After dazzling audiences with two releases in 2011, Toronto folk-roots outfit Graydon James & The Young Novelists are getting ready to launch their debut full-length studio record In The Year You Were Born next month.
The group is preparing for the release of the record by hitting the Maritimes for a series of eight shows. Their Moncton shows, Friday and Saturday at Plan B Lounge on St. George Street, will be in support of Prince Edward Island band Haunted Hearts.
The group’s new record follows up their four-song debut EP A Small Town Eulogy as well as a full-length live record, which the band recorded in Guelph, Ont. While a live record is usually reserved for artists with several albums to their credit, James says the band entered into their concert that night with no specific plans for the recording.
“What it really came down to was that the venue we were playing, the Dublin Street Church, was a great room and we simply figured that we should record the show regardless if the end result would be useable or not when it came to being released. When we went back and listened to the recording, we felt that it was a good performance and a good representation of the band so we went ahead and released it,” he says.
The time between the Nov. 2011 release of the group’s live record and next month’s In The Year You Were Born has seen the group undergo some personnel changes. Though some are inclined to see change as a bad thing, James admits that the line-up changes actually ended up serving the songs well.
“In the time between the live record and the making of our new album, we saw some band members leave while others joined,” he shares. “I believe the benefit to that is that bringing in these new voices ended up forcing us to take a step back and re-evaluate the songs in a way. No matter how long you are playing a song, I think that any artist strives to make it better so song arrangements inevitably ended up changing with the arrival of our new band members. To have these new ears interpret things a little differently than what we had been used to hearing was nice. I don’t know if the songs would end up sounding all that differently to people listening to the songs but within the band, we definitely noticed a difference.”
A letter carrier by day and a rock n’ roller by night, James says that once the group’s run of eight shows in Atlantic Canada wrap up, they will most likely be undertaking a series of “weekend warrior” tours to help allow the group’s members to remain gainfully employed.
“Remaining closer to home and playing places that are near Toronto will pretty much be a necessity,” he says.
It is somewhat fitting then that one of the group’s last hurrahs (so to speak) is in Atlantic Canada. Their current Maritime tour is the fourth time that the group has graced Atlantic Canada with their music. So what exactly keeps them coming back? The food? The beer? A combination of all of the above?
“If you’re a Toronto band playing shows in Toronto, it isn’t nearly as exciting as being a Toronto band playing shows in the Maritimes. It is much the same as it would be exciting for a band from Atlantic Canada heading up to Toronto to play.
“What we’ve found about playing shows on the east coast is that there is a very different energy about music and how Atlantic Canadians enjoy their music. It is enjoyable in so many different ways,” James continues.
“The last time we were in Halifax, we had played a house concert and decided to hit the town in efforts to find other places to play. And before the night was through, we had played five different sets of music over the course of three shows, just from us going in and asking bar owners for the opportunity to play. You wouldn’t be able to find that openness in Toronto; there is an acceptance of live music in the Maritimes that is unsurpassed in many ways.”
Article published in August 24, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript