Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tim Chaisson has been embraced by Australia. His hillbilly-pop lead single ‘Crushed’ (off the October 24th released album Lost In Light) has received positive reviews and airplay on local radio, and warmly gives music lovers a glimpse into his multi-faceted, genre-hybrid style.
Back in 2012, Chaisson’s single ‘Beat This Heart’ received close to 100,000 views on YouTube, and now, that same dexterity is showcased across a new 12-track record. Produced by Bill Reynolds’ (Band of Horses), Lost In Light ranges from rousing cattle country to blues ballads, with lashings of guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo.
The Tim Chaisson & Morning Fold frontman is no stranger to the Australian music scene, having toured the country as a support act to Shannon Noll, Tim Freedman (of The Whitlams) and Cold Chisel veteran Ian Moss in the past, as well as releasing a four-track EP with Diesel in October of last year.
Having supported The Goo Goo Dolls in North America, Tim Chaisson is ready to take his own music on the road, with a number of festival dates and an upcoming headline tour scheduled from November through to January 2015.
We caught up with the handsome Canadian to discuss his latest album, collaborations and touring Down Under…
Your music has an obvious Americana twang. Where did your love of country music come from?
Growing up in Eastern Canada, there were so many great songwriters. The cool thing about it was that a lot of them followed there own paths, bouncing between country, celtic and folk. People like Ron Hynes, Stan Rogers and even Jimmy Rankin shaped a culture of songwriters to come. My parents always had country radio on but there’s a certain honesty and simplicity in the ‘alternative country’ world that I’ve always been drawn to.
‘Crushed’ is surprisingly fun and catchy in tempo for a country song, what was the inspiration behind it?
I wrote ‘Crushed’ with a few good friends of mine – I wanted to write something upbeat and this one flowed out pretty quickly. It’s kind of about how a love can almost tear you apart – whether it’s the wrong time or wrong person… A part of you wants to run from it and a part of you can’t get enough. We were a bit hesitant calling the song ‘Crushed’ but no other word described the feeling at the time!
How do you approach songwriting? Is it mostly personal, or is it just about telling a good story?
It’s a bit of both for me. Most of it is really personal and I find those are the songs that express the most emotion – because it’s honest. I also love to write something out of my comfort zone, from another person’s perspective… If the song isn’t directly from my experience, I can always get in someone else’s head to write it.
Bill Reynolds from Band of Horses produced your album, Lost In Light, what was it like having him on board?
He’s a hell of a guy. After the first conversation we had, I thought to myself ‘I have to work with this guy’. I’ve been a big Band Of Horses fan for a while (I actually saw them play in Sydney while I was on tour) so it was pretty amazing to make this record with him.
There sounds like a lot of instruments on this album, how many of them do you play yourself?
I play the guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and some piano on this record. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family of fiddle players and instrumentalists, so there was always something lying around the house to pick up and try out.
Is there anything you can’t play, or any instrument you’re yet to try?
Yeas! We didn’t have a high-school band program so I missed out on all the brass instruments – I’m yet to try‘em out.
You seem to have an affiliation with Australia (this album will be your sixth tour) what do you love about our music scene?
There’s so much talent, amazing songwriters and an appreciation for good music. I could be just surrounding myself with the right people but to me the arts scene is so vibrant there.
How did writing an EP with Diesel come about?
My manager had me open a few shows for Diesel in 2011 and we just seemed to hit it off. We shared a lot of similar musical tastes and the idea came up about making an EP. I was totally on board. Diesel is ridiculously talented – he engineered, produced and played the majority of the instruments (including cello) on the EP. I love how it turned out. I toured the country with him at the end of 2013 – it was pretty awesome.
Ian Moss is quite a legend here. What was it like supporting him?
It was great! The highlight for me was playing fiddle on a couple of Cold Chisel tunes. Between his solo repertoire and Cold Chisel, there isn’t a weak song on his set list.
Do you get inspired by Australian artists?
Totally. I’ve been lucky to tour or share a festival stage with a lot of Aussies. I’ve done a lot of songwriting with Aussie artists while I’ve been on the road too. I’ve done some festivals and shared the stage with Little May, Paper Kites and Dylan Wright recently – all so good.
In The U.S you supported The Goo Goo Dolls. What was it like to tour with them?
I’ve always appreciated the songwriting of The Goo Goo Dolls. To have the opportunity to play for that many people every night was amazing too. Great guys as well – they caught my set pretty much every night. That says a lot for a headlining band – they treated the opener so well.
You’ve won a few awards in your musical career. What has been your favourite or greatest achievement thus far?
Winning the ECMA for Roots Album of the Year was pretty special…Or being nominated for Discovery Songwriter of the Year by SIRIUS XM in the US. Actually, I believe an Aussie won that award!
Experimenting in the recording studio, or playing live: which do you prefer?
Playing live for sure. I love experimenting in my little studio and I often do it for hours upon hours – but nothing beats the feeling of sharing a song with someone who really feels it in a live setting.
What are you most excited about for your festival appearances and upcoming headline tour?
Playing these new songs live! I also can’t wait to hear same of the bands at these festivals… And of course, escaping the Canadian winter ; )
New album Lost In Light is out now via ABC Music
TIM CHAISSON ‘LOST IN LIGHT’ NATIONAL TOUR
Saturday 22 November – Reunion Festival, The Entrance NSW
Wednesday 26 November – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla NSW
Tickets: 02 9544 3844 or www.brassmonkey.com.au
Thursday 27 November – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney NSW
Saturday 29 November – Gorgeous Festival, McLaren Vale SA
Sunday 30 November – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff VIC
Friday 5 December – Lizotte’s, Central Coast NSW – with Diesel
Tickets: 02 4368 2017 or www.lizottes.com.au
Saturday 6 December – Lizotte’s, Central Coast NSW – with Diesel
Tickets: 02 4368 2017 or www.lizottes.com.au
Wednesday 10 December – GoodGod Small Club, Sydney NSW
Friday 12 – 13 December – Festival of the Sun, Port Macquarie NSW
Thursday 18 December – Café Le Monde, Sunshine Coast QLD
Listen to Tim Chaisson’s single ‘Crushed’: