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(2023 - Fall/Winter Issue)


In the midst of yapping from a dog affectionately named Poppy, the vibe enveloping Jann Arden on this early summer day is pure spunk and energy—fuelled by infectious laughter Arden’s known for as she leans in to share some of her latest loves.

That’s easy. As one of Canada’s lauded singing treasures behind such hits as “Could I Be Your Girl” and “Insensitive,” Arden’s schedule’s been off the charts. She hosts a popular podcast, has been criss-crossing Canada on concert tours, has a new novel, The Bittlemores, out in November—and in between all this, Arden is taking time to sail one of Europe’s most thrilling rivers, the Douro.

Portugal’s fabled backdrop along the Douro River has become the next great sail for Arden, who’s no stranger to cruising. She’s previously been a ship’s godmother and is now partnering with Scenic Luxury  Cruises & Tours—her third with the luxury river cruise line—on an upcoming eight-day cruise this fall on the Scenic Azure.

DREAMSCAPES caught up with Jann Arden before her voyage.

DS: Eight Juno awards, 15 albums, 19 top 10 singles, a Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction, and several books—the list of accolades is impressive. Now you have the luxury Scenic River Cruise called “Delightful Douro with Jann Arden.”

JA: I’m so eager. I’ve never been to Portugal and I’m ecstatic.

DS: What is it about cruising?

JA: I can’t say how much it would never have crossed my mind to go on one but when I did my first European river cruise a few years ago it blew me away. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s spectacular. Watching the banks of these rivers drift by, the silence muted, the old buildings, the archaeology, the history, and especially that part of the world.

DS: Music and travel are the roots of storytelling.

JA: Being a travelling minstrel has not changed in the last 1,500 years. Musicians are skilled storytellers. They still grab their faithful band of fools, hop on their horses, buggies, or buses, and entertain. They go where people are—town to town. That’s the unchanged position of being a musician or actor.

DS: Do you remember your first family trip with your folks?

JA: Oh, very much. Since we’re in Southern Alberta, the cost-effective solution was to go to British Columbia, especially the Okanagan Valley, which is wine country now. We’d go to a place called Wood Lake, and they would rent this tiny little cabin, a one-bedroom. I remember having a little fishing rod with a floating bobble on it. I don’t think I ever caught anything. And just sitting at the end of the dock and the dairy bar, you could get a cone for 10 cents. It’s a happy memory.

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