Event type: All Ages
When they first met, Graydon James and Laura Spink had no idea that they would be married one day — much less touring the world together as The Young Novelists. Since the band’s inception in 2009, they’ve played stages across the U.S. and Canada, released three full-length albums, won numerous awards and continuous praise for their unmatched, effortless harmonies. But for their new album in city & country, the Toronto-based band decided to travel out of the city and in to small-town Ontario in order to connect the two places. After years of firsthand experience combined with historical research, James and Spink wrote over 30 songs inspired by a dozen Canadian towns. From that set, in city & country was born — a collection of ten songs that tell the universal stories of both parallels while highlighting the differences, similarities, and everything in-between.
They both grew up in Ontario; Spink in Peterborough, James in Verona, a small eastern town with a population of a mere 1,800. They both moved to Waterloo for university, where they met via community theatre; but it wasn’t until James decided to refocus his career from drummer to frontman that they combined their talent musically. “I had written a bunch of songs and recorded them in my basement, mostly for posterity,” says James, “I asked Laura to sing harmony on some of the songs and it instantly had this magical vibe.” Shortly after James released his solo album Goodnight, Young Novelist (2009), he realized that in order to perform live, he needed to assemble a band to match the record’s full sound. After recruiting some musicians he had met over the years and touring the east coast as a six-piece, the band decided to stay together, becoming Graydon James & The Young Novelists. B
While their upcoming album in city & country will technically be their fourth album, it is their third studio album and second under the current moniker. Their last record made us strangers landed them a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist, a Vocal Group of the Year nomination, and reached top 20 on !earshot’s and Stingray Music’s (formerly Galaxie) folk charts. The same year, the band won the Grassy Hill Connecticut Folk Songwriting competition and James received the Ontario Art Council’s prestigious Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award. But 2016 was an even bigger year for the two — Spink quit her job as a scientist, they packed their things (and their five year old son Simon), and went on a massive North American tour. After over 100 shows, including a 10-week stint on the road, the pair returned to Toronto to start working on in city & country, drawing inspiration from their travels.
Set for release on May 4, 2018, The Young Novelists recorded in city & country with the help of JUNO-winning producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, The Wooden Sky). Recorded at Bilerman’s Hotel2Tango studios in Montreal, the duo returns with their classic him-and-her vocals, with James playing acoustic guitar and Spink on percussion and vibraphone. For the album’s fullness, they enlisted the help of bassist Derrick Brady, drummer Rory Calexico, and guitarist John Law.
The No matter where you’ve lived, the dichotomy that exists on in city & country is universal; it’s not just a memoir of the duo’s experiences or the histories of small towns, it’s about appreciating where you’ve been and where you’re at — and finding the good and bad that lies within both ♦
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Cutoff is Friday, June 8, 2018 5:39 pm EST unless it sells out earlier.