By Chris Illich
This past June, Spencer Burton, formerly known as Grey Kingdom, went out to Nashville to record his upcoming album, which will be released in January 2017. He is heading back out on the road in November for a ‘preview tour’ of the new record with a stop in St. Catharines at the Niagara Artists Centre on Nov. 27, and returns again to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre as part of the Hear! Here Niagara Music Series on Dec. 18.
I saw that you announced a slew of dates for November, you haven’t been around much lately, are you starting to get back into the swing of things again?
Yeah, I’ve been laying low this past year. I had a baby, so I haven’t been doing too many gigs and I realized that while I’ve done a few gigs in 2016, I haven’t done many Ontario gigs. I wanted to get back out there before the new record comes out to test the waters.
You went out to Nashville in June to record the record? What was that like?
I couldn’t be happier. You never know what you’re going into. The world is a funny place, no matter who you meet or come across, there’s a 50/50 change you could love or hate the person. I went there knowing nobody and not only came away with a record, but a bunch of new friends. So it was a super cool experience. I brought my whole family with me. I brought my son and daughter my girlfriend and we did the Air B and B thing, although we did have a strange experience with that. Nashville was really cool though, I’ve been there a couple of times but I’ve never really been there. It’s always been just kind of in and out, but it was awesome spending 20 days there and experiencing the cool food and a couple of gigs.
Did the whole experience come through in the record?
My vision of the songs didn’t change too much from what I thought they would be. But being down there and getting people from there to play on the record definitely changed it from anything else I’ve ever done. Everything else I’ve done was done here in my home with my friends. Everyone has their own style and I used the same people. My last three records as Grey Kingdom, or as Spencer Burton, were produced by Dan Romano. Because of that they had a similar style and sound. Coming into it with totally new people you obviously get a new perspective. The record turned out way better than I could have ever hoped. It’s something new and interesting for sure.
And now that it’s done, is it painful just playing the waiting game?
Yeah for sure, I’m just sitting on this record. on this upcoming tour, call it a ‘preview tour’ most of the songs I’ll be playing are from this record, because I’m impatient. I just want to play them and do something with them. Every time you put out a record it’s a painstaking wait. You have to wait for the mixing and the mastering and the artwork. You have to wait and wait but just want to get it out there.
Other than going out to record and a handful of gigs, and you mentioned having a child, how have you been keeping yourself busy this year?
I’m almost too busy. I’m doing tons of stuff right now. My buddy has a farm that I’ve been working on in the off time. I’m running a vintage clothing store and I’ve got a small farm operation with goats, chickens and pigs. I’ve been a dad for three or four years now and after having living life without responsibility for so long, it’s changed everything. It has totally changed the way I see music in general. In the past everything had a darker tone to it, it was always sad. But now I see that my music has turned a brighter leaf. Instead of writing songs about being sad, I’m writing about the new feelings I’ve acquired learning new love with a family and children. It’s almost like with gaining a family I’ve realized life isn’t that bad. Things are good. [S]