Canadian songwriting icon and 11-time Juno Award winner Murray McLauchlan is getting ready to release Human Writes, his first record of new solo material in 15 years. Alongside contemporaries including Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young, McLauchlan, a 1993 Order of Canada appointee, is a Canadian songwriting treasure and has been making music for more than four decades.
McLauchlan is scheduled to perform at the Moncton Press Club on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The show starts at 8 p.m.
When asked about the significant amount of time that lapsed between 1997’s Gulliver’s Taxi and Human Writes, McLauchlan says that a number of different forces came into play.
“I haven’t exactly been sitting around,” a friendly and chatty McLauchlan says from his Toronto-area home. “But it is not as though I was banging my head against the wall refusing to make a new record either. I did feel though that Gulliver’s Taxi had featured collaborations with some of the most brilliant songwriters in Canada, had The Odds backing me up and featured what I thought were some of the best songs I had ever written. Then the record was completely and utterly ignored,” he laughs.
So instead of worrying about making another solo effort, McLauchlan filled his calendar with more collaborative work. Working with fellow songwriters Ian Thomas, Cindy Church and Marc Jordan under the guise of Lunch At Allen’s, the quartet packed theatres from coast to coast, releasing a total of three records between 2004 and 2010. Making a new solo record was probably the furthest thing from McLauchlan’s mind when he was invited out to lunch by Geoff Kulawick, the president of his record label True North Records.
“Geoff brought me out for lunch and told me that he wanted me to get back into the studio and deliver him a record,” McLauchlan recalls. “I patiently explained to Geoff about the experience I had with Gulliver’s Travels and that I wasn’t necessarily in a rush to make a new studio record. But then Geoff basically made me an offer I couldn’t refuse in that he said that as long as I didn’t go make a record of complete noise, that he would release the record with no interference whatsoever.”
Produced by the singer himself, McLauchlan says much of Human Writes consists of first takes that were recorded live off the floor of the studio.
“I had been looking at photos of people recording through the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, and you’d see the musicians standing around a tube microphone without earphones. So I thought if I took that same approach and treated the microphone as if it were a person instead of an object, the performances would be that much more natural. We did live performances of the songs and then built around them.”
Asked whether he believes it will take another 15 years for him to churn out another solo record, McLauchlan laughs at the thought.
“I enjoyed the process of making Human Writes so much, that whether it sells or not, I have made a record that I am very proud of. You can’t beat knowing that.”
Article published in October 14, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript