At 16 years of age, Cochrane’s Lucas Chaisson already wields a knack for crafting terrific, memorable tunes.
The talented teen is performing Aug. 14 during the Central Music Festival near Red Deer. His set starts at 5:45 p.m. Chaisson’s soulful and R&B-tinged originals and arrangements of covers converge into a formidable connection with his audience.
With comparisons to folks like John Mayer, Martin Sexton and Ron Sexsmith, Chaisson continues to grow as a unique artist in his own right. And when he puts his own spins on shimmering cuts like Boom Sh’ Boom, it pretty much sounds like its his own creation. Not only is he an accomplished guitarist, it’s really his mature vocal strengths that stand out. The same sensibilities shine through with songs like Falling’s What We Do as well with its laid-back, acoustic charm.
A love for music was born early on. Chaisson was virtually surrounded by it growing up, with his dad often playing guitar and singing. His mom is a visual artist as well. At just seven years of age, Chaisson started classical guitar lessons and singing also proved a natural gift early.
Songwriting is something he started exploring just a couple of years ago. Sometimes, churning out a tune is an easy feat. Others times, not so much.
“It really depends on the song,” he explains. “Some just pour out, and I’ll have a nearly complete song in about 25 minutes or so.” Other times, a particular tune can take months to wrap up to his liking. “It started out with me kind of experimenting,” he says of creating music. “I didn’t take myself too seriously at first.”
But as the songs kept coming, so did the positive feedback. His latest disc, No Loitering, was released this past spring and reflects a rich authenticity in terms of both sound and songwriting creativity. Again, when he does cover a classic tune it’s not done in a simple, predictable, cookie-cutter way. He tackles Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror with a completely fresh, unique feel, for example. The song also gives Chaisson the means to feature his remarkably diverse voice at yet another level.
As to his chosen style, Chaisson was strongly influenced by artists like the aforementioned Martin Sexton, Al Greene and Luther Vandross. But he’s open to all kinds of music.
Capturing the essence of his style in studio came quite naturally as well, especially in a friend’s home studio near Bragg Creek. A few tunes were recorded ‘live off the floor’ in a comfortable environment. Others tracks were laid down in Calgary in a more structured manner, and the disc also includes a live track from festival last year.
Chaisson said an EP featuring four songs recorded with a band is also about to be released.
He continues to garner more attention as he makes his way in the musical world. Besides the Central Music Festival, he’s also performing at folk festivals in Canmore and Edmonton this summer plus the Big Valley Jamboree.
Meanwhile, organizers of the fourth annual Central Music Festival are hoping for at least a thousand fans to settle in and enjoy the music this year.
The Friday night and all day Saturday family-oriented, outdoor festival takes place on farmland just north of the city on township road 392 (directions on web site), said Mike Bradford, president of the Central Music Festival Society.
Highlights include a beer tent, a kids’ show with Trent Tinney, crafts for sale, local vendors offering food and beverages and a solid line-up of new and established talent.
Friday night opens with the Half Chance Heroes, a Red Deer band that won the festival’s talent contest, and includes Ross Stafford, St. James Gate, the Backwoods Roots Revue, the Ron Hubbard Band, John Rutherford, Great American Taxi and Steve Coffey, closing with The Trews Acoustic.
Saturday’s line-up starts with The Doll Sisters from Rocky Mountain House and includes Dick Raidek, Holly & Jon, the Black Pioneer Heritage Singers (from Amber Valley, a black community in northern Alberta), Lisa Heinrichs, Lindsay Ell, F & M, Oldbury, The Command Sisters, Jim Byrnes, Jenny Allen, Ponty Bone & The Squeezetones, Chris LeBlanc and winds up with country singer Shane Yellowbird.
Children under 13 are free with a paying adult and there are 60 plus rates too. Tickets are available at the Black Knight Inn ticket centre or on-line at the festival web site.
For more information check out the website at www.centralmusicfest.com.