In conversation with Miranda Mulholland; Gravenhurst's 2020 JUNO Award nominee - Muskoka Post

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Agatha Farmer

On Jan. 28 Gravenhurst's Miranda Mulholland sent a tweet announcing to the world that she had just been nominated for the JUNOS. The long time folk music performer wrote;

"Holy Smokes! What incredible company to be in! So massively honoured!"

Mulholland's album By Appointment or Chance was nominated in the Traditional Roots Album of the Year category. Not bad placement for an album Mulholland wasn't sure she even wanted to submit. Admittedly she said she was surprised by the nod.

"I've played on so many albums over the years and I've been to the Juno's a number of times. Bands I know have gotten nominations but it's never been me and I never thought it would be," she said.

Miranda's roots in Muskoka run deep, her great great grandfather Charles Mickel was a former Gravenhurst mayor and it was Mickel who had commissioned the build of the Gravenhurst Opera House. The love of performance art seems to be a family trait. Mulholland's family still has a cottage on Gull Lake but she was raised in Guelph. Her Irish ancestry, however, inspired her love of folk music.

As a child she played classical violin and took classical singing until the day she purchased her first CD and awakened her passion for fiddling and the folk genre.

"My very first CD that I bought was a fiddling CD by Natalie MacMaster which is crazy because she is in the same category!"

Mulholland said that while she enjoyed classical violin unfortunately while performing classical music she would get "the worst stage fright." She thinks this stemmed from being too focused on "performing" and when she made the change to folk music her "collaborative" skills kicked in and she began working with bands. Over the last 20 years Mulholland has preformed with over 30 bands. Currently, she is a member of Harrow Fair, a duo with Andrew Penner of Sunparlour Players. She is also the founder of the Muskoka Music Festival which is in its fourth year in 2020.

"I joined a bunch of different bands over the years ... I started my professional career around the year 2000."

Her newest solo album is very folk based and the story of its conception is a very personal one to Mulholland.

"My dad was not well last year and we were scared. He is very internal, introverted, very British and he doesn't really express himself emotionally and he said to me 'Miranda I've been thinking a lot about your voice and that it has a really special quality I listen to other women's voices and they are beautiful but there is something about yours,' which was very personal for him because I've never heard him say anything like this," Mulholland recalls.

"He was encouraging me to do another solo album. It was just really lovely and personal and special and it planted a seed in my head."

Mulholland jokes that she recorded By Appointment or Chance while cat sitting for a friend in England.

"All these incredible musicians I work with and know came in for a week, stayed with me in this beautiful house, in this village and every morning we would have our breakfast and then we would go to our little cottage and we would record ... it was amazing and it was one of the best recording experiences of my life."

Mulholland is proud that her album was recorded almost entirely live which she said is "unusual these days." She admitted, however, to having reservations about submitting her new creation.

"I submitted it and I wasn't really going to do it actually but then my producer really loved this album and I felt like it would be a disservice if I didn't submit so I'm glad I did because we all felt that it was a special project."

Mulholland doesn't mind the wait till the March 15 JUNO Award ceremony she said as she can "hold on to Juno nominee for the rest of my life."

In the meantime she is excited to share that Gravenhurst will be the backdrop for her next project.

"Harrow Fair will be filming a music video at the Opera House on March 4, we are going to sell tickets and all the proceeds are going to Gravenhurst Against Poverty. We are going to shoot the video with everyone who comes and then we will also do a performance," said Mulholland.

To check out Miranda Mulholland's JUNO Award nominated album By Appointment or Chance visit her website at

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