We’re the seventh generation of musicians in the family
By Fiona O’Brien
The East Pointers, who are about to embark on a UK tour, are proof that folk music isn’t always old, even when it sounds like something lifted straight from a ceilidh.
Their new album Secret Victory features 10 original tracks that are perfect for their live shows which are known for their highly adrenalised and roof-rattling atmosphere.
Trio guitarist Jake Charron, fiddler Tim Chaisson and his cousin, banjoist Koady Chaisson (pictured) are on their way to making folk hip again. “‘Folk music is equivalent to soul music in my mind. It can take you to another place even if you haven’t heard it before,’ Tim Chaisson says.
That’s certainly true of a trio of songs on the album featuring Chaisson’s plaintive lead vocals: the wistful, banjo-fuelled Last Blank Page, the percolating, almost poppy rave-up Work That Way, and the heavy-hearted Cold. “Cold is a unique track,” Charron says.
“We worked with (Newfoundland songwriter/ producer) Chris Kirby on that song. We had the idea of someone having gone through something difficult in their life and having a hard time moving forward but at the same time knowing they can’t change what’s happened.” However, the downcast vibe doesn’t linger for long as the rest of the album is a series of free-wheeling, feisty instrumentals.“
‘We really wanted to record original stuff. We all love composing and putting our own little style on a style of music that goes back generations,” says Koady Chaisson.
“We are the seventh generation of musicians in our family, and what we do is a little different than what our uncles might do for example, which would be more Scottish influenced. We embrace the Scottish influence… but also Irish and French and so on.”
“We went into the studio with the goal of making this sound as live as possible,”says Charron, an Ontario native also hailing from a family of traditional musicians.
The East Pointers have won the 2015 Music P.E.I. New Artist of the Year and (for their EP) Roots Traditional Recording of the Year.
They were also nominated for Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards.
“Jake has two pick-ups on his guitar allowing him to play guitar and bass at the same time, creating a big sound,” says Tim. “I play a stomp-box with one foot and a tambourine with the other to add rhythm. And Koady usually step dances during that tune live – another tradition in our family.”
Both Tim and Koady Chaisson come from good folk stock, with their grandfather Joe Pete Chaisson a co-founder of the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival in 1976 to promote and fund fiddle playing across Canada’s Prince Edward Island.
“Everyone in my family either plays fiddle or dances. Music was always around us, and it was just a way of life.” Koady says.
Tim adds: “Growing up, I was playing fiddle before I realized I was playing fiddle if that makes any sense. I think with any family tradition, it’s introduced so young that it almost becomes second nature.”
“We hope this record translates,” Koady says. “I guess that is every artists’ dream when you put in so much creative energy.”
The East Pointers will be touring the UK in Nov/Dec 2015 and Jan/Feb 2016 in support of Sweet Victory.
Sat Nov 28 – Maverick Festival Thanksgiving Party, EASTON, SUFFOLK
Tue Dec 1 – Millenium Centre, CARDIFF
Thu Dec 3 – Victoria Hall, KIRKGATE
Fri Dec 4 – The Met, BURY
Sat Dec 5 – The Hothouse, MORCOMBE
Sun Dec 6 – Square Chapel, HALIFAX Tue
Dec 8 – The Stables, WAVENDON
Wed Dec 9 – The Islington, LONDON
Fri Dec 11 – Talbot Theatre, WHITCHURCH
Sat Dec `12 – Forest Arts Centre, NEW MILTON, HANTS