Bryson Waind loves the Niagara Region
Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
St. Catharines' musician Bryson Waind has some big plans.
"I'm going to talk to [Daniel] Lanois on Thursday," he says with a smile, "and see if he can cook something up."
Waind, a folk singer/songwriter, has long been performing around St. Catharines and the Niagara Region, but only recently recorded and released his first album, the aptly titled Live at Pan.
The album, which is sitting at number four on the CFBU charts, is a collection of Waind's material and a Gram Parsons' cover, recorded live at Pan Cafe in St. Catharines. The 13 songs capture the artist's strong songwriting chops while sticking true to the folk aesthetic.
"The sound of the room was instantly appealing at Pan," said Waind. "The first song I played there while we were getting set up I just knew this was the place to do a live album, it's perfect."
Where most musicians pony up thousands of dollars to rent a studio, Waind consciously chose to record his album live, capturing the nuances that come with being a performer. No live performance is ever without fault, and Waind's record is no different; however, these little nuances lend themselves to the vibe of the album: the listener no longer feels like they are listening to something that has had label-heads pumping money behind it, but rather a friend performing in their living room.
"I don't like the studio situation, not that I have a lot of experience with it," said Waind. "But what I have had, I just prefer to sing and play my songs. So you've got a lot of knob twiddling in the studio situation which never really appeals to me, I'm more of a go for it, just strum them out and sing them guy. It has that appeal to me, the straight-forwardness of it ... there's something about that. There's mistakes on there and when I listen to it they bother me, but at the same time, that's part of life. You can hear a Harley going through the first song, that's just the way a live album is."
Waind also hopes that this album will afford him the opportunity to extend beyond the Niagara Region. Having not had a physical release prior, Waind found it difficult to book gigs abroad, but hopes this furthers his chances.
"I felt fairly constrained by the fact that I didn't have a recorded product to use as the vehicle to get those gigs [outside Niagara]," said Waind. "I wouldn't say I'm as far along as I should be, but I'm working on those things. That's part of what getting this album together was about, getting these songs out beyond just people who already know what I sound like."
Having grown up in St. Catharines, Waind is proud to be from the region and his songs only further this notion. One of his main themes on these recordings is a sense of home, allowing for the settings of the songs to carry the story. Having spent some time in the early '90s in British Columbia "being a hippie", he is nothing now if not patriotic for the St. Catharines' scenery captured beautifully in songs like "Every Berry". He even refers to his recent performance at Montebello Park, as part of the Niagara Wine Festival, as a personal highlight.
"I like writing songs about home and the comforts of home," said Waind. "That's really where the strength of my folk aesthetic is. It's because I love being in this town. I just played at the park and that was like a musical dream. And I hope that I'll play at bigger venues someday, but this is our festival and our party, so it was like the best day of my life."
Waind is not a one-trick-act either. Along with writing songs for his own albums, he performs with The Second Cousins and is working on a bluegrass group. Among all this music, he still finds time to write short fiction nearly ever week for a local publication, something he claims has both positive and negative effects on his songwriting.
"It's completely different," he said. "One of the main differences is that with the fiction writing I do, I feel that there's a certain amount of time pressure to have it finished because I know it's wanted for publication. I'm always pushing to get that out. With songs, if I have a good idea or some kind of thematic idea that I think would work well with the song ... Sometimes they work well together, but [fiction] I'm driving all the time, and with songs I write them when they come to me."
Bryson Waind will be performing with The Second Cousins at the Merchant Ale House on Oct. 4.