about 15 months ago i moved to montreal. it was a pretty big change from the 5 years in the country, a place i thought that i’d likely moved for good. i had a truck. an old skidoo. i was, if i’m being honest with myself, hiding out. i’ve always struggled with a grim estimation of things. but it started to feel like a hole being dug deep into cold, hard earth. aging. changing. some long nurtured fears become more and more absurd to water and carry. it was time to reevaluate what i was clinging to. what was it i loved? what was it that i was good at… even meant to do? i woke up in my country hideout feeling like i was checking out too early, doubling down on darkness instead of clinging to that sliver of light. even when my rational mind shouted for everything’s futility, the euphoria of connection and wonder in music never ever ceased. so i closed down that idyllic little refuge in the woods in favour of energy and work. i sold everything and moved to montreal. a city that had beguiled me since my first time there helping a high school girlfriend move to mcgill. i remember driving along sherbrooke in my parent’s toyota in awe of this strange glowing universe growing up from the ground. a city older than any i’d ever seen and effortlessly beautiful. of course i was 18 and had never been anywhere, but montreal seemed like another planet for a kid who’d grown up in rural ontario.
i’d always envied the montreal scene from afar. the dears ‘end of a hollywood bedtime story’ was a pivotal record for me that stirred thoughts of a sweaty, undulating sexual city heaving in summer. i reached out to murray lightburn, legendary frontman from ‘the dears’ to help me make a record and he agreed. i started to write. winter in montreal is a great place for hunkering down and getting to it. it’s dark and cold and those two things have a deliberate effect on your focus and inward communication. murray and i made a record. it took a bit. we had a fight or two. it was because we both really wanted to make something great so we had our knives out and never put them away. sleeping one eye up, we protected the flame. at the end of it all there was a record that knocked me on my ass. it was me in a way i hadn’t heard myself in a while. without all the window dressing. murray didn’t let me over decorate. i booked a tour in europe… i’d been avoiding going back because my ego was afraid to return without being famous there anymore. but people came out. singing every song. i booked a tour in australia. montreal started the fire again and i was replacing despair with duty. it’s not about ego or getting famous anymore. it’s about creating honest connection in a world that seeks to interrupt it. singing and writing feel strangely more pure and more political all at once. community and people. the importance of a song. the clouds of fear have always been there. as far back as i can remember. damn them. in the 80s it was reagan and gorbachev and rainy bus rides to school, looking out the window wondering when the bombs were going to drop. how, almost 40 years later, does fear still hold such enormous sway? i’m not saying i’ve mastered this… i doubt i ever will… this new record is a lot of looking back. remembering innocence. not lost, but misplaced. like keys. always there but sometimes hidden. this is where i’m plugging in. ugliness and depravity are always loudly carrying on. and it’s not that i choose not to listen, i do… beauty screams too, but it’s a quiet scream. we will still need a song. something i wrote so many years ago… certainly not as a battle cry but as a pleading attempt to remind myself to believe it. to reach past not caring and not engaging. to write and to sing in the face of the dull roar of ugliness and despair. i feel like i believe it more truly than ever at the moment. i’m grateful for my voice in this world… as small and insignificant as it may be. one tiny voice becomes a thousand. we are all one in the light. i’m so excited for you to hear the new songs. today i give you the first song. battlefords. i’m ever grateful for your ears and hearts. i’m ever grateful for these years together.