In advance of his band’s performance at Casino New Brunswick on Thursday night, John-Angus MacDonald, the guitarist for Canadian rock group The Trews, isn’t quite sure how they have arrived at a point in their career where they’ve warranted the release of a retrospective album.
“Arriving at the point where we are able to release a retrospective definitely snuck up on us,” MacDonald says. “All we’ve been able to do is sit back and wonder how it got this late in our career already. The years have just flown by.”
Released in early September, Time Capsule is a 20-track collection that assembles 16 of the band’s biggest hits of the last 13 years including “Not Ready To Go,” “Highway of Heroes” and “So She’s Leaving.” Also included are recordings of four new songs: “Beautiful & Tragic,” “Lotta Work/Little Love,” “Sing Your Heart Out” and “Chinese Kites.”
Formed around the turn of the century in Antigonish, N.S., MacDonald notes the release of Time Capsule serves to close one chapter of The Trews’s history while opening another: The 16 hits collected on the record feature drummer Sean Dalton, who amicably stepped away from the group in 2015, while the four new tracks boast current Trews drummer Gavin Maguire.
“As a band, we were coming off a 15-year run as the same four guys, so it was only natural there would be a little bit of readjusting once Gavin came on board.”
With almost two full years of Maguire being a part of The Trews’ ranks, however, MacDonald shares the group’s re-adjustment period is squarely in their rear-view mirror.
“In the time Gavin has been in the band, what we’ve found is that we’ve been digging deeper and deeper into our back catalogue. There are many songs from prior albums that we had simply stopped performing live for one reason or another. With Gavin in the band, we have since been revisiting and reviving some of those older songs, which is exciting because they have a new energy running through them,” MacDonald says.
For a band that has made its living on the road, both with its own headline shows across North America and in support of larger acts like Kiss, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, 2016 has proved to be an anomaly of sorts for the Toronto-based Trews.
Earlier this year, the group embarked on an American tour before taking the bulk of the summer off to catch its breath before undertaking more American dates in the early fall.
The band’s current 28-date tour kicked off in Thunder Bay, Ont. on November 3 and brought the group all the way to Vancouver Island before they began working their way East.
MacDonald acknowledges that while Canada very much remains the group’s most popular territory, their steadfast commitment to touring the U.S. over the last decade has produced worthwhile results.
“One of the biggest differences between Canada and the U.S. for us is that we never really had the television and radio exposure there that we’ve enjoyed here at home. It placed a greater emphasis on repeat visits to cities in the States so that we could build our name. Our following there remains very regional in the sense that we tend to do well in Michigan, Ohio, Upstate New York and Massachusetts, but overall, we’re pleased with the way our career has deceloped to date. Whether you’re a band in Canada or the U.S., you really have to love and believe in what you do because it takes a lot of work and dedication to get fans on board with your group.”
Following the conclusion of The Trews Canadian tour in Halifax, the group will enjoy some holiday downtime before mounting another tour of the U.S. in February. Also on tap for the new year is a new studio effort, which MacDonald says the group hopes to have released by fall 2017.
What: The Trews with special guest Adam Baldwin
When: Thursday Dec. 15, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $19.99 plus taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca.