London calling: Baby boy changes everything for folk duo 100 mile house

MacKay, originally from Edmonton, met Stone in 2003 in Toronto. Stone was set to play a gig, and MacKay showed up. Stone asked her to join him on stage and they’ve been together ever since.

Edmonton Music Prize nominees able to adjust after their son was born

Edmonton-based folk band 100 mile house is one of the finalists for the 2017 Edmonton Music Prize. (Jessica Fern Facette/Supplied)

The finalists for the 2017 Edmonton Music Prize have been announced. CBC's Radio Active is talking to each of the three finalists to discuss their breakthrough year.​

Denise MacKay and Peter Stone's fourth album,  Hiraeth, is a Welsh word with no English translation. For the couple, who make up Edmonton folk band 100 mile house, it means "a sense of nostalgia and longing for a place or person that may never have existed," according to the biography on their web site. 

The person they longed for was a child, and the album, released in late 2016, helps document the challenges they faced.

But when they found out they were a picked as a finalist for the 2017 Edmonton Music Prize, they were already celebrating their son London's three-month birthday. The nomination was just icing on the birthday cake.

MacKay, originally from Edmonton, and Stone, from the U.K., first met in 2003 in Toronto. Stone was set to play a gig, and MacKay showed up, thinking it was an open-mic night. Stone asked her to join him on stage and they've been together ever since.

But their lives have changed dramatically since London was born.

"A few people have joked [and asked if] we are going to write happy songs now instead of more melancholy stuff," Stone told CBC's Radio Active.

Songs on their first four albums pulled on heartstrings you didn't know existed. But there are greater themes woven throughout their latest record.

"Even the sadder songs have an element of hope," Stone said.

'Everyone wants to hold the baby'

But it's not just their outlook on life that may have changed since their baby was born. Logistically, touring while taking care of a newborn can be difficult.

With the band set to tour in February, including two weeks in Saskatchewan. they were faced with the tough task of finding a babysitter willing to make the travel commitment. But after getting in contact with various venues, they seem to have found a solution.

"As soon as we get in touch with venues, most of them are like, 'There are, like, 20 people here that want to hold your baby, so it's fine,' " Stone said. "Everyone wants to hold the baby, apparently."

They've even got massive headphones for London to make sure he's comfortable at a venue.

The band is scheduled to play a few festivals this summer — with most of the logistics to be determined — and plan on recording a new record at the end of the year.

Stone said he's not sure exactly what the new record will sound like.

But with his son now in the picture, Stone said he's sure of one thing: he and MacKay are fortunate to be able to continue their careers as musicians, even with a new member of the family.

"We're pretty lucky that we can continue to do what we do," Stone said. "We don't really have to step or slow down."

Peter Stone and Denise MacKay are hoping to record their next record at the end of 2018. (Jessica Fern Facette/Supplied)

With files from Sandra Sperounes