Royal Wood strums to town

Keely Dakin
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Music started early for Royal Wood. The Canadian singer and songwriter is putting on a five-piece band show at the E.A. Rawlinson on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

Royal Wood

“This is what I was drawn to as a kid. You know? I started playing piano when I was around four and (I was) the kid that instead of picking up the hockey stick or baseball glove like my brothers, I wanted to play music.”

Wood has received recognition for his music especially in the last two years, including a 2011 Juno Nomination and his 2012 album, We Were Born To Glory reaching the Canadian Top 25.

A professional singer and musician for more than a decade, Wood has been making music since he was a child in a noisy farmhouse with four siblings in Ontario.

We Were Born To Glory has received particular attention for its divergence from Wood’s previous style.

“I tend to be rather sombre, in terms of a performer and songwriter. It’s only on this last record that I’ve made something that seems really up-tempo and hopeful and energetic. Maybe that’s just being comfortable where I am now in my thirties.

Despite years in the industry, he is still juiced for the work.

“It’s not like I haven’t done other things in my life, but this is the one driving passion. So it is still continuing. Who knows what I’ll be, you know, 20 years from now, but right now I love what I do.”

“There is passion for creating that’s found its way to come out in music.”

He has put that passion to use in the creation of four complete albums, as well as collaborations and singles.

“Albums are a real effort,” Wood said.

“It’s totally consuming, it really does take over your life. And you go through these stages where you’re writing it and then suddenly you’re thrown into recording it and then you’re mixing it, and then you’re in touring and publicity, which is where I’m about to begin.”

To get to that point, the words must be written, and he made a special effort with the lyrics for We Were Born To Glory.

“I just wanted to kind of unplug for a while, so I tried not to think about any of the business side of my career. And I wrote every day.  And that’s the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to do that. I think that’s why this record really has a certain thread that ties it all together. It really feels like it comes from one specific time in my life.”

As well as writing, Wood plays several instruments, and has also done his own production and arranging.

“I certainly feel the Canada I am in now is not the Canada I was in as a kid,” Wood said. “Politically speaking, culturally speaking.”

“In the beginning it was all me doing everything,” Wood said.

“I definitely build what’s around me. Always have. So, whether that’s ego or vanity, I don’t know, but mostly I think I just enjoy the process.”

While he drives the process, Wood has discovered he also relishes working with others.

“What I’ve learned as I’ve gone along is you let someone in to aid in production and you let other musicians perform, it is just all these different colours, that you never would have had access to,” Wood said.

“It’s greater than the sum of its parts,” he said.

Wood has seen some changes in his home country in the 30-plus years he’s been around, which like all parts of life, influence his music.

“I certainly feel the Canada I am in now is not the Canada I was in as a kid,” Wood said. “Politically speaking, culturally speaking.”

“When I was a kid, it was all maple syrup, beaver, ah shucks Canada,” Wood said.

“Now, kids are walking through medical detectors,” he said.

As a citizen and an artist he notes these changes and what they might mean for himself, his music and the next generation.

“I think that change is inevitable. I think that Canada should be far prouder as a country than we are. I think we have been too apologetic, and we are the last people to celebrate Canadian artists unless the rest of the world has celebrated them. So I hope that’s changing,” he said.

There is one change he does not wish to see.

“In terms of wanting to be like the United States, I don’t want to be the United States of America. I would much rather be Canada with a proper healthcare and education system.”

Wood says he is looking forward to performing at the E.A. Rawlinson and to presenting the audience with big-band sound along with his artistic intimacy.

“This particular tour is a full band plus an extra member … I’m really trying to do the record justice. Not like there won’t be moments of just myself at the piano or myself at the guitar. I’ll still have the quieter moments people might have come to expect, but I really wanted to make a show. It’s gonna be lively.”

Tickets are available online or at the ticket box for $32.55.

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario, United States of America

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