Five Questions With… Tim Chiasson of The East Pointers
The fiddler/vocalist in the Juno-winning PEI folk trio discusses their second album, What We Leave Behind, champagne breakfasts, and the perils of bushfires as they travel the globe.
By Jason Schneider
Fresh off the release of their single “Two Weeks” from their Juno Award-nominated sophomore release What We Leave Behind, Prince Edward Island’s The East Pointers have announced additional dates for their upcoming Canadian tour that kicks off in Medicine Hat, Alberta on Oct. 9. Along with hitting eight cities in Western Canada, the band will play Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto before finishing up the tour in London, ON, on Nov. 4.
The East Pointers are comprised of fiddler/vocalist Tim Chaisson, banjoist Koady Chaisson, and guitarist Jake Charron, with their Celtic-inspired sound blurring the lines between traditional music and pop. What We Leave Behind was produced by fellow East Coast songwriter/producer Gordie Sampson and features songs ranging from sombre and hauntingly beautiful to joyous and celebratory.
The trio’s Juno nomination this year adds to a list of accolades including a 2017 Juno Award for Traditional Roots Album of the Year as well as a 2016 Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. The band also recently won four Music P.E.I. Awards including Group Recording of the Year, Roots Contemporary Recording of the Year, Song of the Year and Touring Artist of the Year and wrapped sold-out tours of Australia, UK and the US.
Tim Chaisson spoke to us about how The East Pointers have evolved since the release of their 2015 debut album, and how they’re bringing folk music to a new generation of listeners. Find out more at eastpointers.ca.
You’ll be playing across Canada this fall. How has your touring elsewhere been going?
It’s been great! This summer we’re mostly playing festivals—we’ll be heading to Estonia and England next and then to Denmark. We’ve been on an international tour route for the last few years and are now we’re ready to dedicate our entire fall to Canada. We’re particularly excited to play the towns we haven’t been to before.
You’ve also just released a new single from What We Leave Behind. How does this record stand apart from your last album?
I think this record was much more thought out than Secret Victory. We spent more time on songwriting, production and sounds. We also worked with a producer, Gordie Sampson, on this one. He’s terrific with arrangements, so he was a perfect fit.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
We started off very acoustic—fiddle, banjo and guitar—and only playing instrumental tunes. We were all songwriters so I guess it was inevitable that we’d eventually incorporate that aspect into our sound. We also added a few extra instruments, like stompbox, tambourine, piano, bass synth and bass onto our stage plot. Now it’s all about making as much noise as possible!
What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
Deep question! I think balancing a heavy touring schedule and home life is the biggest ongoing challenge for any musician. We’re trying our best, but it’s not always easy.
What's your best touring story?
There are many good ones, bad ones, scary ones and ones I can’t repeat. Running from wildfires in Tasmania and then again in Oregon was quite frightening. On the other hand, we were on tour in Australia when we won one of our Junos. We started drinking champagne for breakfast, and pretty much kept going all day! Other highlights have been performing in front of 20,000 people at Woodford Folk Festival and camping in Colorado for a week before performing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. But of course, for me, nothing will top getting married on the road.