Local nurse and paramedic Kathryn Jean released an album of songs after 40 years of musicianship this past weekend at an event at Oyster Bay Resort with the help of many in the local music scene. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River nurse and paramedic releases first album – after 40 years of trying

Kathryn Jean says advances in digital technology made what was a dream into a reality

Some things just take longer than others, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up on them.

Campbell River musician Kathryn Jean knows this better than most. She never gave up on her dream of releasing an album of her original music out into the world and as of this past Saturday, after 40 years of writing and recording her music, she has finally done it.

The album, “Sharing Stories,” was officially launched at Oyster Bay Resort Saturday, at an event featuring many local musicians who came together to congratulate the longtime Campbell River nurse and paramedic on her achievement.

“Music was always in my family,” Jean says, while local folk guitarist Doug Folkins strums away on the stage of the hall. “I started very young and started writing my own stuff in my teens thinking one day I’d like to record and make my songs public. Over the years I’ve had a few opportunities that slipped away and finally it all came together.”

She says it really took a major technology shift for it to happen. It used to be that you’d have to book a studio somewhere filled with tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of dollars worth of equipment in order to record a professional-sounding album, but with what she calls “the huge shift in affordable digital technology,” it’s become much more possible for people to do it themselves in small home-based studios like hers.

“It’s been such a journey,” she says. “As they say, life is a series of milestones, and this, for me, was the big milestone I wanted in my journey. But it’s also the start of another.”

That other journey is into the world of publishing. She has launched a publishing company called KJ Aberrations where she will produce CDs for local musicians, “and I’m working on a series of workbooks for special needs and ESL students.”

Where would a nurse and paramedic find the time to do all this?

“Well, let’s say that my gardening is certainly going to the wayside,” she says with a laugh.

The musicians gathered at the event in celebration were Roger Seldon, Roy Ashdown, Doug Folkins, and Jean’s own sister Gwendoline – a soprano currently living in Rome – was slated to sing an aria (if her voice was “feeling up to it”) before Jean and her band took the stage.

But don’t think she’s satisfied with having an album out in the world – after 40 years of trying.

“I’ve got lots more songs,” she says with a laugh. “I’ll end up doing a few more EPs and eventually collect enough songs for another CD, but for right now I’m going to work on these special needs and ESL books for a while.”