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Janaya McCallum talks future of Jay & Jo

Updated: May 16, 2023

by Scott Roos

pics by Deanna Roos

In the wake of the enjoyable afternoon spent on the Trudel Family's farm this past Saturday, July 31st, many might be wondering, with Janaya McCallum (formerly Trudel) leaving for the North soon, what will become of critically acclaimed duo Jay & Jo? McCallum recently took the time to answer some of NSMZ's pressing questions about the Jamboree as well as her future plans.

"You almost don’t remember how healing it is to be around people and live music until it’s suddenly happening again," explained McCallum, "Our immediate family hasn’t even been able to play together much this year, never mind get to play with the load of talented friends and family who came to share their talents this weekend. Somehow our bodies remembered where those key changes were, who took what solo, and what harmony to jump in on. It was a lot of fun."

It was an event that might have seemed like a "send off" to some outsiders but to McCallum, the Trudels were just doing what the Trudels have always done: playing music and having fun.

"Honestly, I don’t believe that it’s an end of an era for music in our family. We have stood on the shoulders of music in our family for many generations, distance will never totally kill that. For sure, we haven’t been able to play as much together, but we make up for it when we do all convene again, and it’s magical," McCallum continued.

Throughout the day McCallum jammed along with many of the artists that were performing that day. Hopping in on fiddle or providing backing vocals and generally just having a good time. You can tell it's deeply imbedded in her upbringing. Music has obviously been a huge part of her life and will continue to be. Earlier this spring, McCallum announced that her and her husband were moving to the Northwest Territories but it's certain that this is not the end of the road for the Trudel Family or Jay & Jo.

"As for Jay & Jo, we are still busy with projects. This year so far, we have released a song with our friends The Johner Boys, sold out two shows at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre in May, and are now working on a Christmas album to be released this year. We have lived in different cities, provinces, and even countries for most of our time together as a duo, so we have had to learn how to keep creating and making content at a distance. This move up north doesn’t really change that a whole lot, save for live shows. We have prepared a couple things to release early next year and are already brainstorming about some possible Christmas shows when I am back south," said McCallum.

Jay & Jo's first Christmas album will release soon including a couple original tunes, a Joni Mitchell cover, and a few collaborations with some really amazing Canadian artists. It will be an 8 track album and they will be thrilled to share it when it's ready.

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