Moskaluke brings ‘Winter Wonderland’ to Prince Albert

Country music star Jess Moskaluke will perform at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Thursday, Dec. 14. -- Photo from the Jess Moskaluke Facebook page.

Few Saskatchewan musicians have accomplished as much as Jess Moskaluke over the past year.

The Juno Award-winning country music star released two albums, won two Saskatchewan Music Awards, and is in the middle of her latest tour, Winter Wonderland, which stops in Prince Albert on Wednesday.

 It’s made for a busy 12 months, but Moskaluke wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s been great, but that’s also kind of what touring in Canada looks like,” said Moskaluke during a phone call from Alberta, where she was performing before travelling east for gigs in North Battleford and Prince Albert. “There’s not a lot of time off and a lot of that time off is spent travelling to the next show.

“Luckily touring for the last 10 years has kind of prepared me for this, but I will say it’s a little bit different when you’re the headliner. I’ve been really cautious about my voice and my health, and that has luckily been good so far, knock on wood.”

Moskaluke released her most recent album, ‘Heartbreaker’, in September. The title track reached number 10 on the Canada country charts when it was released in May, and earned her the Singe of the Year award at the Saskatchewan Music Awards on Dec. 2.

Moskaluke was also named Country Music Artist of the Year, but couldn’t accept the award in person because she was performing in Regina the same night.

“It was really bittersweet, because I would have loved to be able to share that with the rest of my music peers in Saskatchewan,” she said. “It was still really, really awesome news and felt really good, just an extra little boost in the middle of tour, which was really nice.”

Moskaluke co-wrote ‘Heartbreaker’ with Emily Shackelton and Corey Crowder. She wanted to write about the challenges of being in a relationship with someone who’s still working through troubles created by their last one.

She also coming off her most recent tour, and wanted to write something a bit simpler to sing.

“I realized just how challenging every single one of my songs are, vocally, especially when we’re trying to carve out some vocal moments to breathe and shine in that way,” Moskaluke said. “I thought, ‘gosh, I don’t have a single song in my set that’s “easy to sing” so heartbreaker, believe it or not, was actually written to be that song that still drives and that people are still excited to hear … but is a little bit of active recovery for me vocally.”

Moskaluke’s Prince Albert performance will focus on songs from Christmas in a Small Town, the Christmas Album she released two years ago. She started thinking about doing a Christmas Tour after she released the album this year with two new songs, ‘Counting Down to Christmas’, an original she wrote herself, and White Christmas, one of her favourite traditional Christmas tunes.

“It (Counting Down to Christmas) is about the anticipation of waiting for Christmas,” Moskaluke said. “I think whether you’re a child or an adult, that exists. It just looks a little bit different when you’re an adult and I thought it was something I hadn’t really heard talked about in Christmas music quite yet.”

Moskaluke said she’s always enjoyed Christmas, especially Christmas music. She’s hoping that joy will rub off on people who attend her show in Prince Albert.

“It (Christmas music) just always seems to hit home,” she said.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been so nice to visually be able to see everyone getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s awesome, and hopefully we can do more of these in the future.”

Jess Moskaluke performs at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre on Thursday, Dec. 14. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.