Lizzy Hoyt performs in Moosomin June 16

June 14, 2022, 5:18 pm
by Sierra D’Souza Butts Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Lizzy Hoyt has been performing opera, fiddle and celtic music for about 20 years. With her recent celtic-folk album release she will be performing a mix of fiddle, guitar and harp songs on June 16 in Moosomin.

On Thursday, June 16, Lizzy Hoyt will be coming to Moosomin to perform original and traditional songs from her fifth independent album­—The Parting Glass.

“It’s been a number of years since I was in Moosomin, it’s always nice to come back to places that you’ve played before, and to just share some new music, reconnect with some people. I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

Hoyt has been a musician for about 20 years and has a history of singing opera, fiddle and celtic music.

“I do feel a need to share music and I feel that it’s something I have to offer in the world. The celtic music that I do and the opera I do are very separate, there’s no overlap for those in my concerts. I get hired to do an opera event and I would get hired to do a folk show and that’s where I would do traditional celtic music. The fiddle style that I tend to play is rooted in traditional Irish and Scottish music.”

Hoyt said she has always felt drawn to celtic music as it has been part of her heritage for generations.

Her concert in Moosomin will be a combination of classical and baroque, along with celtic-folk music.

“It will mostly be me singing with guitar and I will definitely throw in a set of some fiddle tunes, I also play the celtic harp, but it’s a very intimate show because it’s a solo show,” she said.

“I’m sharing songs mostly from my brand new album, which is a collection of some of my favorite traditional songs, and some original ones as well. I’ll also be sharing a few songs from my previous recording because those are also new since I’ve been to Moosomin.

“Those songs are more original material, but all the songs that I write are heavily influenced by traditional music. One of my favorite things about folk and celtic music is that there’s sort of a storytelling aspect of it. There’s a lot of storytelling in my music, I have some stories about people in my family tree and songs that I’ve written about them.”

Hoyt said she is proud that she is releasing her fifth independent album.

“I’m pleased that I was able to put together a new project. Everyone’s had a strange last couple years of course, I also have a child too so during lock down and everything with a kid, it was challenging to find the time to do a big project like that, which is part of the reason I chose to do a really paired down intimate album,” Hoyt said.

“I always wanted to do an album of my favorite traditional songs, but there’s a lot of ‘should’ in the music business. You know, you ‘should’ be releasing your own original material, you ‘should’ be doing this, I never felt it was a project that I could commit to doing and this seemed like the perfect time to do it.”

She said one of her favorite parts about touring is getting the chance to meet people from different places.

“One of the things I missed the most over Covid and not being able to tour in the same way that I did before, is I feel like every time you actually go out to perform, you meet people and you just remember the world is not as crazy as it seems,” said Hoyt.

"I understand too that often times when I’m touring, I’m working with people who are volunteering their time for various arts organizations. I like to joke that you’re sort of meeting the best people, but it’s true, you get on the road, you perform and you talk to people afterwards, but then you realize people are more alike than they are unlike.

“You find out that we all have an interest in the same things, in our children, in wanting the world to be a better place, all those sorts of things that I feel like when we’re all stuck at home reading terrible things that are happening in the world, it’s easy to get down about that, but when I’m out performing, I’m reminded through connecting with people that most people are good, and we all kind of want the same things.”

Eli Barsi of Moosomin and Hoyt are close friends
Hoyt currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She found herself coming to perform in Moosomin after connecting with an old friend in town.

“I played in Moosomin in 2014 for the arts council, but my good friend Eli Barsi who’s a musician, songwriter and performer, she lives in town. She invited me to see if I wanted to do a show there and helped me organize logistics and sponsors and stuff,” Hoyt said.

“She and her husband John have been working like crazy to put on the special event and I’m so grateful.”

“We had a couple of shows in Alberta and then when Eli asked us if I would be interested to coming to Moosomin again I said absolutely, I’m happy to come to Moosomin for it.”

Hoyt said Barsi has been a mentor for her and played a huge role in helping her start her career.

“Eli was the first person to hire me professionally as a fiddle player and that was in 1999, she had been looking for a fiddler player and I think had a hard time finding the right fit for her band. At the time she was doing a fair amount of performing and doing commercial country, that sort of stuff,” said Hoyt.

“Her harmony singer at the time, the woman who was singing harmonies for her recordings, happened to be my mom’s cousin. I grew up playing the mandolin and fiddle, that was my first instrument. I used to play at family functions, where all the grandparents and older aunts and uncles would be like ‘Lizzy take out your fiddle,” so I always ended up fiddling at family events for a little bit.

“Then my mom’s cousin Becky said ‘I have this friend who’s looking for a fiddle player, do you think you would be interested in doing that?’ I was still in high school at the time, I thought ‘sure I’ll give it a shot.’

“Eli sort of auditioned me I guess, she hired me for one show. I was young, I was accomplished enough, but certainly didn’t have the experience, there were certain things I didn’t feel comfortable improvising at that point. She kept hiring me and giving me opportunities, I think she was pleased to have someone because I always came prepared, I would always learn the material, I was never faking it that way, and I think she appreciated that she would rely on me for what I said I would do.

“Through working with her, I got that professional experience, learning to play with other professional musicians, learning how to improvise, and all the other stuff that you have to learn in the music business.

“A number of years later, she was actually the person who suggested that I put together a CD of fiddle music and said that I was welcomed to sell it at her shows.”

Hoyt said she is grateful to have built that connection with Barsi.

“She and husband John helped me do that, I recorded in their studio my very first project that was released in 2007. They helped me so much to get my feet under me in a professional way and have been mentors, encouraging friends and supporters since then,” she said.

“They are truly excellent people and are very generous to be able to share that information with other people, you know, you don’t always run into people like that. They have always been so generous and supportive, I feel like they are people who live their life as an example.”