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Five Questions With… Terry Savage

The gritty honky-tonker from Orillia has released a new album Rollin’ Heavy. Here he discusses its approach, his artistic evolution, life balance, and tripping at Waynestock.

Five Questions With… Terry Savage

By Jason Schneider

If you’re a fan of honest, gritty and sometimes funny stories told against the backdrop of vintage country music sounds, then Terry Savage and his longtime loyal ragged company from Orillia, Ontario, have everything you’re looking for.


In fact, Savage’s new album Rollin’ Heavy is a major step forward in all respects following two previous independent releases. Produced and engineered by Rob Currie at his namesake studio in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Rollin’ Heavy builds on the notoriety Savage has garnered over the past few years from his hell raisin’ live performances and widely shared videos such as Runnin’ Through My Mind.

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Songs on Rollin’ Heavy like Dear John Note, Talkin’ In My Sleep and The Dust Will Settle reflect Savage’s maturity as a songwriter drawing from his personal experiences. However, the backwoods humour is still present on Full Pull and other tracks that should appeal to anyone who works hard and plays hard. Those familiar with the Canadian alt-country scene will likely hear echoes of trailblazer Corb Lund, but Savage points to others who consistently validate his take on country music.

Since 2015, Savage and the band have also shared stages with White Cowbell Oklahoma, and taken prominent spots at Barrie’s Canada Day celebrations, Orillia’s Roots North Festival, Hard Rock Cafe Niagara Falls, and the Mariposa Folk Festival. Now with Rollin’ Heavy under his belt, Savage is hitting Canada with a potent display of what country music is supposed to be.

Terry Savage plays Jasper, Alberta on June 12 and Red Deer, Alberta June 13 with more dates to come. Follow him on Facebook here

 

What sets Rollin’ Heavy apart from your past work?

This record was done pretty much live off the floor, and only four songs have drums. It’s almost a bluegrass record, which is totally different from the vibes from anything else we’ve recorded.

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What songs on the album are you particularly proud of?

I’m pretty proud of Full Pull. I put that song out on Facebook the minute I finished writing it.I recorded myself playing it in my paint shop, and it went viral. Pretty unexpected! I’m also particularly proud of Dear John Note, the opener, I think because it’s so different from most things I’ve written.

How would you describe your artistic evolution?

Up until the last year or so, we were known locally as a “fun” band that did Waylon and Corb covers and such. We were using the name Terry Savage and the Wonky Honkees, which was silly because a lot of our songs were silly. After the songs for this new album started coming together, I realized how much more serious the sound was, so we dropped the Wonky Honkees from the name. It just didn’t fit anymore, so I think that pretty well sums up our artistic evolution.

What’s been the biggest change in your life over the past year?

I guess it was realizing that I need a better balance between my business—custom motorcycle paint—and my music career. You can’t play every show you’re offered, unfortunately.

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What’s your best touring story?

I can’t elaborate too much, but it involves doing acid in Wayne, Alberta at Waynestock. It’s pretty high on the list anyway, pun intended. 

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

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