On the heels of the release of a new CD, Halifax-based The Stanfields have launched a nation-wide tour with a City stop Oct. 2nd at The Vat.
There are few bands today who come up with the kind of raw, fiery and truly original tunes these guys do, as heard on their latest project, Modem Operandi, which was released Sept. 18th.
The tour kicked off in Toronto last week at The Horseshoe Tavern.
Modem Operandi, the follow-up to the 2013 acoustic release For King and Country, is the band’s fourth studio album. Earlier releases include Vanguard of the Young and Reckless (2010) and 2012’s Death & Taxes. As mentioned, the energy and melding of traditional Celtic sensibilities with unabashed rock works wonderfully and its energy doesn’t let up for a second.
The project focuses on themes of political and social dissatisfaction that are brought to light through front man/guitarist Jon Landry’s lyrics, in which he questions ‘democratic rights, issues of privacy, freedom of speech and the current political climate.’ Rounding out the band are Calen Kinney (fiddle/bouzouki/vox); Jason MacIsaac (guitar/vox); Dillan Tate (bass/vox) and Mark Murphy (drums/vox).
“We definitely have our fair share of classic rock in there, but we put our a folk album last year – a ‘live off the floor’ kind of deal,” said Landry. “Basically, we are trying to keep things as interesting for ourselves as we can and hopefully paying it forward that way, too.
“I think we are staying true to what it is that we are wanting to do,” said. “This is our fourth record, and for better or for worse, I’d say that we upset the apple cart in terms of expectations. That’s the most important thing to me – the songs have to move me in some way. If you don’t love something that you have made, how can you make other people love it?”
Hailing from a hamlet in Nova Scotia, Landry was raised in a richly musical family and community.
“We were making up albums when we were seven,” he recalled of his childhood projects with a cousin. “His father was a music teacher and he taught us both how to play.” That love for music continued to evolve through his growing up years – even though he got a bit tired of the Celtic thing and ventured over to the ‘Nirvana-Seattle-angsty’ scene for a time.
“Especially in my 20s, we kind of ignored the whole traditional element thing,” he admitted, noting that those tunes, however, did eventually find their way back into his heart. Albeit not in the fashion that folks might expect.
There even came a time when he was asked to play in a country band which introduced him to a whole new world of styles and sounds – including the relative timelessness of classic country.
“I really grew to love it. We would usually play for older folks, and I really enjoyed how much they would enjoy it. Then I came back around to more of the Celtic music.” So essentially, there was something of a convergence of genres once he met up with the guys in the band and they set their own artistic course. “It was all pretty organic,” he added of how they initially joined forces back in 2007.
He recalls an early show when the band was playing for a private party, and the party-goers formed a Conga line and wound up tossing $20 bills at the guys.
“We’re like, this is cool!” The band was pretty much born. “We didn’t think we’d last more than six months – bands are so transient. But here we are eight years later,” he said with a laugh.
Looking ahead, the guys will tour Canada till about the middle of October. Next spring, they jet off to Europe for shows in Germany, the U.K. and Finland among others. It’s onstage that they truly feel at home. “We are a ‘live’ band that happens to record.”