When the Graham Brown Band rolled into the region March 2020 for its annual tour, band members had no idea this would be their last gig for two years. Fortunately, the visit turned into a dual-purpose adventure.
“One of our gigs at LB’s got cancelled. I don’t remember why. So, what do you do with time on your hands? I found a studio to record a few songs. It was called Edmonton Studios, a funky little place. That day we recorded 18 songs live-off-the floor,” said St. Albert-raised Graham Brown.
During the lockdown, the recordings were tossed onto a shelf collecting dust and practically forgotten.
“I had lots of time on my hands, and I was cleaning out an old wardrobe. I found it and wondered what it sounded like. I took it to an old friend, Bill Buckingham, an engineer and producer, and asked him what he thought. I wasn’t expecting to hear from him for a while, but he called me back right away and said, ‘This is your next album.’ But I didn’t believe him,” Brown said.
The Vancouver-based roots rocker trekked down to Buckingham’s Palace Studio and listened to the tracks. Sure enough, the songs were great, and the band was tight. Mostly they delivered electric energy showcasing a band at the peak of its power.
The result was Spirit & Soul officially released in July 2021. With pandemic restrictions lifted across Canada, the band is planning a three-stop tour for Alberta. It takes in Calgary, Red Deer, and St. Albert on Saturday, April 9, at LB’s Pub.
For more than 30 years, Brown has performed with the same musicians in different projects including Happyman and Graham Brown & The Prairie Dogs. His musicians feature guitarist-keyboardist Rob Blackburn, bassist John Werner, and drummer Mark Gruft.
As the band’s primary songwriter, Brown fills the 11-track with relationship songs about love: enduring love, unrequited love, and love gone wrong. Let’s Get High is a simple love song. Drink for Two reflects the morning after a dark experience. And the ballad Don’t Be Afraid encourages everyone to be their own person.
As for Haunted, the band’s first single was written in a matter of days.
“It’s about a man in love with a woman and they’re friends. He’s always loved her, but he hasn’t told her and she’s taking advantage of him.”
And while the album is loaded with fancy six-string pyrotechnics, it is balanced with several soulful pieces such as Naturally, a tribute written to the late Tom Petty on the day he died.
The concert at LB’s also promises to introduce some new songs, such as Feathers Down.
“It’s heavy, a deep, rich, crunchy song with good electric guitar. It’s about people that put themselves above others — people that are a bunch of peacocks.”
Brown encourages the community to step out, spread some love, and dance once more with friends.
“Be kind to each other and take care of each other. Life goes by pretty fast.”
The concert starts 9 p.m. at 23 Akins Dr. Cover charge: $10.