British Columbia

H.E.R. Anonymously Hiding in Plain Site With Optimism

H.E.R. Anonymously Hiding in Plain Site With Optimism

By Jordan Yeager VANCOUVER – Cultivating and maintaining a public persona is a core element of modern life. In an…


Beatroute BC on Instagram

  • BeatRoute is excited to announce our 2017 Christmas party thathellip
  • Thanks to director  curator of thepolygongallery Reid Shier forhellip
  • A pioneer in the evolution of electronic music thegrainymustard caughthellip
  • VIDEO PREMIERE! Vancouver rock n roll basement dweller Eric Campbellhellip
  • WHY LISA WHY!? Email contestsbeatrouteca for your chance to winhellip
  • M For Montreal industry panel Views of the six howtomakeitintoronto
  • Full throttle rock n roll with partnerband at mformontreal2017
  • Had a great time with dearrouge at the JUNO Awardshellip
  • Silicon Valley star TJ Miller is a comedian with somehellip

Todd Stewart: Half the Harmony, Twice the Soul

Wednesday 18th, October 2017 / 12:48
By Liam Prost

In writing and recording, Stewart privledges feeling over precision.
By Keith Skrastins

CALGARY – With years spent in between Edmonton and Calgary’s rock scene in bands like Brocade, Todd Stewart found his calling with the recently crowned WCMA roots duo/group of the year, Northern Beauties. The Calgary-based six piece’s warm-hearted roots has found a comfort in its musical and lyrical largeness, even if it didn’t start that way.

Now, Todd Stewart is releasing his debut solo album, with an interest in the slow and the close. Stewart wrote the songs for Northern Beauties with the eye to maintaining harmony with singer/multi-instrumentalist Craig Aikman. With two singers, there is a pressure to craft sentiments general enough to apply to both, but writing for himself has given Stewart the freedom to sing on his own terms, stretching his range into places a harmony singer couldn’t sing above, and speak to his own life with a stark specificity. “I want to say what I want to say and not worry about what anyone’s going to feel about that” Stewart tells BeatRoute. “I had some stuff I wanted to record” Stewart attests, but he didn’t wanted to keep it small, and not necessarily get everyone involved who play an integral part in the Northern Beauties. “bands are like marriages,” in that you love everyone involved, but it also develops a pattern that defines it and prevents a single person’s identity from shining through.

With this solo release, Todd Stewart shaves back the generalities, exposing the raw edges. “everything in the Northern Beauties album is personal and real” for Stewart, but to give it the kind of relatability necessary to be able to have Craig Aikman also belt out the lyrics, it needed to be a little bit less specific. With room for optimism Stewart introduces his own flaws and failings inti the new EP, broaching relatability out of directness.

“Ordinary Love” is the first single, a “midtempo and fun” track about the commonality of feeling, and ”the one that people instantly forget about what they are doing and get into” whenever Stewart busts it out live. Most of the EP is fairly downtempo, but with a few sprightly moments, and even a fairly psychedelic detour on “Keep the Animals Dry.”

Texturally, the recording is mired in the aesthetic of traditionalism, as filtered through the lens of the everyday. A gentle shaker as the sprinkler going off on a tart fall morning with  brushed drums by Leon Power (Frazey Ford) as the rattle of children’s footsteps upstairs, carpeted by warm bass from Darren Paris (Frazey Ford).

Stewart’s intricate fingerpicking works slowly, working in complexity through negative space. There is a space for silence, where his devout lyrical phrases can percolate until washed by golden pedal steel by Matt Kelly (City & Colour), or plaintive harmonica.

In the writing and recording, the philosophy is, “let it feel good, and then walk away.” Stewart privileges feeling over precision, letting the small gaps and imperfections mirror the blemishes of his narratives and experiences. It’s a record that’s big on its smallness, and hits hard with its softness.

Todd Stewart’s self-titled EP is out in November.

, ,

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: is a member of Apple Music's Affiliate Program. This site collects commissions on purchases that our site's readers decide to make from Apple Music/iTunes affiliate embeds and hyperlinks provided in our posts.




Beatroute AB on Instagram

  • No one does it like sinzereofficial femmewavefest   mgrondinphoto
  • FRIDAY NOVEMBER 24  Last chance to get loose beforehellip
  • Check out our review of The Alberta Electronic Music Conferencehellip
  • hoodjoplin making everyone dance femmewavefest    mgrondinphoto
  • softlions all the way from San Diego for femmewavefest hellip
  • Headliner sammusmusic is closing out femmewavefest with a bang! hellip
  • Bunwitch tearing up the Legion femmewavefest   mgrondinphoto
  • I needed to detach and disconnect and nurture my soulhellip
  • We  slutprophet femmewavefest   mgrondinphoto