Published May 30, 2013After spending more than a year touring on the back of her third solo album, Dirt, Colleen Brown returned to her home in Edmonton last summer. Unfortunately, it wasn't under the best of circumstances.
"What happened was I came back to Edmonton in July because one of my friends passed away and I wanted to spend more time with friends and family," Brown tells Exclaim!
This experience caused her to hole herself up in her attic, writing songs about life and death and recording them on GarageBand.
"That kind of is something that works naturally for me," she says. "Inevitably when I sit and be quiet and am reflecting, I start to have ideas about things and they usually form themselves into songs."
New track "I Asked in the Night" is one of the songs that emerged from this creative period, and it can be streamed below.
Writing on her website, Brown describes the song as "a sneak peek into my new musical meanderings, a sort of direction."
In fact, much of the material on Brown's upcoming follow-up to Dirt, which is currently titled Major Love, represents a new direction for the artist. While she has long collaborated with Edmonton-based producers and musicians, this time around she plans to do a bit more travelling.
"It's all different players, all different producers, so really my songwriting is the one thread that ties it all together," she says. "The plan is to use local musicians wherever it is I'm recording."
This could be anywhere from Halifax to L.A., she explains. She will also be incorporating a wide variety of genres into the record.
"Music fans recognize that there's good music in every genre so I decided on this recording to open myself up to just letting the songs lead me where they're going to go," she says.
A few weeks ago, Brown performed in Lloydminster, the town three hours east of Edmonton where she grew up, as part of the Untapped Alberta concert series at the Root: Community Emporium and debuted several of the new songs.
This setlist included a foot-stomping rocker called "Randy Newman," inspired by the time she opened for the legendary singer-songwriter at the 2012 Interstellar Rodeo festival.
Another song she performed, "Moncton Flight 179," is about experiencing anxiety before boarding a flight, relating back to Major Love's overall theme of mortality.
"I feel like Major Love is a perfect title for an album about life and death because any time a person who is close to us dies, or something that we have an expectation for falls through and we're heartbroken over something, for most people it makes us question everything," she says.
Although Brown has written most of the material for the release, there are still details to iron out and she is hoping it will be available next winter.
In the meantime, she has a number of projects on the go. She is the creative director for a show on June 1 at the Art Gallery of Alberta, playing with the original lineup of her band the Secretaries in July and planning a cross-Canada tour for this August.
Scroll down to listen to the premiere of her slow-burning new single, "I Asked In the Night."