Folk singer Don Brownrigg released his debut album Wander Songs—produced by and recorded at the Halifax home of Don McKay—in September of last year to much acclaim and ever-growing local audiences. He’s been a singing machine in the months since, playing all over town, in Ontario with Rose Cousins and back home in Newfoundland. But it was his other job, as one of the organizers of In the Dead of Winter, that got him national distribution and a spot on (weewerk)'s roster.
Brownrigg was in the process of hooking up IDOW headliner Great Lake Swimmers through (weewerk) honcho Phil Klygo. “I never mention to managers or agents that I’m a musician though,” says Brownrigg, “so Phil—thinking I was a promoter—sent me a couple discs from his roster. When he did, I sent him mine in return and he liked it. One day he sent me an email saying only the line ‘Let’s talk about re-releasing Wander Songs with weewerk.’”
(weewerk), whose team also includes Elliott Brood and Barmitzvah Brothers, will re-launch Wander Songs nationally on May 20. “He wants to be more of a partner with me more than anything—which is extremely welcoming to me,” says Brownrigg. “I’m a bit of a control freak. He didn’t want to change anything with the record. He realizes that I have a good handle on Halifax and the east but I’ve only ever really played the CMW shows in Toronto and the little tour with Rose in Ontario. So it’s good to have someone with a network like his to alley-oop me into Ontario, the west and overseas.”
Brownrigg, who produced Wander Songs through a combination of grant money and his own bank account, is happy to be supporting it for a new audience. “I have to take the approach that I’ll be bringing it to many people for the first time, I think, in order to be able to stand by it as a brand new album again,” he says. “It’s a pretty strong first record and I’m still doing a lot of firsts.” —Tara Thorne