Label: 604 Records
from Vancouver BC
Sometimes you have to get lost to truly find yourself, and you can certainly make that case with Autumns Cannon singer-guitarist Shaun Francisco. Following the passing of his mother back in 2009, the musician uprooted himself from his hometown of Maple Ridge, BC, and headed further east to a friend’s house in Ottawa to start a new beginning. The game-changing decision set Francisco on the path towards finding his bandmates in Autumns Cannon, and ultimately to find himself through song. Now, after a near four-year journey, the act’s debut album Open Letter is set to be released through 604 Records in 2013.
The melodic rock unit’s foundations were laid in the basement of Francisco’s adopted home, but he soon found a kindred spirit in drummer Mike Hogg. The two met while working at a local music store. It was during work hours when Francisco revealed early compositions like “Lonely Streets,” one of Open Letter’s many heartfelt highlights. From there, the two assembled what was to become Autumns Cannon.
“It’s the first song that we played together,” Hogg confirms of the cut. “If you go back to the first thing that we recorded, ‘Lonely Streets’ was one of those tunes.”
Francisco adds that the song is one of his most personal, and deals directly with the whirlwind of emotions he felt after losing his mother, and landing in Ottawa. The composition of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen inspired guitar and vocal melodies is also driven by the bands distortion-driven alt-country. Initially we see themes of hopelessness and despair, but then turns into the powerful message of redemption, fully encapsulated with Francisco’s passionate cry of “Come and heal my soul.”
“At times I’ve felt extremely lonely and uncertain, leaving and uprooting myself from the place I grew up in,” the frontman says thoughtfully about the trying time period chronicled in “Lonely Streets.” “That song signified me expressing the emotion of digging deep and persevering. Lyrically, it was all there. It was my story.”
This is just the beginning of Autumns Cannon’s journey. Over the last few years, the act—which also includes guitarist Nick Beaton, bassist Mark Laforest, and keyboardist-guitarist Marty Sobb— has further refined their music, writing in excess of 30 songs for Open Letter. Working at the Bathouse Studio just off of Lake Ontario, as well as Signal Path Studio in Almonte, Ontario, producers Gord Sinclair of the Tragically Hip, and Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat, helped the unit trim down the collection to a tidy ten.
While cuts like “Lonely Streets” have travelled with the band since day one, the first single and title track “Open Letter” was one of four tunes on the album written spontaneously in the studio. The energetic pop-rock number juices up the tempo, and slides in some extra-crunchy riff work before Francisco lets into a tale of two souls unable to express themselves properly in person.
“That song is about a breakdown in communication. It expresses the frustration where two people want to close the distance between one another, but have lost themselves in a fight that keeps them a part” he says of the single. “The thing that keeps them fighting for one another are the memories flashing in their thoughts in the midst of their breakdown.”
The emotional palette on Open Letter is wide, though, with the band shedding just as much light on the good times as the bad. Lovelorn but hopeful ballad “Wrecking Ball” is laced with tender piano plunks and acoustic six-string strums, while the heart-tugging, steady drive of the gospel organ in “Bury the Guns” asks for peace, unity and understanding in these trying times. Elsewhere, Autumns Cannon question material things, and the hard pace of the working man on the jangly rocker“ Let the Money Run Dry,” and completely cut loose on “Shake It Off,” a fist-pumping anthem that will have the 9-to-5 folk set fire to their neckties in no time.
“Mainly, the message that seems to come out of every song is that ‘I’m not going to quit. I won’t give up. I’m going to persevere,’” Francisco states confidently. “We’re going to find hope again.”
It may have taken Autumns Cannon a few years to find their way, but the group is sure to stick around for a number of years to come.
|Shaun Francisco||Vocals, guitar|
|Nick Beaton||Lead guitar|