‘I’ll play the Marigold anytime’: Sherwood

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By Melanie Grant

Ian Sherwood looking forward to playing Truro with Erin Costelo

Multi-award winning singer/songwriter Ian Sherwood is coming to Truro on Jan. 18.


Ian Sherwood and Erin Costelo are coming to the Marigold on Jan. 18 and I was lucky enough to sit down with multi-award winning Sherwood and ask him a few questions about himself, his writing and why he likes Truro.

Q. First I’d like to know what triggers your writing?

A. It’s funny, it could be anything. For this new album, I wanted to have a certain number of songs by the time we started into the studio, so that meant that I couldn’t just wait around for the muse to hit me, I actually had to focus and make myself write. So I got myself into a habit of writing every day for a certain amount of time. And that was great because it got me into this flow and it got my creative juices happening and every day I was writing something.

And that was sort of a snowball effect, the more I try to do it — the more it actually starts to happen. And when that happened, I was surprised by what I was writing. I was writing about things that happened to me years ago, things that were happening right in the moment. I was writing kids songs, country songs, blues songs, it was all coming out. I wasn’t filtering anything.

I would finish a song to the best of my ability and then quickly move on to another song. And I found that that approach, of not over analyzing it, not over writing, I was able to write a large amount in a short period of time.

Q. You’ve created music for the film “Wake,” an independent film out of Halifax, and “Grandma Noda’s Tigers,” a play performed at Neptune. What were those experiences like and how did you get into them?

A. It was really different and amazing. I met Jeremy Webb, who directed Wake, through my wife Genevieve Steel, who is an actor in Halifax. Jeremy and I started talking and he knew that I was making music and he said, “Hey, this is my first experience doing this kind of thing, if you (Ian) would like to help create some music for this that would be great.” So it was my first experience dipping into the film world.

Q. Did you do individual songs like you would for an album, or did you do background music to scenes?

A. Yeah, it was sort of a mixture of both. I wrote the theme song, then instrumental bits from that song came out during the course of the film. It was only a five-minute film. It was a very short film.

Grandma Noda’s was a very different experience. We were using found objects in order to create sound, which was the idea behind the play itself. So more like a ‘sound-scape’ where every night it was very different. There were themes to the music that I would use, but every night it was a little different because it was slightly improvised.

Q. You had to be on your toes.

A. Yeah, absolutely. You are a part of the show; you can’t check out at all, you basically have to be right there.

Q. You have four albums released: “Ian Sherwood,” “Art of Conversation,” “And now the fun begins” and “Live at the Hive,” and you have a new album coming out this fall, through Indiegogo. How are you finding that experience?

A. Great! I reached my goal last night, but I have a week left so I’m hoping to raise a little more money on top of that. Making albums, touring albums and marketing, it’s an endless amount of money you can spend on it, so the more you make the better it ends up being.

Q. You performed here at the Marigold with Coco Love Alcorn, you even did an EP with her, “Attic Music,” but you’ve also performed with Charlie A’Court, Ria Mae and Carmel Michol, among others — and when you come to the Marigold this month you and Erin Costelo are on stage together. Is performing with other Nova Scotia musicians part of our musical culture here in the Maritimes or is it something you seek out?

A. It’s a part of the culture, but it’s also fun. Especially when you find someone else that’s really like-minded or you really get along with. It’s great to see how your music can function together. But also, it just makes good sense. You’re cross-pollinating your audiences, if you find the right artist who has an audience that might be interested in what you’re doing, and vice versa. It ends up working out great for everyone.

Q. We’re excited to see you and Erin perform together; your sounds are so different. We’re interested to see how you make that work.

A. I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I know it’s going to be good, but we’re in the “getting to know you” stage of working together. It makes it exciting on our end, because anything can happen. And I really enjoy that. With someone as talented and awesome as Erin, you know it’s not going to be bad, it’s going to be great, it’s just at what level of great it’s going to be.

Q. I’ve read that you really enjoy performing at house concerts. While the Marigold is not a house, we like to think we have an intimate atmosphere in our little theatre. Is that one of the reasons you like to play here?

A. Yeah. The last time I played there it felt really intimate. House concerts are great, but I love playing in a theatre. It’s kind of what it’s all about. You know, people buy their tickets, they sit down in a nice comfy seat, it’s very well presented. You know, presented by a company that really knows how to give something to their audience. Playing on a stage, with a proper sound system and lights, for an audience in good seats… you just can’t beat that, that’s amazing.

Q. Why are you excited to play in our town?

A. I’m excited to play in Truro because of your theatre, first and foremost. Because it’s a beautiful theatre — it really is. And the times that I’ve been there have been fantastic. I’ve been treated really well… it’s a beautiful sounding room. I remember Coco and I talking about it after our show, saying, “Wow, this place sounds great, it feels great, it’s easy to sing in and the audience is great too.” I’ll play the Marigold anytime because it’s just a great spot.

For more on Sherwood, or to listen to him, visit www.iansherwood.com. Tickets for his show can be purchased at the Marigold box office or at www.marigoldcentre.ca.

Melanie Grant is the fundraising coordinator and MacLellan and Moffatt Financial Art Gallery curator at the Marigold Cultural Centre. She lives in Truro. www.marigoldcentre.ca

Organizations: Marigold Cultural Centre, Moffatt Financial Art Gallery

Geographic location: Truro, COLCHESTER, Halifax Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Dolores Kayser
    January 16, 2014 - 13:40

    Great interview Melanie!!