When Saint John’s Mike Biggar approached the making of his third record, Go All In, he tried to cast aside any pre-conceived notions on what the record should sound like.
After having pursued more of a contemporary country sound on his 2013 effort Feels Like Now, Biggar spreads his wings on Go All In, evolving his sound to draw influence from the blues, roots, and soul as well as his childhood roots in gospel.
Speaking in his advance of his show at Saint John’s Le Faubourg on Thursday evening, where Go All In will be celebrated with a full-band performance, Biggar says the his newest album represents a return to his roots in some ways.
“In some ways it is the audience that points you, either directly or indirectly, into evolving your sound, both on stage and off. It is not always the result of internal factors,” Biggar notes. “For me, Go All In represents a combination of those factors, but is also me coming back to who I am at the core of my artistry, which is a blues and soul artist.”
Anyone familiar with Biggar’s music and career won’t be shocked by the turns the artist chooses on Go All In. If anything, the album’s title hints at his newfound outlook on the crazy world that is the music business.
Rather than making a record that could be commercially successful but creatively unfulfilling, Biggar chose to let his artistic muse guide him throughout the making of his new record.
“It’s always daunting to establish a fanbase and then throw an artistic curve ball at them, especially in today’s day and age. You never want to alienate those that have come to stand by you and support you. It’s not to say this record is a drastic musical shift by any means though; the course corrections have been subtle, but they are also completely authentic. I feel I’ve landed in a place where I am putting my best musical foot forward,” he says.
Helping Biggar bring Go All In to life is an impressive list of musicians and songwriters, including Nova Scotia’s Charlie A’Court, Tomato Tomato’s John and Lisa McLaggan, Grant Heckman, Chris Cummings and Brent Mason, among others.
Although some of the material on the record dates back a number of years, Biggar acknowledges he a big believer that you can’t keep a good song down.
“What ultimately matters the most is staying committed to writing good songs. I’ve often just felt like I’m the vessel for this material. Songs can sometimes pour out of you in 20 minutes, and then there are times songs sit with you for years. ‘Hell and High Water’ is an example of the latter; it started to come together approximately three and a half years ago, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head all this time.”
A veteran of music festivals including Nova Scotia’s Stan Rogers Folk Festival, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and more, Biggar is no stranger to the concert stage.
Interestingly, however, Biggar shares that one of the most interesting aspects of being a performer in this day and age is seeing the major shifts that have taken place with respect to how people consume music. While he is seeing a marked increase in the amount of house concerts he performs – especially outside of the Maritime region – Biggar’s commitment to the live show remains as steadfast as ever.
“I know there is a big debate in music whether artists should continue releasing albums in light of YouTube and Spotify becoming such dominant forces in how people consume music,” Biggar says. “Playing live – whether it’s at a house concert or a concert venue – is what I enjoy more than anything because it’s there that I have the opportunity to meet and talk with those people that are helping sustain my career. Regardless of how I choose to release music in the future, whether that’s in the form of a full-length record, an EP or what have you, playing live is going to be a constant in my career.”
What: Mike Biggar album release show for Go All In
When: Thursday March 16, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Le Faubourg, 125 Prince William St., Saint John
Tickets are $15. Advance tickets available for purchase online at www.mikebiggar.com.