As one of Halifax's busiest producers, Andrew Watt has birthed many artists in this city. Backed by Glory Glory Man United, Watt's new solo album release, First Day of Summer Life, reminds us this musical midwife makes his own music too.
"I've worked with hundreds of musicians, many of them friends or almost family and for my solo album I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone---stretch myself musically and production-wise," offers Watt.
A former member of The Heavy Blinkers, Watt's solo songs are not as tightly nailed down as that band's. They're not sloppy, but loose---emphasizing the tensility over the tension.
"I was always the piano stomper of the Blinkers, and I guess I always felt I had a bit more rock in me than Jason in our years working together," says Watt of his musical relationship with the band's co-founder Jason MacIsaac. "I'm not a rocker by any means but I really enjoyed working on these new tunes that punched a bit more than I was used to performing with the Blinkers."
Adam Warren (guitar), Gavin MacLean (bass) and Ryan Brown (drums) make up Glory Glory, as they're called for this recording. They walked into Watt's studio and quickly picked up his songs, he says.
Watt also praises Robert Drisdelle, who, at 21, arranged and played strings and horns. Chuck Blazevic (Dreamsploitation), whom Watt has mentored, mixed the album with him. Fellow Blinkers alumni Ruth Minnikin (vocals) and David Christensen (bass clarinet, flute) also helped bring Watt's album into the world.
The release of First Day of Summer Life arrives after the birth of Watt's son, who was born during the summer solstice last year. A sense of hope and anticipation binds these 10 songs.
"I suppose the first day of summer will always hold great meaning for me," says Watt. "That anticipation of summer life as a kid: shoes off, no school and all the time in the world---something I really miss as an adult."