By Julijana Capone
CALGARY — In many ways, Beauty Is So Common, the latest release of Slow Leaves (a.k.a. the project of singer-songwriter Grant Davidson), is the culmination of big risks both personally and professionally.
Two years ago, Davidson was balancing a day job, a family and a dream to focus on music full-time when he decided to take the plunge.
“I was doing a job that I didn’t love, and just sort of felt like I was rotting on the inside,” says Davidson over the phone from Winnipeg. “It just felt like it was time to take a risk…I have a wife and a son, so it wasn’t just me that was taking the risk, it was all of us.”
Though a difficult decision, the wager has certainly paid off creatively. Beauty Is So Common, the follow-up to 2011’s Dust and Violets, perfectly melds warm ‘70s-hued folk with pop-drenched harmony—a sound honed alongside producer Rusty Matyas (member of Imaginary Cities, and now the Sheepdogs).
As the story goes, Davidson wrote a letter to Matyas asking him to produce his album after hearing, and being impressed by, the production on Imaginary Cities’ soul-pop debut Temporary Resident.
“We started out as total strangers and we really hit it off right away,” says Davidson. “I really felt like we had something special in the way that we worked together. Some of my favourite things on the album are things that we tossed back and forth and sort of shaped—ideas that came out of both of us being in the same room.”
Having found a kindred musical spirit in Matyas, that friendship would eventually open the door to collaborations with other well-known Winnipeg musicians.
Davidson now plays regularly with Weakerthans drummer Jason Tait and violinist Julie Penner (also Tait’s wife), along with bassist Rej Ricard of The Telepathic Butterflies, who will also play with Davidson and Damon Mitchell (of The New Meanies) as a three-piece during his Calgary stint in March.
“I don’t want to sound like a lone wolf, but I’ve never really been, or at least I’ve never felt like I was, part of a scene, which is probably to the detriment of my career,” he admits.
And that sense of honesty and reluctance to fit inside one particular box are not lost on his introspective songwriting.
“The closest I can get to something that I truly feel is honest, then the more pure or satisfied I am with what I am singing,” he says.
Slow Leaves performs at Broken City on March 20th, and Wine-Ohs on April 23rd.AB, Alberta, Broken City, Slow Leaves, Wine-Ohs