Sunny Acres – 2006
Highlight Tracks: The Same Ol’ Song, Steady Hands
My first studio attempt at a real Country Music album and throughout the years this EP has faded into obscurity so most anyone reading this will be hearing it for the first time. There are some sweet moments here along with a few #fails for good measure. I must have loved that formula because I would repeat it on every country record I’ve produced since. When you’re trying something for the first time and you haven’t learned the rules before breaking them you’re bound for swings and misses. It took about 5 years of imitating other voices and learning what keys worked best for me before I could grow into my own “voice”. The most painful growing pain here is possibly the intro skit to Small Town girl which no amount of explaining now can justify 😅. Luckily, the song itself is one of the highlights here feat. Andrew Gillis on Harmonica and John Campelljohn on Dobro.
Other accompaniment included John Campbelljohn on pedal Steel Guitar, Ross Billard on Piano, Adam Driscoll on fiddle/violin, Chris Luedecke on Banjo, Dillon Robicheau on Mandolin, and backing vocals from Bill Dentremont, Loretta Yu, Thomas Hearn, and even ME, marking the first and last time I would sing my own harmonies, counter melodies, or whatever I was trying to do here.
The Same ol’ song and Steady Hands are songs that stand out as sharing characteristics of my future “sound” if there is such a thing. The recipe is some kind of disjointed folk/country music, bending genres, dark moments, Gospel moments, dark humour, western swing, lots of sappy steel guitar, layered fiddles, exaggerated ideas, “let’s try this” while surrounding myself with blessed session players. In these two song choices particularly it seems I’m singing in that “true voice” I spoke of. It’s naivety is kind of sweet and the production is good all things considered. The whole record sounds to me now like the beginning of an idea, or a mission that was maybe completed on 2017’s Having a Great Time. Time well wasted! The album would receive my first Music Nova Scotia nomination for an award: Country Album of the Year.