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Major Love majorly excited about second album and Lethbridge tour stop

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Edmonton based indie rock/indie folk band Major Love are majorly excited about releasing  their sophomore album, “Life, Laugh, Major, Love,” on May 17  and  making a long awaited return to Lethbridge, May 18 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge.

“ I know we’ ve been in the new space a couple of times,” said lead singer/ songwriter Colleen Brown, who joins Scenic Route To Alaska’s guitarist/ vocalist Trevor Mann, drummer/vocalist Shea Connor and bassist Murray Wood to play as Major Love  in between  solo shows, shows with The Great Lake Swimmers and Scenic Route to Alaska shows and albums.

The last time I saw them was in 2019 .

Major Love return to Lethbridge, May 18. Photo by Ryan Parker

 

“2019 . That seems possible. it’s really hard for me to remember these days. I’ve been touring a lot with other bands and my memory is getting muddier as I do more of that. So that’s very possible. I know we did a few shows in 2021 and 2022 that were more like one off  kind s of things. So I have this feeling we did get to the Owl more recently than that,” she said.

 

 She noted the new album has been in the works since  before covid, but most of it was written and recorded during it.

“A lot of the songs were written during lockdown, yeah. So some of it is inspired by the pandemic and the outcomes that resulted from it. The song ‘ Making the Most of It,’ is pretty squarely a lockdown anthem. I think a lot of people will recognize the feeling of feeling  stuck, like you’re  just spinning your wheels and not really sure what to so with your life anymore. I think a lot artists in particular, anybody who stayed home during the pandemic, you’ll probably get the cabin fever feeling that’s wrapped up in that song,” she said.

 

“ The songs all have different focuses. So that’s definitely not the only thing that was holding them together. There are songs about death and songs about aging and music industry and just the state of the  world. They’re always reflective, but my songwriting is always reflective and introspective at times. And you know there are some love songs for good measure,” she added.

 Major Love released an advance single “One Woman” for International Women’s Day.

 

“One Woman is a song we’ve been performing for years now. Our first record came out in 2018 and I think I wrote the song some time in 2017. So it just kind of missed the boat on that one. We started recording those songs in 2015. this project took a little bit longer to get things done. Because Scenic Route obviously have their own project. And I have my own solo projects. So  I think that song is an anthem for women in the sense that it really not just for women though. The idea behind it is just really the sense I think a lot of us came up with is to have that bootstrap mentality like I’ve got to do things on my own and prove myself. And I think some of us get kind of isolated and we have everything riding on our own shoulders and we forget that we’re tribal. That we used to live in communities really closely together and depend on each other. And I think that’s what we‘re built for is to depend on one another and support one another. And be really in community,” she said.

“So for me part of it what it’s talking about is untraining myself from that old way of living, isolating myself and forcing  myself to do everything on my own versus a much more sustainable long term and healthier way of being which is to recognize the value that other people have and to ask for help and get better at giving and receiving. So that’s a big part of it. There are definitely other elements also points to the way our society are really divided like polarized right now. And I think as long as we‘re polarized and arguing with each other over things that maybe aren’t really important or probably will never be able to agree on, there are a lot of things we could be doing that we can agree on and would probably benefit everyone. So looking for common ground and not getting mired in identity politics that separate us unnecessarily,” she said.

 

‘One Woman’ features some amazing background vocals which she credits to  Scenic Route to Alaska.

“I think it’s primarily the group vocals four guys including Marcus (Paquin), Trevor, Shea and Murray, the four of them standing in a room in the National Music Centre. All of those call and response vocals were them in the studio like that like a choir.

 I think there was one vocal overdub that I did separate from that but primarily the group of them together,” she said.


She enjoyed working with Marcus Paquin at the Music Arts centre in Calgary.

“I met Marcus when I was on tour with Hawksley Workman and Sarah Slean before the four of us toured together as a band. And Marcus was playing guitar and bass and I played some keys, guitar and bass and the he and I went back and forth in those supporting roles on this tour. That was right before the pandemic hit that we were doing all of those shows around Ontario and during that time Marcus and I played some music for each other  that we had been working on in other projects and he  played me this album by the Weather Station, ‘Ignorance,” and I was obviously totally blown away because it is an amazing record. So I really wanted to work with him. And I had shown him a couple of songs that we had already recorded that were in demo form. 

 

“And that was the  ‘The More I Know’ and Mountain Standard time that was rereleased the demo recording. Marcus did a bunch of overdubs on them and remixed them for us. I’m really proud of the whole record, but that’s one of the tracks that worked really well. So then we got all the funding and planning together to go to the National  Music Centre and record there. And it was just a really magical experience. I just felt like everything just fit together. All the personalities meshed really well . The process was really smooth,” she said, adding  that including a tough battle with Covid right before they started recording.


 “I actually had Covid back  in 2021. I had a really bad bout. And my lungs struggled for a long time. There was a good chunk on time in 2021 and 2022 where I really was struggling with my voice. I wasn’t able to get full deep breaths. I was kind of coming up to the tail end of that . I was starting to recover around  the time  we went into into the studio. So I was a little bit worried I wouldn’t be able to get the best vocal takes from that just because it had been coming and going.  I  really was  impressed that I was able to get some really good vocal takes and actually some of the best vocal takes I have on any album,” she said.

“And was  it really was because we were able to improvise like when the session would be that I’d do my vocal overdubs. In the past we’ve spend a lot of time with just the core band, drums, bass and guitars often in the room together, recording, getting drum sounds,” she said adding that work had already been done by the time she recorded her vocals.

 

“You can spend weeks just getting drum sounds , it’s such a bedrock part of of the production process. But this time it was really quick part of this production. Because the studio engineer Eric Cinnamon and Marcus had worked out all of the kinks of that already. So it was a really quick process getting to that. And the recording of the band was the four of us in a room together live off the floor for all of the songs. Then I would do vocal overdubs or they’d do some guitar overdubs or organ or a bunch of other things like that. But really the core of the band was live of the floor. And in between takes, I’d end up doing vocal takes. We‘d be listening to a song and finally decide we had the bed tracks for the band , and in the moment I’d feel my voice feels good right now we’re going to do the vocal takes right now. And that really worked for me because I didn’t get a chance to psych myself out. And I’d always got to choose the moment where I felt like I’m relaxed and my voice is working really well already versus in the past sometimes we’d try to rush all of the vocals at the end of the recording session when we’re running out of money and time. And it’s just really stressful and doesn’t make for good recording . The voice needs to be relaxed and grounded. The best vocal takes always come when you’re in this space,” she said. 

The Major Love songwriting process begins with Brown‘s songs and melodies.

 

“It’s mostly me. I will have written the frame of the song and the lyrics and melody. I’m basically the songwriter, but the guys always have such a big impact on the overall song. They’re be a couple of chord changes or the feel of the song will  shift . For instance on the song ‘Same Girl,’ Trevor came up with the backup vocal part and to me it ended up being a bit of a hook. They’re always adding elements of the song to make it feel really separate from my own songwriting,” she said.

   

“When I do my solo project, I’m usually the only songwriter. So this is a little step away from that in the sense I hand them the song as a pretty bare skeleton and we build it up into something together,” she said.

She is excited about the upcoming tour begins in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, and goes around Alberta  then goes to Penticton, Vancouver and Victoria. There are also a couple  fly in datesToronto and Ottawa. 

“It feels kind of short to me actually in the sense that I keep doing these tours with Great Lake Swimmers as a member of their band. The last couple of tours were one month and six weeks. So those were a little bit intense. So compared to that this is a short tour, but it’s actually one of the longer tours Major Love has ever done,” she said.

“It’s a mix. It’s not a solid cross Canadian tour, but we are  planning  to do some more dates in the fall. But we‘re just getting all our ducks in the row to tour all the way out to the Maritimes through the  Prairies,” she said.

 She promises a fun show featuring all Major Love songs, with the occasional cover.

 

“For these songs it is definitely all  Major Love songs. Sometimes we’ll do one or two covers. In the past we’ve done a Heart cover. That one might get some more play over the summer. We‘ve also got some summer music festivals. We‘re playing Tiny Lights and  North Country Fair. There will be some other opportunities for us to break out the covers. But we’re primarily  focused on doing the songs from this new record and there will be some  songs from the previous record,” she said.

 

“ For people who haven’t heard us, I always say we‘re like Americana folk rock and with a little bit of a throwback element with some vintage sounds, reminiscent of ’80s Heart, sometimes maybe ’70s Heart, some of it is a little more proggy, But folk rock is the genre. And it is always just a really nice time,” she described.

 

“The guys in Scenic Route, the three of them have this some kind of like alchemical thing going on like hive mind and I always just feel like I get to insert myself in their hive mind and just join the party. We’re in this group  mind meld. That’s just kind of a big part of what it is,” Brown said.

 

We just have a fun time and play these songs with a lot of heart and enthusiasm,” she said noting she is excited to  share the stage with  with Max And the Minimums  featuring Max Hopkins.

max and the Minimums and Major Love play the Owl Acoustic lounge. Tickets are $13.41 through Showpass.

 The show begins at 9 p.m.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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Last Updated ( Friday, 10 May 2024 17:10 )  
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