Droves of people head to the Columbia Valley each year to get a taste of the idyllic mountain lifestyle that seems to pervade every aspect of daily life, and when Halifax songwriter Morgan MacDonald performs in Invermere on Thursday (August 2), he will be exploring exactly that feeling.
“It’s the idea of longing for something where we feel at home in an increasingly crazy world, that just doesn’t really make sense to our experience,” MacDonald told The Valley Echo. “The inspiration is trying to figure out my own life and where I fit.”
Relatively new to the music scene, MacDonald is on his first Canada-wide tour with his first EP, Back to the Wilderness. Having started his tour in May, MacDonald has been making his way across Canada by way of the Via Rail on Board Entertainment program, which provides free transport and meals in exchange for musicians putting on performances while travelling.
“Along the route, you end up playing for a cross section of the public, it’s not like a show where people come and see you, they’re just kind of there,” MacDonald said. “You end up with people from all across the country and from different socio-economic statuses and different tastes in music.”
For MacDonald, who has been playing music for the past 12 years but only seriously performing for about three or four months, music is something he said he always knew he wanted to do, but wasn’t always entirely sure that he could turn into a career. Normally backed by a six-piece band, MacDonald will be performing solo this time around, including when he comes to Strands Old House Restaurant. He said he’d like to return in the fall with a full complement of players, but for now he’s content with bringing his brand of roots rock to British Columbia on his own.
“I’ve always listened to a lot of music, and it’s always been a chance to sort of escape, or a chance to have some time to yourself and just really sort of dive into the music,” MacDonald said. “The day-to-day life things that everyone deals with, I’ve always been drawn to that… the chance to express that, and to win over an audience slowly… people who have never heard you play before, you can see them listening and getting into the stories.”
Storytelling is something that MacDonald is particularly interested in as well, and said some of his favourite artists growing up included Bob Dylan and Neil Young. For his EP, Back to the Wilderness, MacDonald said the inspiration for the name and title track came from his grandmother, who has since passed away. MacDonald explained he had dedicated the song to her as her last words were exactly that — “back to the wilderness.”
“There’s just so much music out there on the market that’s very catchy, and produced, and popular,” MacDonald said. “As with any trend there’s a bit of a splashback, people will look for the opposite, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to be.”
MacDonald will play at Stands Old House Restaurant in Invermere on Thursday (August 2), at 8 p.m. There will be an $8 cover and those planning on attending are urged to reserve ahead of time by calling Strands at 250-342-6344 as space is limited. To hear MacDonald’s music, visit his website at www.morganmacdonald.ca or find him on iTunes.