The Dryden Observer

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Eagle eyes the Trout

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Fred Eaglesmith will return to the stage of the Trout Forest Music Festival at Ear Falls Waterfront Park, Aug. 9-11. Photo submitted

By Jon Thompson

It’s all rock ‘n’ roll to Fred Eaglesmith and rock ‘n’ roll should be everywhere.

Canada’s outlaw rocker has been literally under the bus for the past few days, tuning it up to hit the northern highway and step back on the Trout Forest Music Festival stage in Ear Falls after only five years.

“Rock ‘n’ roll was never supposed to only be in the big places, you know what I mean? I see people (at Troutfest) who never think they’d see me in their lives. I go to whatever northern towns I can find. The Trout’s like that. It’s people who are really glad I’m there. The big festivals like Winnipeg, you don’t always get that.”

Eaglesmith is busy emptying his songwriting vault into the studio, trying to keep up with an artist flow that cranks out songs “all the time.”

He’s nearly done his 20th record and his 19th is barely dry off the press.

“Cha Cha Cha” was a huge album to follow up but the songs on the stripped-down “6 Volts” stand alone as unique to anything he has produced to date.

For a man who doesn’t read his own press and doesn’t listen to his own albums, the comparisons don’t matter.

“It’s amazing how much weight is put on your last record. I’m just being a creative guy. Neil Young went through this, Bob Dylan went through this – they always made records that I didn’t understand when they first came out,” he said. “I find people always love the record I did five years ago. I’ve had records stop my career for a year or two and five years later, they say, ‘I loved that record.’ I say, ‘where were you when I was hunting for gigs?’”

For that reason, the country label he’s sometimes slapped with irks him. He claims country music fans hate him more than anybody because his music is so far away from what they deem to be country. When artists can define themselves without having to be compartmentalized into a genre or a brand or a package to be compared and critiqued, that’s when music is free.

To Eaglesmith, it’s all rock ‘n’ roll.

“Rock ‘n’ roll, when it first came out, blanketed everything. Folk was in rock ‘n’ roll, Ray Charles was in rock ‘n’ roll and the business separated them out so it could divide and conquer. Don’t talk to me about folk or country music. That’s when we, the people, took over music and we had it for 10 years and the business got it back but it was a pretty good 10 years.”

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