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McGraff debuts children's book

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Local singer/songwriter Tia McGraff has penned a children's book entitled 'Jake the Road Dawg'. Contributed Photo

Local singer/songwriter Tia McGraff has penned a children's book entitled 'Jake the Road Dawg'. Contributed Photo

SIMCOE  - 

When Tia McGraff puts pen to paper, it's usually with the intention of adding another song to her extensive library.

As the calendar turned to 2017 though, the Port Dover Americana/country artist took on a different project.

“It was always on my bucket list to write a children's book,” said McGraff, who toyed with the idea for years.

“(But) as a writer, I knew that you have to wait until you get that inspiration of what you actually want to say and how you want to say it.”

Just after Christmas last year, McGraff said she was burnt out and didn't much feel like writing songs. Her husband and longtime collaborator Tommy Parham suggested she try working on a story instead.

That's when McGraff got to work, and she didn't have to look far for a main character.

Before McGraff and Parham settled in Norfolk they lived in Nashville, where they rescued a dog named Jake. Their “beautiful boy” - a husky/Australian shepherd cross - accompanied them to shows across North America, and those travels are now chronicled in 'Jake the Road Dawg'.

“We've got all these stories, for one example there's a rest area in New Mexico that we stop at and they have this rooster there – they've even got his picture on the wall - he's the mascot,” McGraff explained. “In my book, I incorporate this rooster but it's through Jake's eyes - it's life as a musician on the road but through the road dog's eyes.”

The self-published story touches on subjects like making friends, overcoming shyness and adjusting to a new home. McGraff has also written three songs for a CD that comes along with the book.

“I'm hoping that it helps kids find their own uniqueness,” McGraff said. “But also introduce them to music as well.”

While she may be a published author now, McGraff has no plans to abandon her music career. She and Parham recently attended The Josie Music Awards in Nashville. Established by radio personality Josie Passantino, the event honours independent musicians from around the world. McGraff was nominated for Americana Folk/Bluegrass Artist of the Year.

“It was really fantastic,” McGraff said. “We didn't win, but we were just really blessed to be nominated and to see how many other artists there are out there like us keeping on independently – we fund ourselves, we book our own tours, our own gigs.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com