By Mike Dunn
CALGARY – A decade is forever in rock n’ roll. Victoria singer-songwriter Steven Bowers took a break from performing and touring after his last record, 2011’s Beothuk Words, to support his wife as she finished her degree and took on contract work, travelling across the country from their home in St. John’s. While Bowers had built a modest career in Eastern Canada, his wife’s professional fulfillment was important to him and he moved along with her across the country.
“I started this record about five years ago,” says Bowers, “and it wasn’t just like, going in and cranking out a record in three weeks. I picked up some home recording gear, and I recorded my own vocals, piano, and guitar at home, and send them back to Jason (Mingo, producer) in Halifax. He and his wife, Meaghan Smith would add parts and send them back, and then I finished it up with Colin Stewart out here on the Island.”
The result, Elk Island Park, is a lush indie rock record that marks something of a progression from Bowers’ early records. Where Beothuk Words and 2009’s Homing were more instrumentally spare, Elk Island Park is more expansive, with layers of atmospheric instrumentation enveloping Bowers’ spare guitar and piano compositions.
Through his travels, Bowers found work with iHuman in Edmonton, a youth society that allows at-risk kids to drop in and create things for free, rather than being out on the street.
“I think that working with all these young, creative kids had something to do with me wanting to finish the record,” says Bowers, “They come in, and they’re so engaged and grateful to have this musical space, and they’d come in for eight hours at a time to create these great musical pieces. Being in that environment where there’s a music studio, an art studio, a fashion studio, and seeing all these kids come in to work and create, as a 36 year old guy, it really energized me creatively. I was lucky that the work allowed me to stay connected to creation in that way.”
Steven Bowers will be touring from St. John’s back to Vancouver Island throughout March. He’s performing at The Ironwood in Calgary on March 17, and at The Aviary in Edmonton on March 19.St. John, Steven Bowers, The Aviary, The Ironwood