by Zach Fleisher
We’re rolling down Hazel Street in Winnipeg Beach and I can already feel it; the calm tone of an acoustic guitar, gentle laughter among close friends and the always refreshing breeze of Lake Winnipeg. As we walk up to the deck and into the sunroom of 228 Hazel, I notice folks in hushed tone of conversation; local recording artist Claire Bones is currently recording a track in the main cottage room, doubling as a makeshift recording haven and I’m told that we all need to whisper in order to continue our conversation.
Welcome to Beach Station Blues, a project spearheaded and coordinated by local music aficionados, Gilad Carroll, Adam Soloway and Josh Winestock, all of Winnipeg. These budding musicians have planned this project extensively and heralded it through their recording company and organization, Real Love Winnipeg, formed last year. The idea works as a plan to bring a dozen or so bands to a quaint cottage in Winnipeg Beach for a weekend and for each of the bands to record one song in the cramped and converted studio, with the results being mastered and released at a later date as a compilation record.
Carroll and Soloway are the original brainchildren behind the project and brought Winestock in as a third voice last year. In talking to the pair, they spoke of their plans to hold these recording sessions annually, building on the successes of last year’s effort, which included fresh songs from local favourites such as The Hoots, Micah Erenberg, as well as a psychedelic jazz track from Brandon University alumnus Dave Thiel and Winestock. Despite some unfortunate delays, the record from the initial recording sessions was released last December and stands as a fair and accurate depiction of the music written and recorded during the sessions.
2013’s edition of Beach Station Blues features even more local groups; among others are returning artists Poorboy, new addition Surprise Party, as well the local Winnipeg buzz group Animal Teeth. One addition for this year, which serves as an area of focus outside the main release of the record, is the recording of Deck Sessions. These Deck Sessions feature some of the bands involved with the project recording outside of the makeshift studio and instead performing on the deck of the cottage for a much simpler and stripped down sound.
For Soloway, the main focus of the project lies not only in the recording of the music itself, but also the fact that “bands are meeting other bands,” referring to the idea of community and camaraderie that naturally develops between groups while they are out for the weekend. According to him, a lot of the groups that played on the initial record last summer ended up playing shows together throughout the year at various Winnipeg venues. Beyond the music, partnerships and friendships form here that will likely last years after this jam-packed weekend of musical exploration. Soloway also remarks “each day keeps on getting better and better” as they keep on recording and enjoying the fine atmosphere that this creative environment accords them.
Some artists at the weekend praise the physical location and atmosphere of the project, in particular. Adam Nikkel of Animal Teeth speaks highly of the idea behind the project, pointing to the relaxed feel of the cottage.
“[It] gives you a chance to explore a song in a way you couldn’t normally,” Nikkel tells me as we sit on the deck and quietly listen to the recording taking place in the room over. “We don’t hear each other usually. [There is] no pressure, you can kind of explore and do what you want.”
While attending the recording sessions, I could truly sense that most of the performers were truly at ease. In many ways, this was a musical paradise, with the freedom to what folks wanted to do. The whole seems to project and extremely down to earth environment.
So what comes next for Beach Station Blues and Real Love Winnipeg? Gilad Carroll tells me that after this weekend, they are moving to have the album mixed and mastered and Real Love Winnipeg is aiming for a September release. Stemming from the inaugural release, Carroll mentions that he has “high goals for the project” and that he’d like to see these recording sessions evolve into a biannual event, with both a summer and winter meeting for the groups, which would inevitably create a separate dynamic for both sessions. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled and for the both the impending release of, as well the timed announcement of the individual Deck Sessions and a launch party for the record.
For information on the project, feel free to check out last years record at http://reallovewinnipeg.bandcamp.com/ or email the fine folks at Real Love Winnipeg (at) [email protected] Check out the Real Love Release show this Saturday, September 28th at the Windsor Hotel (187 Garry), featuring Claire Bones, Slow Spirit, Naysa and Surprise Party.