Hamiltons honeyed songwriter Matthew de Zoete sorts through studying abroad, long-distance relationships, family histories of immigration and friends moving away on his album Across the Sea. Honing the skills of a farmer by day, musician by night, de Zoete is constantly evolving. I need to work on my tractor skills, he says. We live beside the family farm my wife manages with her father. Im alright for moving hay bales and clearing snow, but Im not so hot with the chisel-plow or cultivator. Aside from the tractor, Id like to improve my musicianship in terms of writing, playing and singing. With appearances by visual artist and songbird Julie Fader (of Sarah Harmer and Great Lake Swimmers) on the meta-melodic Sparkle Eyes, its hard to imagine such a soft voice away from his guitar, and out in the fields. When the mid-20s songwriter isnt helping out on the lawn with the in-laws, hes touring from Halifax to Hamilton. (SWC)Thursday at the Italian Cultural Centre, 8pm, $15-$20 (all-venue pass). Friday at FRED, $7-$20 (all-venue pass).