By Jodi Brak
CALGARY – After nearly a year of working with the newly minted organization The Prophets of Music, a non-profit artist mentorship program in Calgary, Brett McCrady is set to release his newest EP. Drifting Through the Ordinary is released on July 28.
McCrady has been working on the EP for close to two years, doing much of the writing and musical creation. Beginning in January 2017, he got to work with producer Scott Henderson, recording the five tracks at OCL Studios in the Prairies just outside of Calgary.
The result is a mixture of folk and pop that leans more heavily toward the folk side of things. Rich, full acoustic chords mix with biting blues guitar solos, punctuated by the distinct timbre of keys and saxophone, an instrument that’s a relatively rare and welcome sight in modern music. McCrady uses hooks and catchy melodies for that ‘catch,’ giving the songs an accessible pop element. By juxtaposing the upbeat feel with the slower, moodier, and more deliberate folk stylings, the solo artist has created a broad depth of tone.
Of 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.”
He adds, “My goal is to write catchy pop tunes that have musical and lyrical substance.”
Keeping with the traditions of folk music, McCrady includes a strong narrative element in many of his songs, telling a story or recreating a memory in poetic terms.
He explains, “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. The track “Wherever I Go” is an ode to my grandma who passed away in 2015, but it could also be interpreted in the context of a relationship. My grandma was an amazing pianist, so I wrote “Wherever I Go” to say that, wherever I go, her musical spirit lives on when I play my music.”
Though McCrady mostly wrote the material on the album, over the past year he has received enormous support from the Calgary based emerging artist program The Prophets of Music. The organization evolved from Zackariah and the Non-Profits, a tribute charity to honour the lives of Zackariah Rathwell and Josh Hunter (of Zackariah and the Prophets), and carry their love for music forward. In its seminal year in this interpretation, the organization selected three Alberta artists to provide support in the form of mentorship, artistic direction and, perhaps most importantly, time in the studio with acclaimed Canadian producers to record an EP. The first three artists to participate in the program were Brett McCrady, High Love, and The Ashley Hundred. 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 program.
“I feel so grateful to be a part of the Prophets of Music family,” says McCrady.
“The organization propelled my music to new heights and I gained a great amount of knowledge throughout the process.”
He finishes, “I know that regardless of where my musical journey takes me, they will have my back and support my endeavours.”
Brett McCrady releases his new EP Drifting Through the Ordinary on July 28. The release party show will take place August 4 at The Palomino Smokehouse & Bar (Calgary). Also check out our online premiere of his new single “Alien.”
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