By Kennedy Pawluk
EDMONTON – The story of St. Arnaud is one of resiliency through tragedy.
For many years, Ian St. Arnaud led the beautiful, rich indie-folk project North of Here as their lead songwriter and front-person. The band released their debut Make Hay While the Sun Shines in November 2015, and was a favourite of the Western Canadian festival circuit. Sadly, they abruptly came to a tragic end in October of 2017 when bassist Luke Jansen was fatally struck by a Light Rail Transit train while out on a morning run.
“We spent the morning together. I had to go to class so we said ‘Okay, see you later.’ I told him I had a new song to show you tonight,” remembers St. Arnaud.
Later that afternoon, St. Arnaud saw an article about a young man who had been struck by a train earlier that day, right on the edge of the neighbourhood where they lived. Realizing he hadn’t heard from Jansen all day (which was quite unusual), he spent the remainder of the day calling everyone, including the police, to find out the whereabouts of his best friend. Eventually, St. Arnaud called Jansen’s parents to learn the police had just arrived to tell them the news that their son had passed away.
Justifiably, it took months for the devastated St. Arnaud to even think about playing music again.
The following spring, he decided it was time. Armed with new songs lyrically focusing on his recent loss and the value of resiliency, along with tracks that were original slated for the follow-up album by North of Here, St. Aranud set to work. Then, after months of preparation, he experienced another trial: a harrowing accidental overdose after a pharmacist provided him with the wrong medication.
“It gave me another, in my opinion, unnecessary dosage of gratefulness for my life,” he glibly suggests.
In the face of such hardship, St. Arnaud has emerged with something beautiful. Paring his raw, understated vocals with a Rhodes piano and 8-stringed mandolin, he recorded The Cost of Living alongside producer/engineer Graham Lessard (Basia Bulat, Timber Timbre). Out in late 2018, we’ll hear the first songs from the release in August.
St. Arnaud’s debut The Cost Of Living will be out in late 2018. Advance singles “Darkhorse” and “Morning Dreamers” will be available August 3 and August 30, respectively. Check out St. Arnaud on Facebook for info on summer datesDarkhorse, Morning Dreamers, St. Arnaud, The Cost Of Living