In Hindsight: Joey Landreth finds new music path with latest album

Joey Landreth is appearing at the NAC on June 20.

Joey Landreth has won a JUNO with his brother David for their work as the Bros. Landreth. Now he has released a new collaboration with Roman Clarke called Hindsight. They’ll be in Ottawa on June 20 at the NAC. Before the show Joey answered some questions from ARTSFILE.

Q. Let’s talk about the new album Hindsight. Is it a bit of a departure?

A. Hindsight is definitely a departure. I enlisted the help of Roman Clarke, a young up and coming singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist from Winnipeg to produce the record and he brought his flavour to the project in a big way.

Q. If it is one, how does it differ from your other work?

A. For starters, Roman and I co-wrote every song but one. So off the bat, the songs are different then anything I’d write on my own. It was really scary but super fun. The instrumentation is different as well. Not literally, we still used drums, guitars, keyboards and vocals to build the tracks but how we used them, particularly the guitar, was different.

Roman Clarke will be appearing with Joey Landreth. The two have collaborated on the album Hindsight.

Q. What did Roman bring to the project?

A. I have been a fan of Roman for many years. He was in a band of super talented young players and writers called The Middle Coast. They’re from Manitoba and were on my radar for years. Each member — Roman, Dylan MacDonald and Liam Duncan — has gone off to do solo things on their own which are ridiculously good. Roman came out on the road with The Bros. Landreth to support a tour and I was blown away with the music that just poured out of him. What does he bring to my musical brain? Just a new approach. We grew up listening to some of the same music but for the most part it, we come from different worlds, musically speaking. He hears things in a different way which took us in directions we wouldn’t have gone if it was just me making a record on my own.

Q. If there is a song on the album that epitomizes what you wanted to accomplish musicially on Hindsight what is it and how did it get done?

A. I think the song that epitomizes what you wanted to accomplish musicially on Hindsight would be Father Son Holy Spirit. I really feel like that tune is a really good representation of the music that floating around my head. We got it done by writing a song we both loved and chasing the muse until we felt like we caught it.

Q. The Bros. Landreth remains a successful project. What is next for that ensemble with you and your brother David?

A. Next up, new record. It’s called ’87 (the year I was born therefore the year we became brothers!) and it’ll be out in the fall. A couple singles are also forthcoming.

Q. Tell me a bit about your dad Wally.

A. My dad is a really musical guy. He has one of my all time favourite voices and is one of my favourite writers. He’s hilarious and is deadly with a bow and arrow although if he ever had to use one to hunt I think he’d be devastated.

My dad passed along so many things that helped in the development of my musical thinking. Both my parents did. First, we had access to a killer record collection with everything from Boz Scaggs to Earl Scruggs, from Shania Twain to Mavis Staples. There was always music on in the house and always rehearsals or gigs to go to.

Q Winnipeg too is an important place for cultural creation. Do you credit Winnipeg with forming your musical thinking? 

A. I absolutely credit Winnipeg with forming my musical thinking. There is very little close by and in order to get great shows we had to create them ourselves. I lived in Toronto for three years and I couldn’t get over how many amazing shows are always happening. All my favourite bands would tour through. You can’t say the same for Winnipeg unless you’re talking about arena shows. Anything smaller and it rarely comes through. As a result, there are killer players and writers and performers.

Q. Hindsight is in the touring part of the cycle… what’s next?

A. First, finish touring. Then release The Bros. Landreth record, tour that a bit and then release a tribute record I made here in Winnipeg in January. I’m a huge fan of Lowell George of Little Feat and so I recorded some of my favourite songs that he wrote, sang or both.

Q. Where do you want to be in five years?

A. I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop out but I don’t really have much in the way of goals left. I have been so fortunate to accomplish all the things that I had dreamed of. I just hope that I can continue to do what I’m doing now. What I love. If it grows a little, I won’t complain but if it doesn’t, I’ll be a happy guy.

Joey Landreth with Roman Clarke
Where: Azrieli Studio
When: June 20 at 8 p.m.
Tickets and information:

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.