-o to think of an entire country having the same population as Toronto." Ultimately, New Zealand has been good to him; he released Live at The Mussel Inn - Feb 19 2010, co-headlined the Waihi Bush Music Festival in 2010, contributed slide guitar and voice to Tessa Rain's nationally-anticipated release Dirt Poems, and formed a trio called The Recent Developments with whom he produced and released Everyelsewhere EP.
That brings us to today; Jesse Rivest has performed more than 100 shows in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada; he's released 3 collections of original recordings; he's performed and interviewed for numerous radio stations, and he's played to several small festival audiences. "I am a lot more experienced and confident now; and I've learned to have fun with it - it takes a LOT of work and patience, but there are so many experiences to be enjoyed in music. I intend to do this for life." After releasing Everyelsewhere EP, Rivest amazed himself with a month-long New Zealand hitch-hiking adventure, then worked and saved to visit Argentina, and ultimately Canada to reconnect with family and friends. "I'm playing a show or two in Canada, but really I needed to get back to some living and travelling this year. In my case, that results in songwriting, which I love yet it's something one must make time for. So I am enjoying this year and I am looking forward to some writing time, as well as being more fully immersed in my local music and arts community." So... New Zealand? Canada? Or somewhere else?