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John Antoniuk’s album a tribute to his mom

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Great minds think alike and great songs speak for themselves.
 Saskatoon singer/ songwriter John Antoniuk and his band Smokekiller hadn’t expected to record his third CD about his mother, who passed away from cancer in 2010, but a lot of songs were inspired by her.John Antoniuk and Jen Lane will be playing Lethbridge, Sept. 17. Photo submitted

Co-incidentally producer Lethbridge musician Leeroy Stagger at the helm saw things the same way.
 Steven Drake of the Odds produced the last Smokekiller album.

“Leeroy wanted to produce, mix and engineer this one,” he said adding he just let Stagger run with the project, choosing the band and working on the songs.

“I sent him 22-28 songs and he picked the 11 that are on the album and chose the band,” observed Antoniuk, who brings his band to the Slice, Sept. 17 with the Jen Lane band — his wife’s band which includes Antoniuk and his band. They will be winding a 12 show tour on the new CD  going out the the west coast and back home to Saskatoon.

 Antoniuk spent 10 days in Lethbridge in January, living in Stagger’s house and recording downstairs in Rebeltone Studios. Stagger collected a crack group of musicians to play on the CD including members of his own band, drummer Kyle Harmon, bassist Tyson Maiko, Evan Eushenko an d Matt Robinson on guitar plus special guests including Indio Saravanja and the Grapes of Wrath’s Kevin Kane.

“ We made a lot of friends there when we were recording the CD, so we hope some of them  will be able to make it to the show,” he said adding Leeroy Stagger and his band will be in Fernie that night opening for 54-40.

 Antoniuk and his band plan on being in Lethbridge the night before to catch them opening for  54 40 in Lethbridge the night before.
His mother, Marlene passed away from cancer in October, 2010, which inspired much of the music.

“ A lot of it was very emotional at the time. So a lot of the songs are about that time in my life,” he said.

“ It was super hard writing about it at first, but I knew I had something by the end of it,” he said.
 He ended up getting several grants from the Saskatchewan government as well as Rawlco Radio to help fund the project.

 Smokekiller includes Enver Hampton on bass, Christian Kongawi on drums, guitarist Josh  Colman and his wife Jen Lane on acoustic guitars.
“Jen and I play in each others’ bands. She’s an amazing acoustic guitarist,” he said adding they take turns working on each others albums. They just finished working Jen Lanes’s last CD, so it is Antoniuk’s turn.

“ In 2010 I lost my job working in  audio/ visual. So Jen and I  looked at each other and decided to try this full time,” he said.

“It’s a difficult life at times,” he said. They have had quite a bit of success as they have played major festivals and awards including the Western Canadian Music Awards an made a splash at South by Southwest in Austin, in 2008. They will be touring out east to Ottawa and Montreal, after they are finished the western Canadian tour.
“It’ s been a great experience,” he said.

 —By Richard Amery, L.A Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 September 2012 10:46 )  
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