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Open mic music a creative outlet for Paquet

Photo by Jax Delisle

Masha Scheele

The Old Grind has been a significant creative outlet for Alice Paquet, and on May 11 she returns to the coffee shop for Siren Sessions; celebrating women in music.

“I have two or three, I think three, originals I decided on. And then four covers – a Brandi Carlile song, a Janis Joplin song…” Paquet trailed off as she talked about her setlist, which according to her, is subject to change at any moment.

Paquet has been writing original music since she was 18 years old, which she performs locally at various events in Hinton and open mic nights.

“People who know me in town know the one that I wrote, most people call it the Unicorn song. I haven’t technically named it yet but it’s pretty silly and people like it,” she said.

Paquet started playing guitar when she was 12 years old and is a lifelong singer, but she didn’t start performing consistently until she moved to Hinton three years ago.

“I did a couple of open mics throughout the years, but when I moved here three years ago I really started to try to get out there,” she stated.

“The open mics at the Legion and Masters will kind of ebb and flow. The nice thing about The Old Grind is, outside of the summer months, they always have theirs every (first) Friday. The consistency is really nice,” she explained.

Soundman Bob Roach has been the driving force behind the open mic nights and is also organizing Siren Sessions. His goal is to provide a safe environment for artists to learn their craft.

“Bob is pretty good. He’ll give you a signal if you’re running too late or give you the thumbs up if you can play a couple more,” said Paquet.

Paquet also added that although she has seen some of the other Siren Sessions performers play in Hinton, there will be some new faces on stage that night.

“I know Kara [Lazorek] has a very sultry voice and Stacy [Renard] has really beautiful piano playing,” she added.

Besides music, Paquet works full-time for Bighorn Wildlife Technologies Ltd. as a GS analyst and a field technician.

“I do a lot of science, a little computer work and it’s very right-brain dominated,” she said.

Music is something that helps Paquet balance her life as it provides a creative outlet, she said.

“Me and my partner just purchased a house last year and got a dog, so we’re busy people. I don’t always afford as much time as I’d like to on my guitar playing. As much as I would like to say, ‘yea, I’d play any show I possibly can’, it’s not always realistic time-wise. But any time I have a chance, I try to get on it,” she said.

Paquet also performed at the Föhn Festival in 2018, played during YRAF’s two Valentine’s Day concerts in 2018 and 2019, and provided background music for the ALS walks two years in a row.

Through her experience in Hinton’s music scene she was fortunate to meet a lot of local musicians who support and help her as she progresses as an artist.

“I know of Dave [Martineau] – I know he has a recording studio in Brule and then through the Valentine’s Day concert I met a young producer who works out of Edson, so there does seem to be the opportunity [to record]. I just haven’t really sought it out yet,” she stated.

Other performers featured at Siren Sessions include Kara Lazorek, Sydney Waddel, Mary Lee Bird, Cristin Bostrom, Deanna & Jen Henderson and Stacy & Jessa Renard. Siren Sessions starts at 5 pm and proceeds go to the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women (YES) childcare program.