Liam Titcomb returns to Peterborough
Plays Red Dog Tavern on June 6th
Liam Titcomb returns to Peterborough for the first time in several years to play the Red Dog Tavern on June 6th 2012. He returns with his new Extended Play single in hand, which is the forerunner to his new CD which will be out later this year. kawarthaNOW learned of Liam’s Red Dog gig and connected with him to ask about his long awaited return to Peterborough, his musical connections here, and his recent round of songwriting.
When I reminded Liam that his last gig in Peterborough was a quick half day stop in August of 2009 – as part of his War Child Canada multi city busking tour – the memories of a whirlwind tour rush back.
“That was insane,” he says, “but we raised $50,000 in 60 days for War Child Canada, and toured 99 cities with radio and newspaper interviews on top of the gigs. It was crazy, but we lived to tell the tale.”
It’s actually been five years since Liam has appeared on stage in Peterborough. It was July 27, 2007 – for the Willie P Bennett Benefit concert at the “old” Market Hall. The benefit raised a significant amount of money for his friend WIllie P Bennett, a Peterborough musician who had suffered a heart attack while on the road the previous May. Willie P. was off work from his usual tour with Fred Eaglesmith and his musician friends and many in this community had organized to help raise money for him. That evening Liam graced the stage with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, his father and Canadian folk icon Brent Titcomb, Brock Zeman, Washboard Hank, Reverend Ken, (among others) and Willie P himself. I asked Liam about those musician friends and his connections to Peterborough.
“It’s part of my roots,” Liam explains, “Growing up backstage at festivals around my musical heroes. Willie P, Reverend Ken, Joe Hall, Washboard Hank, Russell deCarle. Peterborough has spawned a lot of great musicians and there seems to be a real appreciation of the singer-songwriter in that community.”
Our conversation turns to his new EP “Love Don’t Let Me Down” which Liam is currently promoting on a tour of several Ontario cities. The song is the advance single of his CD due out later this year.
In 2010, shortly after ending an intense relationship, Titcomb stole away to London for a month-long songwriting retreat. Exploring everything the UK had to offer and forging some incredible friendships in the process, he hit his stride as a writer and began penning the material that would eventually become his latest offering.
“My world opened up immensely while I was over there,” he goes on. “There weren’t any rules when it came to making music. Form and structure went out the window, and the goal was to simply write a great song. You learn the rules and structure. Then, you forget them. That’s the best way to be creative. London forced me into that mentality. It was a great shakeup, and I came home with some very different songs.”
Embracing both classic folk and pop, Titcomb entered a Nashville studio with producer Jay Joyce [Derek Trucks, Patti Griffin] in December 2011. After spending over a year writing, he jumped feet first into recording. In a little less than a month, playing everything alongside Joyce, the eleven songs comprising the record were committed to tape. On Christmas Eve, the artist returned to Toronto with a finished record in his hands.
“This is a fresh start,” he says. “I’m ready to go after the whole globe. There’s a little bit of everything on this album. It’s bittersweet at times. It’s fun at times. This is who I am at the end of the day. There’s no persona. I try to be genuine. I make music because I love it.
The EP’s first single, “Love Don’t Let Me Down”, is a powerful collaboration with Joyce. The producer had played the original idea for Titcomb years before, and the singer always wanted to record it for a record. It finally felt right. Boasting a cinematic storyline and the singer’s palpable delivery, the track remains both irresistible and inspiring. A shimmering guitar line rolls elegantly and Titcomb paints this poetic lyrical portrait.
“The song is dedicated to a brother or a best friend,” he affirms. “When you’re in an extremely dark place or you’re sitting on the edge, you think of giving up hope because you don’t see the light. You can lose faith and end up doing something bad. The song pleads with love or that feeling to pull you through. It’s about being at the breaking point and begging.”
“The most beautiful thing is when you connect with fans in the live setting,” Titcomb concludes. “I hope fans have their own relationships with the songs. That’s the purest essence of music. I just want to get emotions across.”
The same could be said for his love of music. His father Brent Titcomb was a folk singer and songwriter himself, and Titcomb grew up completely immersed in art, practically splitting his time between being backstage and at school. Falling in love with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell at a young age, his fate as an artist was sealed.
At 16-years-old, he released his first album in Canada, and he became a presence in his home country. He toured alongside established artists such as Great Big Sea, Tom Cochrane, Kathleen Edwards, David Usher & Colin James. In 2006, he even received a nomination for “Best New Group” or “Solo Artist” at the Canadian Radio Music Awards.
Audiences are going to love it too.
Wednesday June 6th – The Historic Red Dog Tavern
Tickets are $5 advance and at the door. Doors at 9:00 p.m. and Liam is on at 10:30 p.m.
For further information and Ontario tour dates, visit Liam’s new website and watch for new music added over the coming weeks - www.liamtitcomb.com
Cover of Van Morrison song “Into the Mystic” by Liam Titcomb
Jeannine Taylor is the publisher of kawarthaNOW.com and a contributing writer.
She’s a self-professed geek and early adopter.
She’s also a vegetarian, music lover, and arts enthusiast.
Jeannine would rather be at the cottage kayaking, boating, reading, paddle boarding, or biking with her border collie Tess.
You can follow her on Twitter @wiredwoman.