St. John’s tonight. — Submitted photo
When he released his debut solo CD, “Ladies Lookout,” eight years ago, Andrew LeDrew was in a bit of a different headspace.
The CD, pop-rock-driven, was full of personal stories of adventure and melancholy love. This time around, with “Fair Winds,” LeDrew has taken himself out of the picture entirely, writing from a less intimate point of view.
“I just didn’t want to sing about myself this time,” he says. “I didn’t want to write down what I was going through, because in the last couple years there was stuff I was going through that I didn’t want anybody to know about. I found this was a way for me to put out an album and write stories.”
LeDrew has taken a completely different direction with “Fair Winds,” as well as a new approach — he’s left his rock and power-pop behind in exchange for contemporary folk-rock, Newfoundland style.
The departure was inspired by a song he wrote for a “Home Brew” compilation called “Ballad of Ryan’s Fancy,” a tribute to the local band, on which member Fergus O’Byrne played. O’Byrne liked it, giving LeDrew the motivation to complete a full album of tunes in the same genre.
He released his first track, “Moonlight Over Cupids,” a couple of years ago, and is officially launching the full-length record with a party at The Rockhouse on George Street in St. John’s tonight.
“I just tried to write a bunch of stories on how I see Newfoundland 100 years ago or last week,” says LeDrew, who also performs as part of newly-reunited Brothers In Stereo with brother Chris, cousin Barry and fellow musicians Chad Murphy and Andrew Boulos. He drew ideas about old-time Newfoundland from books, old pictures and trips around the bay over the past few years.
His favourite tune on the new record might be “Cuckolds Cove.”
“I’m not a great guitar player, but I’ve found this finger-picking thing and I wrote a song around it. We layered mandolins and accordions all over it, and fiddles. That’s one of the special ones on the album that I love,” he says.
Tonight, LeDrew and band will perform “Fair Winds” in its entirety before The Monday Nights take to the stage for a set. LeDrew said he can’t remember a time — not even when Brothers In Stereo opened for Great Big Sea in front of a crowd of 10,000 at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre in 2004 — that he was more nervous than he is right now.
“I know there will be people in the audience that know traditional music well, the structures of it, and I’m just hoping people will like it,” he says.
LeDrew is planning an island-wide tour in support of “Fair Winds” for the new year, followed by a tour of the Atlantic Provinces.
Tickets for the CD release party tonight at $20 at the door (includes a copy of the CD). Doors open at 9 p.m.