While some album titles are purposely shrouded in secrecy, the meaning behind Turn Left Fifteen Years Ago, the debut release from Metro Moncton native Courtney Smith, couldn’t have been a more deliberate choice.
“It was 15 years ago that I started playing guitar,” Smith tells us. “Music has always been a creative outlet for me, so much so that when I am not pursuing music, I find I start to get away from myself. Ultimately, I’ve found that being creative helps keep me grounded.”
While it is not atypical for artists to labour intensively over their debut record, Smith took the art of labouring to new heights when writing the material on the folk-inspired Turn Left Fifteen Years Ago.
She shares that work on the record actually began in 2009, but that feelings of insecurity crept into creative process, ultimately forcing her to completely step away from the project for a number of years.
“I went through a period where I was very insecure about the music I was writing. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to release it, or that I even really liked it to begin with.”
In 2014, after almost five years of having her previously recorded songs sitting on a shelf, Smith decided the time was right to revisit the material, and put the finishing touches on the record.
“I had a lot of people very strongly suggesting to me that I finish the record,” Smith says with a laugh. “When I went back and listened to that first batch of songs that I recorded, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had built them up in my head. Everyone tends to be their own worst critic, so, keeping that in mind, I realized that I just had to focus on making the music I wanted and stop worrying about everything else.”
Smith acknowledges the lengthy span of time between starting the record and when she made the decision to resuscitate it ended up inadvertently providing a unique perspective on the person she was during those initial recording sessions and the person she became.
“Looking back on my life around the time I started the record, I was living through a number of different things. That first batch of material I recorded was completely ego-driven and emotional, where the second set of songs written for the record cover more universal themes and life in general. There is a natural maturity reflected in the newer material, which is appropriate, because I feel like a whole new person compared to who I was when I started the album.”
Courtney Smith’s Turn Left Fifteen Years Ago is available for purchase online at www.courtney-smith-music.bandcamp.com.
What: Courtney Smith CD Release for Turn Left Fifteen Years Ago with special guest Lester Slade
When: Thursday Feb. 18, 8 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton
Admission is free