Knock on Royal Wood at Communitea
The prince of piano is returning to the Valley.
Royal Wood, riding the crest of his latest album – We Were Born To Glory – will roll into Communitea Café in Canmore on Wednesday (Oct. 24).
“I played The Banff Centre on the last run and I’ve played the Communitea Café a couple times,” he said, in an interview with the Outlook. “For one, the scenery is pretty spectacular, but more than that, the community out in Western Canada, they really support music and they really want to be there and want to be a part of the show and want to listen.
“It’s amazing how much it changes from province to province, city to city, in this country,” he added. “Canmore has always been a great room to play. The promoter’s amazing and the crowd is always the kind of crowd you want to have.
“It’s not my usual stop, considering the size of the venue, but sometimes in your touring you have days you need to fill in, and on certain tours I’ve done small markets on purpose, and wanted to play a storyteller show and just travel with one other musician, and Communitea was perfect for that.”
We Were Born To Glory, released earlier this year, is the Montreal resident’s fourth full-length album.
“It was written in a pretty condensed amount of time,” explained Wood. “I checked into a studio in Montreal for a number of hours each day and wrote, and had some wine and coffee in there somewhere, and just took myself off the road.
“When The Waiting came out in 2010, I was constantly on the road, which is a good thing, but I felt like I needed to unplug and create something. In doing so, I think that’s why it’s such a cohesive record, all written in a certain amount of time. So a lot of the themes are similar and what I was doing with my life portrayed itself very graphically with the lyrics and it ended up being a very energetic, hopeful part of my life, examining bigger questions.”
Relentless touring, however, is Wood’s main motivation for the return to Canmore.
“I love the aspect of performance, and I love travelling all over the world and getting paid to do so,” he said. “And it’s a necessity – we live in an age where radio’s disappearing and media’s disappearing and brick and mortar stores are disappearing – so if you want to sell records, you better get on the road.”
While Wood admits there are now a lot of other artists out on the road, he doesn’t see them as competition.
“We’re inundated with copycat artists and the hit sound of the day, and everywhere you go there’s a poster for a song that’s just like the song you just heard,” he said. “Those ones will fall away fast, because they’re just filling this little niche, and I think the true test of an artist is one who has a body of work that doesn’t get pigeonholed into artists before them.
“Obviously we’re all an amalgamation of our influences, what we listen to, what we read, but I think people can have a unique voice and I think Canada has quite a few of them.”
Playing both guitar and piano, Wood will be coming to town with a five-piece band.
“I always prefer a real piano, it’s always on the tech rider, but some things aren’t possible,” he said. “They have a certain magic and energy, there’s something that resonates deeply in me on an old piano and I’ve been in venues where when you get the piano it’s this old beast which most artists probably wouldn’t touch, and I’d still prefer to play it over a synthesizer any day of the week.
“They have a character and a charm that just can’t be created by a computer.”
Opening the show will be a performance by Elisapie Isaac.
“I haven’t worked with her, but we have crossed circles many a time in the last couple of years,” said Wood. “She’s a great artist based out of Quebec, and it’s funny how Quebec is its own bubble – she has done very well there, but I don’t think the rest of Canada has caught on – so we’re hoping this is a way for her to break through.”
For more information on Wood and Isaac, visit their websites at www.royalwood.ca and elisapie.com
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