When acclaimed Newfoundland indie-rock band Hey Rosetta! takes the stage at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Sunday evening, there will be a new face amongst the band. Bassist Ron Hynes joins the group following the amicable departure of founding member Josh Ward.
“There is certainly no drama with Josh’s departure,” Hey Rosetta! vocalist-guitarist Tim Baker clarifies. “Being in a touring band is not always an easy thing, in fact, it’s a much tougher slog than many people think it is. For Josh, I think he had just arrived at a point in his life where it was time to begin writing a new chapter. We have nothing but respect for Josh and everything that we achieved together.”
While understandably lamenting Ward’s departure, Baker is quick to acknowledge the last decade has been kind to the group. Through a series of EPs and full-length releases including 2008’s Into Your Lungs…, Seeds (2011) and 2014’s Second Sight, Hey Rosetta! has been short-listed for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize while also bringing home several East Coast Music Awards along the way.
Given the somewhat intensive focus that the group has placed on its activities over the last decade, Baker says 2016 has been relatively relaxed for the band – not that he is complaining.
“We had the opportunity to play a bit around this year’s East Coast Music Awards, and also played a few festivals in the summer, but it has been relatively quiet for the band otherwise, which has been conducive to getting the creative process moving forward.”
With the lack of show activity in the Hey Rosetta! camp, Baker has managed to stay busy: In addition to performing the odd solo show, he took to organizing a series of songwriter circle events in his hometown of St. John’s. He was also commissioned to write a piece of music for a hometown children’s choir.
Somewhat expectedly, however, Baker confirms that Hey Rosetta! has been busy workshopping a host of new material. Asked if fans should anticipate the group embarking on a radically different musical direction from its previous work, Baker says it is too early to tell in which direction the band is heading.
“So far, our new songs are all over the map, but that is what I like most about this part of the job. Frankly, I am just as curious as everyone else to see what these songs will sound like in their final form. We’ve never been the kind of band to go into the studio with a specific plan on how we want a batch of songs to sound; it is the creative process that dictates that to us. Really, our biggest goal is just to grow as musicians and challenge ourselves to write material that we will look forward to playing every night.”
Baker shares the group anticipates recording their next studio effort over the upcoming winter with a fall 2017 release date currently being pencilled in. For the moment, however, the band is eagerly anticipating its return to concert stages in Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax and Charlottetown.
“We are just so grateful that people feel so strongly about our music that they continue to come out to see us play,” Baker says. “That audience reaction never fails to surprise us and humble us every night we are on stage.”
What: Hey Rosetta! with special guest Hannah Georgas
When: Sunday Oct. 23, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $39.50. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at capitol.nb.ca