To me, music is both a solitary and collaborative pursuit.
When I write music, it’s usually by myself. I’ve tried cowriting a few times, but it’s never turned out the way I wanted it to, other than “Killing Time”, which I wrote with Kate Suhr.
I guess it’s easier to write a duet where there are two distinct voices. Two different people singing together.
I would say the majority of my performances have been as a solo artist. When I was working full time as a musician, most of the gigs I was able to get were solo shows. The pub singer thing can be incredibly draining. Trying to carry four hours of music as a solo guitarist and singer can leave your throat raw and your fingers sore. Worse than that, many of the pub singer gigs I’ve gotten weren’t really performances at all. I was more like a jukebox or a radio, and the crowd was ambivalent to what I was doing.
I knew in December of 2015 that I wanted to do a full length record. I’m lucky enough to have access to a great little project studio at the school where I work. I have access to excellent instruments, interfaces, microphones, etc. Initially, I decided I would play every instrument myself, record and produce everything. I thought that this would give me creative control, and the opportunity to make something great.
Oh how wrong I was.
I laid down the bed tracks, recorded scratch vocals, bass and then drums. From the moment I started listening to the playback, I knew that I needed something more.
Could I have done this myself? Sure, I’m a reasonably good drummer, guitarist and bassist, and I have produced other records myself in the past. But the results wouldn’t have been close at all to the final product coming out December 16th.
Alan Black absolutely killed it on the drums and the harmonica. He’s a veteran player who has been playing music for longer than I have been alive! Check him out here: http://www.alanblack.ca/
Sam Quinn was a member of “Rural Soul”, one of my old bands, and we have played many shows together. He’s an incredible bassist who brings so much to my songs.
These guys make me look a lot better than I actually am. So glad they are on “Better Off This Way”, and I look forward to sharing their work with all of you on December 16th!