Fred Eaglesmith (from the album Standard)
Who likes math? Add one man, twenty-two studio albums, eleven tour buses, and forty-two years on the road and what do you get? Fred Eaglesmith. There are more figures and facts, like fifteen band members taking their place in five different backing groups and for the true ciphering fools, try and count the stories that Fred has collected. An easier way into his tales is a listen for Standard, the recent release from Fred Eaglesmith. The stories stand out front on the recording, his experiences either hidden or on full display is every line. Standard lights “Flames” with the tale of a former lover, pointing a finger as it spits out the pain and spite while the music forms a ghostly fog around the words. Fred Eaglesmith uses a lonesome fiddle as the wind that pushes his bicycle through “At Your Door”, puts a stuttering drum heartbeat underneath the tale of “Jenny Smith”, turns up “Thermostat” with hesitant beats and bumps of notes to warm his machine in the morning, and speaks a love letter to “Old Machine”, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s with flickering guitar strings and strums.
Fred Eaglesmith has managed to be a well-known, well-loved enigma; a fringe-dwelling music business veteran. He has crossed North America as The Fred Eaglesmith Traveling Steam Show, behind the wheel of the tour bus and under the hood for repairs, and this year continues the shows with Roots on the Rails Alaska in September 2017 (9-8 through 9-18-17). Fred can be found at Springwater Park in Aylmar, Ontario from August 18 through 20, 2017 for the 22ND Annual Fred Eaglesmith Charity Picnic. Between the road and the farm, Fred Eaglesmith happily spent studio time creating Standard, telling his tales over a musical flow that gracefully moves underneath the tunes like a river, constantly coursing with commitment and determination. Fred Eaglesmith hears “Tom Turkey” calling through the rain, twangy guitar leads, and banjo plunks. Standard sees the band heading out of “Watertown”, watches “Miss Mary Jane” disappearing on a south bound train as Fred Eaglesmith opens the album with wisdom and wit in his words for the tale of “Twin City Mini”.