Rodney DeCroo finding a connection to grief and then something better

Monday 29th, May 2017 / 16:29
By Heather Adamson

Photo by Rebecca Blissett

VANCOUVER – From the deepest place of sorrow and despair comes the new release from Vancouver’s timeless troubadour Rodney Decroo. After losing a longtime friend and neighbour to cancer who had been a major fixture in his life, DeCroo was left feeling at an emotional crossroads. “I have an incredible capacity for self-destruction,” explains DeCroo. “I knew I could go and get drunk or do heroin and tear down everything in my life that would destroy the memory of my friend, or I could pick up the guitar and get to work, so that’s what I did.”

DeCroo is now focused on ensuring his new music connects with audiences live as he plans his upcoming Canadian tour. “Touring is hard and exhausting,” says DeCroo. “Every tour is an odyssey. I come back different every time. Everything you think you know about yourself changes; it forces you to discover different things.” As he is busy with promotion and scheduling and interviews and social media posting, DeCroo acknowledges that there is a side to being a musician that is always straddling “borderline narcissistic.” “You have this part of yourself that is introspective and sensitive and vulnerable as you write and get lost in the process of creating. But then when it is finished, there is this other part of me that craves the attention and spotlight and recognition and I become deeply resentful when I don’t get it.” It is this raw honesty that is reflected in the songs shared on Old Tenement Man, an album that peels back the emotional layers of a man whose deep experiences of trauma keep leading him back to the one thing that keeps him sane: music. “I can get overwhelmed by things very easily, but when I get a guitar in my hand I just feel better. Music saved me because it provided a place I could put things I didn’t understand, and now, all these years later, it remains essential to my being as a person. Period.”

Rodney Decroo performs May 31 at The Cultch. Nightwood Editions is also launching DeCroo’s book “Next Door to the Butcher Shop” this same night.