Growing up in public is one thing, but surviving and even profiting from the experience is another thing entirely. Patrick Kordyback, Daniel Johnson, and Robb Chalifoux could have easily flamed out after the release of Uncontrollable in 2010, their last album together as Top 40 hitmakers Stereos. Instead, they regrouped, hit the road, and found what they’d been looking for all along. “It was dramatic, but it had to end,” vocalist Kordyback says of the long drive to a Nashville country music festival the three friends took in the late summer of 2012. “Our last band was like going to college,” he adds. “We saw every good thing in the music industry that can happen to you, and every bad thing. But college was out and we had to find jobs in the real world.” Hanging in Nashville with acoustic guitars, getting real, surrounded by the kind of music they’d grown up with in the prairies and reconnecting as friends—it was under these conditions that their former group was put to rest and I65 was born. “It felt amazing to be writing music that was true to our hearts,” says guitarist Chalifoux of Dear Heart, Do You Miss Me Back Home?, the album that has arrived two years later. Work shopped with Dave Ogilvie and Colin Janz at Vancouver’s late, lamented Mushroom Studios—a magic zone that has seen its share of legends—Dear Heart announces its intent with a pitch perfect marriage of heartland rock and contemporary sound in the soaring opening bars of “(We Are) Not Alone.” Chalifoux cites “true blue collar songwriters speaking the truth” as the primary inspiration. Kordyback and Johnson throw names like Tom Petty, The Killers, The Boss and even The Clash into the mix, and those influences ripple through Dear Heart. The bodywork is all I65, mind you. Debut single “Another Summer” chimes at the top end, thumps at the bottom, and hangs a mighty stadium sized hook between the two, complete with E Street gang vocals and the kind of chorus built to lodge itself into the classic rock playlists of the future. “Something Tells Me” is all hook and one long insistent push from the rhythm section, furnished with a snarling guitar solo and a perfect smear of Hammond organ. It’s the kind of Midwestern guitar rock that’s brightened your life from “Jessie’s Girl” to “Sam’s Town,” via Edmonton, Alberta. “Great Lakes”, meanwhile, is all-climax, like the perpetually building, emotion and atmospherics-rich guitar epics that U2 used to write and everybody from Arcade Fire to the band in next door’s practice space has tried to emulate ever since. I65 finds a way of squeezing it into a perfectly deployed and highly efficient three-minute radio song—a skill they obviously learned from those years playing to the arena crowd. Turns out college does have its uses after all. “The purpose was to fall in love with songwriting again,” remarks Chalifoux, and on the evidence of Dear Heart and their passionate rebirth as musical brothers, that mission was accomplished. Or, as a proud and much wiser Kordyback puts it, “Our demographic with this record? Just the three of us.”
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|Daniel Johnson |
Status: Available for Shows/Gigs
- Last confirmed Aug. 14, 2014