A Canadian signature sound...
How Do You Describe Your Music?
TM I often joke that I'm like tofu - I take on the flavor of whatever else is around me.
I have classical training but my specialty is North American Fiddle Music, with an emphasis on Cape Breton, Metis, French Canadian, B.C., Old Time and Cajun. I don't play anything "authentically", so it's a bit of a mishmash of all of the above and whatever I happen to be listening to that week.
Whats Your Latest Project?
TM My husband and I have a wonderful new project together called The Stacks. Andy is a phenomenal guitar player, singer and songwriter with a deep love and respect for the Blues. We have an absolute blast together. Our EP should be out by August!
Do You Play More Then One Instrument? Do You Recommend That?
TM I do play a few instruments - guitar, mandolin, foot percussion (Swan Percussion makes these wonderful "Knock Boxes" that are fantastic for a situation where you need that bottom end, that support - I highly recommend them to anyone looking to expand their sound).
I played piano as a child, and I think each instrument has been helpful in my understanding of music, but I would encourage someone to get a real foundation in one instrument before branching out too much. With fiddle, I'd absolutely recommend that regardless of your focus (classical or fiddle), you spend a period of time taking lessons from both teachers, ideally one each a week. The classical will give you the foundation, the technique, and the fiddle will loosen you up & work your ear.
Having said that, my good friend Adrian Dolan has played multiple instruments since he was quite young and is an absolute genius on all of them.
Who Are Some Other Players You've Enjoyed Collaborating With?
TM One of the most wonderful experiences I've had was when The Duhks toured briefly with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. They were kind enough to invite me up onstage with them and I can still remember the feeling of walking onto the stage - it was like swimming in an ocean of "yes". There were no mistakes, no wrong moves to make. They were so gracious and present. I felt my level of musicianship lift off into uncharted territory for those moments and experienced an unparalleled freedom. I'm now constantly seeking ways to create that vibe with everyone I play with.
Who would you like to play with that you haven't?
TM Oh, tons of people! My friend Jeff Coffin joined the Dave Matthews Band, and I would love to feel what it feels like to collaborate in that group.
I'd love to study with Bobby McFerrin. He gives a course at the Omega Institute, which is near my home, and I'm saving up to go take it!
Where Has Been One of Your Favorite Places to Perform?
TM I love Telluride, CO, Live Oak, FL, Raleigh, NC...Tonder, Denmark, Woodford, Australia, Winnipeg, MB, Victoria, BC...
TM L.R. Baggs has been a godsend to me over the years. They've supported me for over a decade now, and I love the company. I visited their factory once and enjoyed their vibe tremendously. They treat their employees well and the CEO and founder is actively involved in developing their new products.
Who do you like to listen to?
TM I try and stay open to as much as possible - I often enjoy hearing what my bandmates are into - they often introduce me to new artists that I would never discover otherwise.
What Do You Recommend to an aspiring Improviser?
TM I would recommend reading "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner.
Relaxation techniques are a fantastic tool - learning to leave the past and any mistakes in the dust and focus on the moment are key. Be kind to yourself!
How Do You Overcome Self Conscience Playing?
TM Self-consciousness while playing comes in waves for me. I've learned how to prepare for a show - to prime my body and mind to perform as effectively as possible. You have to get your "game face" on. The inner critic will try to pipe up, but performance is not the time to go there. Your job in that moment is to perform, and it takes all of your awareness to do your best.
Any Other Tips On Performance Practices?
TM Yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, warming up, laughter are all great ways of opening yourself up for the joy of playing music.
Final thought: philosophy, quote...anything at all...