Cochrane’s Lucas Chaisson has lot to be happy about. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter is set to release his newest album, Telling Time, April 2. Recorded in Nashville, Tenn. last July, Chaisson had the pleasure of recording his third album with veteran musician and producer Colin Linden, who’s played and worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn and Colin James.
Both his previous full-length albums, No Loitering and Growing Pains, earned Canadian Folk Music Award nominations for “Young Performer of the Year,” and won in 2012 for Growing Pains. He’s performed at folk festivals in Edmonton, Canmore, Winnipeg and Calgary, as well as venues like The Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts.
We spoke with the busy young troubadour about his newest album and his time down in Nashville.
Eagle: How’s Edmonton been treating you?
Chaisson: It’s been really good, I guess it’s been just over a year since I’ve been up here. I was commuting up here a lot before I moved because all the guys in my band live here. There were a couple of weeks where I did it three times in a week.
Eagle: We’re impressed with your beard. We interviewed folkster Craig Cardiff and asked him what is the historical relationship between beards and men of folk. What is your take?
Chaisson: I don’t know. I didn’t even start growing a beard for an image thing; it was just kind of like a lazy thing. I just don’t like shaving. I started growing a beard when I was under 18 and I was trying to sneak into shows and bars and play gigs in bands that I shouldn’t be playing, so it helped with those things.
Eagle: Returning to the album, what was your goal with Telling Time? And what can people expect?
Chaisson: It’s a big step from the last album for sure. The goal changed a lot throughout the project; this particular project for like three years. When I finally made up mind on going to Nashville and doing it with Colin (Linden), I think the goal was to make a really good record, live off the floor that doesn’t necessarily sound like an off-the-floor record. It’s honestly like a big jam session – it’s just with musicians I could never afford to keep in my touring band.
(The album) is definitely way more folky, more rootsy. The songwriting is a lot better. For this one I had so much material to choose from. Colin and I probably listened to 25 songs of mine and cut that down to 12.
Eagle: It was originally called Ghost Stories, but we heard it had to be changed due to a conflict with Coldplay album. Why did you choose Telling Time?
Chaisson: It’s a little snippet of what was originally going to be the title track. I wanted to keep it something from that song because I think it sums up the whole project. I think it ended up being a better title than Ghost Stories.
Eagle: What has been the most rewarding part of the process?
Chaisson: Getting a chance to work with the people. They were all world-class musicians and engineers. I’ve never had an opportunity to play with anyone of that caliber. It was pretty eye opening. The whole recording process isn’t something I’m great at doing for my own music, it’s always been a challenge. I just had so much fun playing with the guys in the band. Colin plays guitar in Bob Dylan’s band and the guy on drums is Bruce Cockburn’s drummer. It was a pretty awesome group of guys to play with. They were all just very excited about the project as well.
Eagle: You worked with Colin Linden, who plays with Bob Dylan, on this new album. What was his best piece of advice for you?
Chaisson: The best wisdom Colin gave me was: “There’s something beautiful about not singing beautiful about not singing beautifully.”
He was all about capturing the spirit of the performance.
He was always telling me to lose myself in the song and everything else will fall in place around that. That was his mantra throughout the record – capturing the magic of the live performance.
Eagle: Do you make a greater effort in trying to connect with the audience or do you allow the music to speak for itself?
Chaisson: I find the best shows are when I’m not thinking about anything at all. I’ve tried to be more engaging, more actively engaged with the audience, some people do it really but it’s not my thing, it always seems kind of forced and uncomfortable. I can kind of act like I do in everyday, which is not very over-the-top.
Eagle: Any guilty pleasures?
Eagle: I know you haven’t even had the CD release party for this album yet, but what’s next for you?
Chaisson: I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought into it, but I do have a ton of songs that need to be recorded. I think I’m going to really concentrate for the next year and a bit on promoting this record. When this record comes out, it will be three-and -a-half years since I released my last record and closer to four since it was done. It just took so long because I really want to do this one the right way because I believed in the songs a lot more. I feel like I had a collection of songs at a caliber I hadn’t really introduced to anyone yet; I was coming into my own as a songwriter. With the next one, I’m not sure when it will happen but it won’t be another three years. I think that this record will help make the other one happen.
Chaisson will be in Edmonton April 2 to release Telling Time and then in Calgary April 10 for his CD release party. He’ll return to Cochrane June 19 during his summer tour.