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Refinement of capacity. Spirit. Creativity. While such terms endeavour to express the ultimate in marvel and ability, when it comes to performer/songwriter Tim Chaisson, these descriptive terms—which he is far too courteous to use on himself—perfectly befit the exceptional musical endowments of this Prince Edward Island native.
After all, Chaisson is no stranger to the spotlight. While initially entering the world of music in a family-based Celtic outfit, after years of touring and recording—before reaching driving age—Chaisson recognized a yearning to perform his own music.
With three solo albums under his belt and the recent release of Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold’s independent musical gem Broken Hearted Beat, Chaisson is on a fast rise to dominating his genre. A quick glimpse of the band's achievements over the past years reveals an enviable onslaught of accolades: winning Music PEI awards for Songwriter of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Pop Recording of the Year and Group of the Year and more.
As for this enigmatic, energetic and enthralling release itself, Broken Hearted Beat has gleaned an honourable mention in Billboard's 17th Annual Song Contest, single “Broken Heated Beat” has snagged Number One on both the MuchMoreMusic Top 10 (numerous times over a six-week period) and East Coast Countdowns—with two more singles on the latter's charts—and nomination for the East Coast Music Awards' 2010 Pop Recording of the Year.
Bolstered by performances at the 2010 Winter Olympics, JunoFest, major festivals across the Great White North including NXNE, Canada Music Week, Burlington Sound of Music, Indie Music Week, East Coast Music Convention and feature play on television, it is no wonder that Broken Hearted Beat's debut eponymous single/video commanded attention via radio play on 40 stations across the nation. It's an achievement the band aspires for with the single/video “Slippin' Away” released October 2010 during their tour alongside respected brigade The Trews.
Such accomplishments are not surprising, given that Broken Hearted Beat is a compelling array of sultry, sinewy tunes intertwining exceptional musicianship with spirited delivery, unforgettable melodies and indelible sincerity;. It's a union of Chaisson's vocal, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and keyboard abilities with equally-talented spirits in Tian Wigmore (guitars and backing vocals), Brien McCarthy (bass and backing vocals) and Nat Lamoureux (drums and backing vocals).
“I'd been playing by myself for a number of years but I didn't want to start something brand new and confuse people,” Chaisson explains regarding the shift from performing solo to a full band. “Not to compare us to them but like Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers or Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, when people hear Tim Chaisson And Morning Fold, they know they're gonna get the whole show with all of the instruments.”
Chaisson needn't be so humble. With Broken Hearted Beat, Petty and Springsteen would be proud to keep such company. A tour-de-force in amalgamating diverse backgrounds and genres, the album unites the finite intricacies of folk, pop, country and even the Celtic inspiration that initially spurred Chaisson on in his youth; it is a wonderfully diverse beguilingly chameleon-esque experience.
While much of the album is spawned from his own seeds of creativity as primary songwriter, Chaisson notes that renowned Canadian-bred musicians Joel Plaskett (Thrush Hermit, Joel Plaskett Emergency) and Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) were crucial in realizing Broken Hearted Beat's wide scope and boldness.
Co-penning material as a team and utilizing Johnson's invaluable experience as a musician and producer for Broken Hearted Beat, Chaisson, Johnson and crew captured the live essence of the band at Plaskett's studio before heading down to Willie Nelson's Austin-based Pedernales Studios in order apply finishing touches.
“Gordie and I started working together a few years ago and he introduced me to Joel,” Chaisson reflects. “We wrote about nine songs together almost immediately. I was a huge fan of both of them before any of this, so getting to work with them was just amazing. Joel's studio caught the grittiness while Pedernales was amazing at the finishing touches. With the piano, fiddle elements, different tones, shaping and breakdowns, I think this album is pretty broad.”
Ensuring Broken Hearted Beat is all-encompassing, Chaisson proudly notes that Plaskett and Johnson also impelled him to push harder at further refining his craft, resulting in a collection of songs that are infinitely stunning both musically and lyrically.
“On this record, those guys pushed me hard, making me give 125% to my lyrics where I think I used to just settle,” he laughs. “I wrote a lot about relationships. Not necessarily personally. I'm not a me-me-me songwriter. That gets old fast. I'd say I'm a storyteller, taking everyone's experiences and relating them from my perspective. They can be pretty personal but they're all about something that's affected me or I've observed. I love it when you can connect with people; when they feel like something you've written has truly hit home.”
Moreover, Chaisson concludes that with the influence of his mentors, the abilities of Morning Fold and his penchant for entwining the plethora of influences a large family has bestowed up on him into a distinct sound, Broken Hearted Beat is easily his most cultivated, proficient effort to date. But, he alludes, there are still many more to come.
“My East Coast roots are elemental to making this album unique,” he waxes philosophically. “I was lucky to have such a large family that introduced me to so many diverse forms of music. I think they all come out on this album. The same thing applies with the rest of the band. They have that influx of inspiration from their families and they're fantastic multi-instrumentalists. As for me, well, I've been doing this since I can remember...I'm gonna be in it for the long haul.”