For every Arcade Fire, there are so many other rock and pop acts from Canada (Sam Roberts Band and The Arkells immediately come to mind) that haven’t made a huge dent in the United States.
This comes as no surprise to singer/songwriter Tim Chaisson, who hails from Prince Edward Island, which is near Nova Scotia.
“I’m not quite sure why [that is],” Chaisson says. “I think that sometimes Canadian bands are really regionalized. A lot of them write lyrics that are very Canadian, and they reference Canadian places and things.”
Citing “an intimidation factor of crossing the border,” Chaisson says he hasn’t really tried to drum up stateside support via gigs or promotional appearances, focusing most of his energy on his home country. And as far as his albums, those haven’t been marketed to U.S. audiences — until now.
The Other Side, released last year in his home country, arrived in February as his U.S. debut. Chaisson plays acoustic guitar throughout along with mandolin and/or fiddle on the album’s rootsy, heartfelt and relatable 11 songs, which include the standouts “Beat This Heart” and “Til the Sun Comes Up.”
“I had some songs that I had written by myself — about 25 or 26 songs altogether going into the record,” Chaisson says. “But my favorite ones happened to be those that I had written with other people — with friends and guys I’ve been on the road with for a while. A lot of them were ones I almost had in the bank, [but then I decided to] see where I could take them with someone else to finish them up.”
Through his manager, Chaisson met Colin Linden, who produced the album and chipped in with electric and acoustic guitar.
“We sat in the same room, just playing and singing at the same time,” Chaisson says. “We didn’t edit too much. A lot of it was live off the floor. If you can’t do it in the studio, then you probably can’t do it live.”
In early March, Chaisson finished up a U.S. promo tour that included stops in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. That was followed by scheduled performances in Austin, Texas, as part of the South by Southwest music conference/festival.
Consider Tim Chaisson’s U.S. campaign officially launched.
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Jess Baumung