This summer, In Our Sights will be reporting on Canada's newest crop of songwriters playing the festivals. This week, we focus on Nova Scotia's Carleton Stone.
Ever been at a show where a spray of sweat from the performers would reach the first row of the crowd? Well, if this isn't something you want to experience, then you might want to step a few feet back from the stage when young Carleton Stone plays.
His intense, energy-driven shows are becoming legendary, and they fit Stones’ hard-driving style. His second self-titled offering, produced by musical guru Hawksley Workman, garnered a nomination at this year's East Coast Music Awards. While the music spans a number of diverse styles, from gospel-influenced R&B to edgier rock, it still contains an unmistakable Maritime feel.
I caught up with Stone just before his anticipated June 30 appearance at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, N.S., and asked a few questions.
Q: You are performing at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. Why do you think Rogers had such a strong influence on songwriters?
A: I think Rogers had a real understanding of the struggles of working life in Canada. This understanding and compassion of another human's struggles is one of the most important qualities a songwriter needs to write about it convincingly. In this regard, I think Rogers was one of the best songwriters our country has ever produced, and also the reason why his songs still resonate so strongly with people today.
Q: Whom did you like to listen to growing up?
A: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams were probably the three most important artists for me growing up. Local songwriters like Gordie Sampson and Steven MacDougall also played a huge role in my music when I was in high school.
Q: Why are summer music festivals important for younger performers like yourself?
A: Festivals like Stan Rogers give younger artists like myself a chance to reach potential fans who may not be familiar with my music yet. Being asked to play these festivals also adds credibility to any touring artist's resumé.
Q: Is there one song out there that you wished you had written? Why?
A: “Tangled up in Blue” by Bob Dylan is one of those songs for me. The song tells a story – albeit one that's open to interpretation – evokes this feeling of sadness through the lyrics and images, but still the music feels like it's saying, “no time to sit around and reflect on the bad stuff life throws your way, you just got to keep moving and hope it turns out all right.”
Q: Do you now have a musical hero? (Someone that you have always admired.)
A: It's hard to pick just one, but the first person that comes to mind is Gordie Sampson. I really admire all the success he has achieved in his career, and the way he is so generous with giving back to young Nova Scotian writers like myself through his Songcamp. And he's a real awesome guy to boot.
If you are touring around the idyllic rolling hills near scenic Canso, N.S., around June 29-July 1, check out Carleton Stone at the Stan Rogers Folk Festival. Or catch Carleton Stone on July 29th in Port Hawkesbury, NS with Jimmy Rankin.
CBC Music summer festival map
The Long Distance Runners at the ECMA
The Meds - ECMA
The Backyard Devils
on Jun 25, 2012