Searson rings out 2017 with Canadian tribute
Submitted photo Erin and Colleen (right) Searson recently released their ninth studio album "Homegrown," a tribute to those Canadian artists, songwriters and instrumentalists who have influenced the group. Searson will be performing at the Wilno Tavern on Saturday night.
Searson will be ringing out 2017 by celebrating Canada's 150 with a new album and a special hometown concert.
Home for the holidays, Canada's pre-eminent Celtic pop group is in the midst of releasing their ninth studio album, “Homegrown,” a tribute to those Canadian artists, songwriters and instrumentalists who have influenced the band. To close out the year, Searson will be hosting an album release show at the Wilno Tavern on Saturday.
“We love composing our own tunes and songs, and that’s still a big part of our live performances even with this new album coming out,” said Colleen Searson, who plays fiddle and provides vocals. “But there’s something special about putting together this mix of Canadian favourites that represents what we’ve grown up with and aspired to.”
“Homegrown” features six tracks in which Searson covers songs from Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Chantal Kreviazuk, Robbie Robertson, Natalie MacMaster and Denis Lanctot. The album aims to take the listener on a journey from coast-to-coast with the soaring vocals, rich string arrangements, and exquisite piano that Searson has become known for. Produced and engineered by Colin Wylie at the Old Church Recording in Douglas, “Homegrown” includes Richard Irwin on drums, Fraser Gauthier on bass, and Wylie on guitar.
“We've never done cover songs before so it was really interesting to delve into other people's music and do our own version,” explained vocalist Erin Searson, who plays piano and tenor guitar. “It was more nervewracking than I expected because there are such high expectations.”
With 2017 being the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, the group wanted to do something unique. The project was quickly put together beginning in January when the sisters went through a list of artists and narrowly their choices down to six. The tracks were laid down over a few sessions in June.
“We feel so strongly about our Canadian heritage and where our roots have come from,” remarked Erin. “We are proud of our country so this was our small part to do something special.”
Each one has positively influenced them not only in their decade-long career but growing up in the Ottawa Valley as well. For instance, the sisters still remember going to the Pembroke Oldtime Stepdancing and Fiddling Contest to see Denis Lanctot perform. They have also toured the world, primarily the United States, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland and the Caribbean, and seen the impact that Natalie MacMaster has made.
“Natalie has done so much for celtic music around the world,” added Erin. “She's a strong female musician, a really good influence and she embodies everything we believe in.”
The next year will be a busy one for the sister act. In February, Searson will attend the Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Missouri. The annual conference is the world's largest gathering of the folk music industry and community. They will be returning to Alaska in the spring and are also scheduled for some dates in Europe over the summer. While their Ontario dates are still up in the air, the group will be back at the Neat Coffee Shop in Burnstown in the fall.
“We loved that venue,” noted Erin. “It's always nice to a local show. We grew up here and it's great to play for a hometown crowd.”
“Homegrown” is available on iTunes. Copies can be ordered on the Searson website at: www.searsonband.com. Searson will be perfoming at the Wilno Tavern in Wilno on Saturday, Dec. 30. Showtime is 8 p.m.