Fred Eaglesmith going back to his roots for new CDs and tour


Fred Eaglesmith is trend proof. He always  does what he feels and wants.
If he wants to record a  completely bluegrass album he will, if he wants to  record  a Caribbean album, like  his latest, “Cha Cha Cha,” he Fred Eaglesmith played two sold out shows at the Geomatic Attic this week. Photo by Richard Amerywill. If he wants to take some time off and paint, he will. And if he wants to  go on the David Letterman Show dressed as a circus ringmaster, he’ll do that too.
“I think more people are coming to the shows after that. But there have also been a lot of tough times, ” said Eaglesmith, who will be back in Lethbridge  to play a double night run at the Geomatic Attic, March 7-8.

He writes about the lonely outcast, motorcyclists, the plow driver, the mechanic, the broken down cowboy, the farmer whose land the government annexes, who is just looking for a  final showdown and trains, lots of trains.

 Fred Eaglesmith is a storyteller, a damned good one and a consummate road warrior who averages about 300 gigs a  year. He has always skated on the fringe of mainstream country, and is just starting to be discovered by them. Lately Toby Keith and Miranda Lambert have recorded his songs, “White Rose” and “Time to Get a Gun” respectively. And he is now in demand to write with some of Nashville’s best writers.

Monday's show was  a success but tonight’s show is sold out.

“I’ll go down there once a year and write with  some of the heavy hitters down there,” Eaglesmith said  from the road somewhere in the middle of Illinois  in the middle of  another relentless tour.

“There are a lot of really good songwriters there.  They are very craft orientated  while I  am more of an emotional writer. They are really good at their craft,” Eaglesmith observed adding while his songwriting  tends to be more traditional, telling stories about a variety of colourful characters, he doesn’t have to teach them about old country style writing.
“ They know all about it. They grew up with old country music, so I have nothing to teach them about that,” he said.

“I was raised on it. And even five years ago, it didn’t feel so relevant to people, now it is more so,” he said tough times have made a lot of people identify more with the old country sentiments, so he is  going back to his roots as he simultaneously works on  his two new albums — an old country CD and another that is more old school  folk and country style storytelling Eaglesmith.
“The old country  CD has come together a lot slower than I thought, ” he said.
“I just write songs and stir them up in a pot and see what comes out. So I don’t know which one will be done first. maybe I’ll release them at the same  time,” he said.
“It just feels right,” he said of going back to his roots for the new CDs.

“I’ve felt this way before, and I’ve usually been right. It just feels a lot more relevant now,” he said adding he is enjoying being on the road  again. The Fabulous Ginn Sisters, who were with him during his performance at the Slice last summer are touring with him again, though they won’t be making the trek up to Canada this time.
 In the meantime, Eaglesmith is excited about welcoming new bassist Justine Fischer the the fold, along with drummer Kori Heppner and Matty Simpson on guitar, banjo, keyboard and vocals.  “We met her at a festival. She said ‘I want to play bass in a band,’ so we hired her,” Eaglesmith laughed.

“In the live show, we’re still doing the circus thing for a couple songs, we’re playing country music and   couple new songs,” he said.
The odd time he has time off, he enjoys creating original surreal paintings of country scenes, trains, crops, actually a  lot of the subjects in his songs.

“I haven’t painted in about a year,” said Eaglesmith, who had his first art show in Brantford, Ontario in November.
“No, music and painting are totally different. It’s like crop rotation. I’m using different parts of my brain,” Eaglesmith said adding  he has been painting for about six years.

He also has a music store and a restaurant in his hometown of Port Dover— Fred’s Robot Cafe and Hobo Java and Legendary Guitar Cafe, but he isn’t thinking of retiring.
“No, my kids run that,” he said.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 08 March 2011 21:16 )