By Greg PrattWinnipeg, MB-based singer-songwriter Greg MacPherson has announced a March 30 release date for his latest album, Mr. Invitation. This is his first album since 2005's excellent Night Flares and his debut for new label Smallman Records. (MacPherson was previously with the now-defunct G7 Welcoming Committee.)
Considering the significant delay between albums for MacPherson, we had to wrangle him up to ask what the story is on the long wait and the new album. As it turns out, he's darn excited, and satisfied, with what he's cooked up this time 'round.
"This is the first time I have a recording that truly speaks with the force and soul of the material, as I've always intended," says MacPherson. "As an artist, I've struggled for years to find my voice in the language of recording. Writing songs, hearing them in my head, finding their potential on stage and then falling short of capturing that energy in a studio has been a source of frustration for me. I've hit the mark or come close on many occasions but not until this recording have I felt satisfied that my intentions going in have been fully realized by both the process and the results."
All of which is sort of shocking to hear, considering the strength of past MacPherson recordings. But who are we to argue? We just want to know what took him so damn long.
"After my last record was released I spent the better part of three years on tour," he explains. "During that time, I worked and quit four or five different day jobs, ruined a couple of relationships and nearly got myself killed a few times, some stories I'd prefer to forget. I've always been a 'put your head down and run' kind of person and it hit me at the end of that stretch that I needed to step back and try a more considered approach to how I've been doing things. There's no secret to any of this - I would have put something out sooner if I could have but that just wasn't the way things worked out."
MacPherson's band on the album include a curious combo of drummers: the Weakerthans' Jason Tait (a frequent collaborator) and Ryan Ahoff, who, well, we'll let MacPherson explain Ahoff.
"Ryan's been playing with us live for about two years," says MacPherson. "He's our ladies' man and his other gig is playing double-kick speed metal with Annihilator. We went to high school together."
And while we love the thought of MacPherson busting into an impromptu cover of Annihilator's classic Canuck thrash metal anthem "Alison Hell,", it seems Mr. Invitation comes with some serious intentions. As MacPherson explains of the record's meaning, "It's a reference to the human capacity to give and take, to be a friend and an enemy all at once. It's a reference to what I love about rock'n'roll: danger, possibility, an invitation to something, maybe an embrace, maybe a betrayal.
"The records are in the mail, the shows are being booked, we're practising a couple times a week, and after too many years of moving slow, we're not fucking around anymore."