Kristin Sweetland

Kristin Sweetland

 London, Ontario, CAN

"Unmistakably Sweetlandish"


Kristin Sweetland is not just a musician, singer, songwriter, and photographershe is an artist, and a nomadic one at that; until recently she lived at no fixed address, the road her home. (She refers to her incessant touring as les aventures.)

Sweetland has released multiple CDs and EPs; internationally toured her brand of sexy, smart folk -rock; won an award from the Songs of the Heart competition; and worked with James Keelaghan, Ken Whiteley, George Koller, Suzie Vinnick, and Anne Lindsay.

The pivotal catalyst for Sweetlands musical career was seeing the 1988 movie Satisfaction starring Justine Bateman and Julia Roberts. She promptly bought a cherry red Peavey Stratocaster and decided that there was nothing she couldnt learn to play if she put the time into it.

Sweetland learned the intricacies of songwriting and form via courses and workshops at University of Victoria in British Columbia, and her first time performing her own work for a live audience was at the BC Festival of the Arts.

After graduation, Sweetland gigged, worked on another degree, and cultivated her love of photography. Through all of les aventures Ive been doing a self-portrait series, she explains. More than my words, the photos tell the stories of where Ive been and what Ive done. Sweetland doesnt see the woman in the photographs as herself but a character, often referring to her as she.

Moving back to Ontario, Sweetland released the 2002 Ken Whiteley-produced album Root, Heart & Crown, for which she was lauded as a gifted lyricist and composer, outstanding guitar player, and mature singer.

After four years of touring she recorded her second CD, Own Sweet Time. I think theres something about your sophomore project that makes you go a little crazy, she says, admitting that she can go deliciously and adorably artistically insanein a totally nice-to-be-around kind of way! Own Sweet Time was also critically acclaimed, as intelligent, enchanting, incredible, and amazingly diverse.
Kristin Sweetland says that she wants her next project to be a band, admitting that shes secretly coming up with sexy band names. Whatever she does, the result will be Sweetlandishher personality and artistic vision are irrepressible and will shine in whatever she undertakes.

In everything I do, she says, I try to cultivate an atmosphere that makes you feel youre on a bit of an adventure.


Burial at Sea

Written By: Kristin Sweetland

Victoria, British Columbia
April, 2005

The waves are crashing in upon the shores of Vancouver Island as I prepare to leave this place once more. I am reminded of a drive I once made from Victoria all the way to the tip of Cape Breton Island and beyond. When I finally reached the other ocean, I knew even the longest road was not long enough for me to forget all I had left behind . . . and so the journey began.

Call to me the captain
Bury me at sea
Wash away my body
And this language painted over me
I’ll write the words for you
The things you might have said
Your lips could bloom a crocus
In the darkened February of my head

Over ships of folded paper
Does the blackened raven fly
Scavenging both life and limb
With eyes that shift from side to side
There never was a time
When you’d watch over me like he
And when I said I love you
You’d say, you are far too innocent for me


So bring to me the maiden
Let me shake her hand
Hair as black as leather
And fresh from Never Neverland
That pirate on the ship
Might have strapped holsters to her hips
But later in the shadows
She raised a tender finger
To his lips


Kristin Sweetland: vocals, acoustic guitar
George Koller: double bass
Ken Whiteley: accordion
Anne Lindsay: violin
Roman Borys: cello

La Fin du Monde

Written By: Kristin Sweetland

Montreal, Quebec
August, 2006

I’m at the top of the majestic clocktower at the end of Montreal’s old pier. I am not alone. There’s a man standing, looking out the west-facing window holding a briefcase and looking very nervous. I ask him what he’s doing. He looks at me and trembles. I look at him, I look at the briefcase, and then I look at the clock. It’s one minute to the hour. I think to myself, if anything’s gonna blow, it’s gonna be now. My life flashes —is it all about to end? I close my eyes and envision myself wrestling the man for the briefcase, seizing it, then throwing it out over water just in time for it to explode in mid-air . . . The clock strikes and —Nothing! The man and I look at each other. I walk away. It may sound cliché, but all I truly wish for is the power to save the world one day.

(“La Fin du Monde” means “The End of the World.”)

La la la la la
La la la la la
La la la la la fin du monde (x 2)

One day when the end has come
By plague or a kill-shot sun
No Y2K déjà vu

Take me to the final show
Give me wings and let me go
High as only I could fly to

La la la la la
La la la la la
La la la la la fin du monde (x 2)

Love fiercely like it won’t last
Go boldly and don’t look back
Say fare thee well and adieu

Imagine a symphony
In glorious harmony
Four horsemen come unto you

La la la la la
La la la la la
La la la la la fin du monde ( x 4)

Kristin Sweetland: vocals, electric guitar
George Koller: double bass
Paul Brennan: drums
Ken Whiteley: accordion, harmony vocals
Roman Borys: cello
Ernie Tollar: clarinet
Stephen Fearing: harmony vocals
Suzie Vinnick: harmony vocals

Battle Hymn

Written By: Kristin Sweetland

All gather round, it has finally begun
Over the roar of a thirty pound gun
Down through the valley we follow the road
Golden the sun on our blue velvet coats

Once, twice, three times they call
Cavalry ride and the battery roll
They say either way we'll be heroes by dawn
Godspeed everyone

Singing Gloria… Gloria…

Under the ceiling of shot and shell
I bang the drum slowly, they rebel yell
Trumpets they blow as the Brigadier comes
We all sing the Battle Cry Freedom

Once twice three times they sound
Darker the night the more crimson the ground
Out on the hillside so many young lay
Called to an early grave

Singing Gloria… Gloria…

In thick air of morning I watch it alone
Smitten by thunderbolts, coatsleeves and bones
President said that tomorrow we'll know
Got the wolf by the ears and we can't let him go

In the name of our lord
Star, stripe, saber and sword
Never remember and never we learn
Towers burn

Singing Gloria… Gloria…

Kristin Sweetland: acoustic guitar, vocals
Stephen Fearing: vocals
George Koller: fretless bass
Davide Direnzo: drums
Roman Borys: cello
Sarah McElcheran: trumpet

Hotel Esmeralda

Written By: Kristin Sweetland

Paris, France
May, 2005

It’s too early for cathedral bells to be ringing and I get up to close my hotel window that looks down towards Notre Dame de Paris. I had a glorious and very-late night in the basement of a small French club full of gypsy flamenco guitar players and beret-clad crooners. Fell asleep after sunrise and dreamt I was driving through the Arizona desert in my old van Esmeralda. The last time I travelled through there I got caught in a storm so bad I was nearly swept off the side of the highway. I pulled over for the night at the first motel I could find, and soon wondered if that had actually been a good idea after all . . .

Rainstorm west of Winslow, Arizona
Think I’m gonna take it slow
Put my hair up, light a cigarillo
Listen to flamenco on the radio

Hearts they are breaking
As he plays an old guitar
Please don’t leave me
Mi amor

Flash flood warning, better not be driving
Weather man is saying so
Sign says “Stay at Hotel Esmeralda
Thirty dollar rooms and we have HBO”


Rooms are clean, I’m lucky number 13
Guess I should have known
One lamp blinks and there’s a dripping sink
I’d better close the blinds or I’ll put on a show

I have a secret
I did it all for love
Dreaming of the one that I
Should not be dreaming of

Room 14, a drunken couple screaming
I don’t wanna know
Door slams, it’s the last time that she’ll see him
Till he’s found on some dark road to Mexico


There’s something coming off the desert
How those strange winds blow
I think we’re in for nasty weather

Howling winds without me and within
Just won’t seem to go
I can’t sleep, I don’t think I can eat
La Dama de Tequila is simpatico

Old movie on TV
I’ve seen this one before
Quasimodo’s wailing
As they haul her off for ever more


Kristin Sweetland: vocals, electric guitars
Jorge Miguel: flamenco guitar
George Koller: double bass
Paul Brennan: drums
Ken Whiteley: Hammond organ, harmony vocals
Suzie Vinnick: harmony vocals

Three Pipe Night

Written By: Kristin Sweetland

Amsterdam, Netherlands
May, 2005

It’s my birthday and I’ve decided to celebrate in style. Have been wandering along the Amsterdam canals all day taking in the beautiful scenery. A man in front of me drops an armful of books and a carton of strawberries onto the sidewalk. I help him and he gives me a book, some strawberries and buys me a bottle of birthday champagne as a reward. I take “The Illustrated Sherlock Holmes” and my decadent libation to a nearby bridge and sit. Drinking in the mystery, I remember when I was young how badly I wanted to grow up to become a detective. I read on, and it seems our Mr. Holmes has found himself a rather vexing case to contemplate. These very difficult problems he would refer to as a “three pipe problem” —one that would take him all night, and at least three pipes to solve— the dusk comes, the moon rises, and the mysterious night presses on . . .

Kristin Sweetland: Hammertone guitar
George Koller: double bass
Ernie Tollar: pennywhistle
Ben Grossman: udu


Own Sweet Time, 2007
Root, Heart & Crown, 2002
Self-Titled EP, 2000
The Last Days of Harvesting Sand 1998