Sarah McLachlan's "Laws of Illusion" traces familiar avenues toward healing ("Forgiveness") and hope ("Awakenings"). The native Canadian remedies last August's canceled Lilith Fair dates throughout Texas by returning with two songwriter pals to support the collection.
"I have some friends (in Austin), so I'm looking forward to some good Texan hospitality," she says. "I also have really fond memories of having a wicked tequila party at La Zona Rosa." McLachlan performs Wednesday at Austin Music Hall.
American-Statesman: Explain the album title, 'Laws of Illusion.'
Sarah McLachlan: When I was thinking about the themes of the record, the predominant ones were illusion and loss. I was talking to my producer (Pierre Marchand), who's French-Canadian, and I was throwing these words around. He said, "Laws of illusion?" (She laughs.) I said, "Oh, that's good!"
The message in 'Forgiveness' seems particularly close to heart.
Of course, everybody wants me to talk about (that song) because they assume it's about my ex-husband. I suppose it partially is, but it's more about that feeling of finding yourself on the edge where you just can't take any more. It's no longer good for you. You've known it for a long time, but you've had a really hard time letting go.
You've recently described your mind-set as 'euphoric.'
Ha! I wish I could maintain that! (She laughs.)
How does that feeling apply to the album's lyrical theme or the aftermath?
Oh, I don't know. I'm way past the record. I live pretty much in the moment, and I'm pretty happy right now. I wouldn't categorize myself as euphoric. That might be a bit crazy, but I had a lot of euphoric moments this summer on the road making music with people.
What was the greatest challenge of doing the Lilith Fair tour in today's economy?
Doing the Lilith Fair tour in today's economy. That was the biggest challenge. I think artists were still charging crazy amounts of money for guarantees, and because of that you saw a lot of people cancel whole tours. We came into that quagmire as well.
You lost money.
Yes, we lost money. It wasn't a success as far as the industry was concerned, but the people who came to the shows loved it. You know, these are valuable lessons from a business point of view. You go, "OK, we have to adjust for this. We came out unfocused and cocky and self-assured, and we can't do that anymore."
Folks were disappointed that you canceled the Austin date.
Oh, I was, too. We canceled all of Texas, which is one of the reasons you guys are our first stop coming on my own tour. But it beat the hell out of canceling the entire tour.
Brandi Carlile told us this year that attending Lilith really shaped her as an artist. How is it to have a fan join the tour?
It's incredibly satisfying. She's really wonderful and very eloquent. It was really profound to know that something I'd helped to create had helped shape the next generation of artists. Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland opened the first stage in Atlanta, I think, 11 or 12 years ago. They said seeing these women making music and doing what they love was really powerful for them. It's nice to know that we had some lasting effect.
Sarah McLachlan with Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St.
Information: 888-512-7469, austinmusichall.frontgatetickets.com