Oct. 31, 2012 - Issue #889-Human Trafficking Problem
Surviving the music industry is no easy task, but when the calendar flips and 2013 hits, singer-songwriter James Keelaghan will have been making a go of it for a quarter of a century.
Keelaghan initially used music as a way to put himself through university, and took the chance to record his first record when he graduated, telling himself he'd do it for a couple of years and return to academia to pursue a law degree.
"Twenty-five years later, I'm nowhere near that law degree," Keelaghan laughs over the phone while on the road to pick up his bandmates to start the next leg of his tour, which is bringing him to Spruce Grove's Horizon Stage for the first time.
He's now considered one of the country's finest songwriters, but Keelaghan remains humble about it all, stating no one's more surprised than himself for having a career that's gone on for so long. He says through it all, one of the most significant influences he's had is having the opportunity to travel the world and learn about how things are done in other countries, particularly in regards to different music scenes. Exploring other cultures has also lent itself well to the melodies of Keelaghan's traditional folk sound. Lyrically, he keeps ideas fresh by drawing on conversations, things he's read and history.
"History is just a topic that's getting bigger every day," he notes. "History is the way we figure stuff out ... The more you know about your own history, the more you know about yourself and the more society knows about its own history, the more it knows about itself."
After 11 albums and countless songs, Keelaghan notes he's at a point in his career where songwriting has become a much more organic and free-flowing process than it was in the beginning, when it was reliant on tight deadlines.
"When you look at the first album that I put out, theoretically it took me 26 years to write that album and then we get into this situation here it's like OK, let's put one out every two years. There's something to be said about having a deadline, but there's also something to be said for sort of relaxing into it and letting it come when it wants to come," note Keelaghan, who is currently gathering material for his 25th anniversary album, History and the First 25 Years. "The writing becomes more of a caress rather than a boot to the head."
Sun, Nov 4 (7:30 pm)
Horizon Stage, Spruce Grove, $25 – $30
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