It may be his name front and centre on the cover, but Shawn Tavenier is quick to point out that his debut CD, About Time, is a group effort in every sense of the word.
When the Kanata-born- and-raised musician set out to make his album, he didn’t envision a backing band. But when a few friends helped him take his personal musings on life, love and break-ups — done alt-country style with a healthy infusion of rock and a sampling of blues — into the studio, Shawn Tavenier and Silver Creek were born.
“These are great musicians who helped me achieve the sound I wanted,” explains Tavenier.
“We were a band that was kind of born in the studio and once we started working together and writing it was just natural and out came more and more.”
Tavenier’s voice is the predominant one throughout the 11-track disc, but it’s hard not to take notice of the influence of Silver Creek. The band features some of Ottawa’s hardest-working musicians including guitarist/singer Anders Drerup, pianist Tyler Kealey, bass player Mark Laforest, organist Jeff Rogers, Shane McEwan on drums and — fittingly — John Steele on pedal steel guitar.
He’s been a name and face in the local scene for several years now solo and as part of The Bourbon Brothers Band, but Tavenier says it wasn’t until he finished this album — and got the satisfaction of opening the new box full of “fresh smelling” CDs — that he really began to think of himself as an artist.
“Until I got into the studio and started working on this I thought of myself more as an entertainer than a musician, but I feel like all this work and my passion for music has been validated a little.”
What Tavenier is also passionate about is helping to put Ottawa on the map as a major musical hotspot. He is happy to talk about his fond memories playing and watching others play at Bluesfest — a gig he and his bandmates have had the pleasure of playing a few times. And he praises many local venues that are making an effort to support live, original music.
But he still feels many musicians get overlooked by those both inside and outside the city.
“Ottawa’s a self-conscious city and we don’t like to brag. Montreal has this attitude that they’re cooler than everybody else and Toronto thinks it’s the centre of the universe, but I think there are plenty of musicians here who could give people in those cities a run for their money,” Tavenier says.
“And we’re the kind of city where you can play a show for 2,000 or more people one night, and the next be back on a bar stool singing to five uninterested people. But you do it because you love it.”
- Shawn Tavenier & Silver Creek play a CD release show at Barrymore’s tonight, with Amos the Transparent and Tympanic opening the show. Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 in advance at www.ticketweb.ca, Compact Music, CD Warehouse and CD Baby. Doors open at 8 p.m.