February 3, 2012

Edgar Breau, Patches of Blue

"The idea that everything is subservient to the song itself, it's all about the song not the players, not me, not history or autobiographical detail but getting the song to work on a very primal gut level that holds the interest of the listener. "

Edgar Breau - he might be labeled as the front man of Hamilton punk band, Simply Saucer since 1979.  However, over there last few decades he has cast aside some of his previous incarnations and has been venturing on a new solo journey down different musical paths, while still being a major part of the punk band. Now he is ready to unleash it in the form of his new solo album, Patches of Blue. Breau kindly answered some questions for Music Psychos. Check it out. 

1. The new solo record, 'Patches of Blue'-What does the album title mean to you?

Patches of Blues loosely means periods of melancholy, the blues, as the title song goes, 'just like a summer sky, I have my patches of blue'. There's a more remote reference to Picasso's 'blue period'. It also signifies a style of music that is based on roots music, be it jazz, blues, country, sea shanty, soul, funk, trippy folk all genres which can be found on the CD. It's about my 'coming out' as a songwriter as I’ve forever been associated with proto-psyche punk, which I still love, but which is no longer the exclusive genre I write and record in. I've been exploring other avenues with my songs now for years and felt I had to release a recording demonstrating this.

2.'Patches of Blue' was crafted with a number of local artists, including Bill Dillon, Ed Roth, Colinna Phillips and a few more. How was the recording process? Any stories from the studio?

Although the session players on Patches of Blue are 'local artists' many have an international stature, such as guitarist, Bill Dillon, who has recorded with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson and Dan Lanois among many others. Brian Griffith played guitar on the Daniel Lanois produced Willie Nelson album. Songstress, Colina Phillips, has recorded with Alice Cooper, Bruce Cockburn, Anne Murray, and sang live with James Taylor. Mike Trebilcock, who sang harmony, is a Juno award-winning artist, formerly with the Killjoys. The keyboardist, Ed Roth played with Rick James, Merryweather, and garage/punk band the Ugly Ducklings among others.

Basically I would go in and lay down the song in acoustic form add a ghost vocals and then we'd bring in the rhythm section to solidify things and finally add the rest of the mix. My producer, Michael Birthelmer, though a very serious musician and arranger often would go into comedy routines while we were recording just to lighten things up a little.

3. You've played different genres in one form or another for the last 3 decades. What stays consistent throughout changes in your musical style?

I think the idea that everything is subservient to the song itself, it's all about the song not the players, not me, not history or autobiographical detail but getting the song to work on a very primal gut level that holds the interest of the listener. 

4.What has been the most noticeable change in the music industry?

Oh I think the DIY methods that allow just about anyone to get their music out there is the biggest change.

5. Do you have any musical motto?

Drill deep; know where it all comes from...which is gospel, blues, jazz, folk. 

6. You've recorded a completely different set of songs with members from your punk rock outfit, Simple Saucers, Kevin Christoff. How has the relationship with Christoff evolved with the changes?  

Kevin has played on all my later solo CD's he's continued to evolve as a musician like myself, exploring jazz and prog avenues. He's always been a very fine bass player and gave Simply Saucer its distinctive progressive punk sound. 

7.  Aside from the legendary guitarist, John Fahey, who would you name for your influence in Patches of Blues? 

Syd Barrett and Ray Davies come to mind immediately as well as English folk influences like Steeleye Span and Pentangle, Malcomb Holcombe, Brazilian guitar player Bola Sete, Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Chet Baker, Dylan

8. What's on your playlist right now?

Keith Tippett, Sir Douglas Quintet, some Albert Ayler, Miles Davis, Gorecki's Symphony #3 

9. If you could go back to a particular place or time, where would it be?

France in the middle ages 

10. Any plans for the Spring/Summer?

I'm planning to tour the east coast of Canada promoting my new recording, doing live show, festivals

Thank you so much Edgar for your time. You can preview three songs off the album for free from here

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