By Jodi Brak
CALGARY – After close to a year of working with The Prophets of Music, a non-profit artist mentorship program in Calgary, Brett McCrady is set to debut the first single from his upcoming EP, Drifting Through the Ordinary, on June 2.
McCrady has been working on the EP for close to 2 years, doing much of the writing and creation of the music himself. In January 2017, he set to work with producer Scott Henderson, recording the 5 tracks on Drifting Through the Ordinary at OCL Studios in the prairies just outside of Calgary.
His music is a mixture of folk and pop, though leaning a bit more heavily toward the folk side of things. Full, rich acoustic guitars mix with biting blues guitar solos, and it is all punctuated with the distinct sounds of keys and the saxophone, an instrument that is somewhat of a rare sight in modern music. While the musical makeup of the songs have distinct folk roots, McCrady uses hooks and catchy melodies to add a sort of pop feel at times, juxtaposing the upbeat pop feel with the slower, more deliberate folk stylings of his music.
On the upcoming EP, McCrady says “I want to take listeners on a musical journey complete with musical interludes to glue the songs together. A lot of the record was tracked live off-the-floor, so I collaborated with my musicians to give the songs room to breathe. I want to show listeners that pop music
doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure; my goal is to write catchy pop tunes that have musical depth”
Keeping with the traditions of folk music, however, McCrady includes a strong narrative element in many of his songs, telling a story or recreating a situation in poetic terms. This is true of the upcoming single, Alien, as well.
“Through the album, there’s a subtle overarching narrative that I always had in the back of my mind. Of course, a lot of my writing is based around relationships. The record serves to take listeners on a journey through a relationship,” he says. “On “Alien”, I’m falling for someone I shouldn’t fall for because I’m only human and the person is—seemingly—from another planet… in other words, way out of my league.”
The track opens with a lightly plucked guitar riff that would feel at home on a sunny beach, or a John Mayer record, before the lonely guitar is joined by ever-so-subtle ticks of the drum and muted rhythm. Though a slow build at first from lone guitar to a full band playing simultaneously, the energy explodes by the second chorus as keys, saxophone, harmonic backing vocals and electric guitar join in a straight up, driving 4-4 beat that carries it through to the bridge. The song then dips a bit in tempo before coming to a crashing final chorus and finishing with some subtle saxophone narrating McCrady’s final repeat of the chorus line.
Though the material on the album was written by McCrady himself, over the past year he has received enormous support from the Calgary based emerging artist program, The Prophets of Music. The organization selects three Alberta artists each year to provide support in the form of mentorship, legal and business advice, artistic direction and, perhaps most importantly, offers them time in the studio with acclaimed producers to record an EP. The first three artists to participate in the program were Brett McCrady, High Love and The Ashley Hundred, and as the organization goes into its second year the search is on for the next three Alberta groups or artists to take part in their Emerging Artist Scholarship program.
“I feel so grateful to be a part of the Prophets of Music family. The organization propelled my music to
new heights and I gained a great amount of knowledge throughout the process,” McCrady says. “I know that regardless of where my musical journey takes me, they will have my back and support my endeavours.”
McCrady will be releasing the new single, Alien, for download on June 2 as a teaser for what is to come on the upcoming EP, Drifting Through the Ordinary, which is set to release in July, with a public EP release party on august 4 at The Palomino. Give Alien a listen right now, and stay tuned at BrettMcCrady.com or on social media to follow his latest musical journey.Brett McCrady, Drifting Through the Ordinary, Prophets of Music Artist Showcase event, The Palace Theatre