TORONTO - Steven Page has lined up a couple of co-writers for his first solo album since leaving the Barenaked Ladies, but says most of the disc will be penned by him.

"I just wrote some songs with Craig Northey from the Odds, who is a great longtime friend of mine and a fantastic writer. I'm really happy with that," said Page.

"And I have a few songs I've written with Stephen Duffy on this record," he added in an interview.

"But I'm also pushing myself to write a lot on my own."

The Toronto-born singer-songwriter is pursuing solo career after a turbulent year.

Last summer, he, his girlfriend and her roommate were charged with drug possession in Fayetteville, N.Y. The charges were later dismissed.

And in February, the Barenaked Ladies announced Page - who fronted and co-founded the group - was splitting from the group.

Since then, he's recorded and mixed an album with the Art of Time Ensemble and created tunes for Stratford Shakespeare Festival's production of "Bartholomew Fair."

The satire, written by Shakespeare's contemporary, Ben Jonson, is running through Oct. 2 at the southwestern Ontario theatre festival.

"It kind of works all the different parts of your brain and I like that a lot," he said of scoring for Stratford, something he's done twice before. "I like the challenge of using what I know I'm good at and then discovering other parts."

Page is now set to hit the road for a cross-country summer-festival tour, starting July 4 at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ont.

In the fall, he plans to head into the studio to record his solo album for a release sometime next year.

He says he's already written an album's worth of songs and is creating more.

The project, he says, will likely be wide-ranging musically.

"It's still my voice and it's still my songwriting style but ... the Barenaked Ladies records have always been very musically eclectic (and) I'm sure this will be as well," he said.

"It'll be all over the map stylistically, but I certainly have the opportunity to choose whatever I want to do."



On the Net:

www.stratfordfestival.ca