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Big Little Lions release concept album ahead of Penticton show

The duo will be in Penticton on Aug. 4 at the Dream Cafe
Big Little Lions - the popular roots duo of Paul Otten and Helen Austin - will be touring in support of their new album AMPM. Photo via

For two people who live 2,600 miles apart, Big Little Lions members Helen Austin and Paul Otten certainly keep busy.

Austin lives in Royston, on Vancouver Island while Otten resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

And yet their duo, Big Little Lions, produces music at an amazing rate.

Their new album, AMPM, is the eighth BLL album in the past eight years.

“The concept is ‘a day in the life,”’ said Austin. “Since COIVD, Paul and I, and Jenny and Trevor (spouses) have done a snack and chat (Zoom-style meeting) every week. So in those ‘snack and chats’ we have come up with all sorts of ideas and after the last album, Paul suggested a concept album. In that first conversation, we came up with a title, the theme, and about six of the song titles. That’s how our brains work. Once we get going, we just snap ideas back and forth so fast.

“This album, a lot of my mental health stuff is on it, which wasn’t intentional at the time… when Paul first suggested the title, AMPM, sort of ‘morning to night’ then we started thinking about things that are very personal to us.

Among the songs on AMPM include such catchy titles as Oh It’s You Again, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, After Midnight Here, and When You’re Right, You’re Right, as well as previously released singles Worth The Time, Why Won’t My Brain Stop and Nearly Human.

“The first song, Oh It’s You Again, when we are out on tour, every morning, when we first see each other, we look at each other in that sort of Seinfeld/Newman kind of way and think ‘Oh. It’s you again.’ But the song ends up being really about life’s struggles with accepting who you are.

Then another one, Paul is always saying things like ‘when you’re right, you’re right’ so that becomes another one. That song sone is more about how things are at the end of the day… dance around the kitchen and let’s just kind of relax. So hopefully it’s (relatable as) the common experience of going through your life.”

Austin said that while she and Paul are the musicians, the contributions to the band and the support they receive from Trevor and Jenny is key to their success.

“I can’t believe how lucky we are - we are such a good team, the four of us,” said Austin.“They are good at not only being supportive but also at having good ideas… everybody recognizes their place in the two couples. In fact, we all just went on holidays for a month. We went to Europe. We were going to try and tour, but it’s logistically just too hard, so we just went on holidays together and had a blast.”

The upcoming tour in support of AMPM is a quick jaunt to some of BLL’s favourite stops, including Campbell River, Courtenay, and Penticton.

“We just love the Dream Cafe in Penticton - it was actually the last place we played before COVID, and the second place we played once we started (touring) again,” said Austin. “It’s such a cool venue.”

The nine-gig tour is the perfect length for the duo.

“Unless the four of us are travelling together, we won’t do any more than two weeks away - it’s just not good for relationships to be away from home any longer,” said Austin.

The tour will include “five or six” songs from AMPM, as well as some of their other favourites. “And we will likely throw in some Simon and Garfunkel stuff, because it just gives everyone a chance to hear something they know.”

(Big Little Lions did a Simon and Garfunkel tribute tour last year.)

Dates for the AMPM B.C. tour are as follows:

Thursday, July 27 - Nanoose Bay - Tin Roof Music Barr

Friday, July 28 - Campbell River - Spirit Square*

Saturday, July 29 - Victoria - East Plaza*

Sunday, July 30 - Cumberland - House Concert

Tuesday, Aug. 1 - Victoria - Cameron Bandshell*

Wednesday, Aug. 2 - Brentwood - Music in the Park*

Thursday, Aug. 3 - Bowen Island - Tir-Na-Nog Theatre

Friday, Aug. 4 - Penticton - Dream Cafe

Saturday, Aug. 5 - West Vancouver - Harmony Arts Festival*

For ticket information on the shows, visit

* denotes free concert.

ALSO: Vancouver Island pop star Lauren Spencer-Smith releases album, starts world tour

Terry Farrell

About the Author: Terry Farrell

Terry returned to Black Press in 2014, after seven years at a daily publication in Alberta. He brings 14 years of editorial experience to Comox Valley Record...
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