Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taylor Mitchell

Today, Canada lost a great young musician. Taylor Mitchell, of Toronto, was attacked by coyotes while hiking yesterday in Cape Breton, during an Atlantic Canadian tour. She passed away this morning in Halifax. Taylor was a 19-year old indie folk rock singer/songwriter, with an idealistic view on life and a love for music.

While you're reading this blog posting, open up her MySpace page and listen to some of her songs:

Taylor was supposed to play in Sydney, Nova Scotia, this evening. Here's a link to an article explaining what happened: article

Toronto Singer-Songwriter Taylor Mitchell Attacked and Killed by Coyotes
10/28/2009 By Brock Thiessen

After just recently releasing her Exclaim!-recommended debut album, For Your Consideration, 19-year-old Toronto folk singer Taylor Mitchell has died after being attacked by two coyotes in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

On Tuesday afternoon (October 27), Mitchell was hiking on the park’s Skyline Trail when the two animals attacked her. According to the Toronto Star, another hiker nearby heard Mitchell’s cries for help and called 911.

Mitchell was airlifted to Halifax in critical condition and died early this morning.

"I spoke to her mother late last night and at one point we thought she was stable," manager Lisa Weitz told the Star, "but she had lost too much blood."

An RCMP officer reportedly shot and killed one coyote overnight but officials are still looking for the second.

Mitchell was in the midst of an East coast tour and was scheduled to perform tonight in Sydney, NS. "She had a small break and [she] wanted to go hiking," said Weitz.

While coyotes attacks are rare, the popular Skyline Trail has been closed and barricaded since the incident.

This was a really ironic incident for me. The previous night, I had been re-learning the chords and lyrics to a hit by another Canadian singer, Joni Mitchell. It was an old song that Joni wrote in the 1970's, called "Coyote." Check out the "Last Waltz" concert by The Band, one of the best Canadian music films ever - I wonder if Taylor ever saw it, since she had listed Joni Mitchell and The Band and several other performers from that concert in her favorite influences. I had even changed my Facebook status, just hours before this incident, to mention the first few lines of that song, "no regrets Coyote ..." I've often worked close to coyotes (and wolves) in my forestry job, and the thought that a couple of these animals could act like this is a grim reminder that you can never know what to expect from wild animals.

Taylor played in my hometown of Sackville, New Brunswick, several days ago. She didn't have a big following yet, but she had big dreams. It's tragic that her goals of reaching out to a bigger audience have been realized at the end of her life, without her knowledge.

I hope a lot of Canadian musicians will see this post and share it on their own facebook pages and blogs. Cut and paste, if you want. Despite the tragedy, I think Taylor would have been happy to know that at least her music will, for a brief time, reach a much wider audience than she might have expected.

- Jonathan Clark
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada

ETA: October 30th article on CNN: