Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani.
Part of Trevor Alguire’s new album came together in studio. The Ottawa Valley-reared troubadour with the broguish voice had eight of the 11 songs on Miles Away in the can — the other three were simply happy accidents.
Take the song “So Sad Lately” as an example.
“It came to me as I was in studio, and I thought, ‘I’ve gotta record this thing,’” Alguire says. “So Sad Lately” is a 1950s-style swingin’ rock-and-roll number with lots of catchy backing harmonies. The song opens with a heavy drumbeat that was created on producer Jason Jaknunas’ washing machine inside his home studio.
“We built the rhythm from the guitar and hand claps — and then we started recording on his washer for a nice drum beat,” Alguire says. “It was a nice metal-y sound.”
This kind of as-it-happens recording technique suits Alguire fine. He is an on-the-go singer-songwriter who tours often in the Netherlands and Germany where his music is popular — maybe a little more so than it is at home.
“I think we could learn a few things as far as how people listen to music over there,” Alguire says when we talk about his big-in-Japan-style predicament.
“We’ve lost a bit of that,” he says. “We’ve gone really commercial. Everything these days is a nursery rhyme; nobody spends time writing a good hook that has depth to it.”
For Alguire, writing a good song is a matter of patching together ideas over time.
In addition to managing an international tour schedule, he’s also a husband and father and the owner of the skateboard shop On Deck.
Being constantly on the move means having to capture song ideas as they reveal themselves. Alguire will jot down notes or record segments on his mobile phone until he can assemble his songs for performance and recording.
Miles Away — the fifth album from Trevor Alguire — available digitally, on CD, and vinyl.
The energetic “How Do You Know” and the barebones “What Will Be Will Be” —just a tube amp, an old Gretsch guitar, and some haunting vocals.