Published Sep 06, 2011Winnipeg's great shining singer-songwriter hope, Greg MacPherson, is not going to do the ol' five-years-between-albums thing again. He's been there, done that, and he's already following up last year's Mr. Invitation with the new full-length Disintegration Blues. The album was released on vinyl in January overseas through Play/Rec Records and today (September 6) will see a North American release on CD through MacPherson's newly launched Disintegration Records imprint.
"It was recorded for a European release," MacPherson explains to Exclaim!. "I had wanted to put it out here but [previous North American record label] Smallman closed their doors, so I was left without a label, wondering if I should bother with a label or not. Then I thought, why not have my own label? Plus, I was working with so many really strong local bands that I thought maybe this could be a good vehicle for all of us to further our recording careers or give us a little bit more power in terms of what we can release, when, and why."
MacPherson is enthusiastic when talking about his new label, the sense of togetherness the bands on it have (they all share members), and the idea of having a musical home that makes more sense for his own releases (he's tended to be the odd act out on his labels in the past). For him, Disintegration Records is the culmination of many years of experiences gained from working with different record labels.
"It's kind of a community, and we're stronger together than we are on our own, that's for sure," he says. "This label is exciting for me because it does a good job at placing our work as artists in a place that will be very easily understood. We're going to be with other artists that sound... not like us, but have a similar approach to our work. I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be a good year, and I'm excited for folks to hear the other records."
So, just like that, a new label is born and MacPherson, who will be playing two nights in Winnipeg in September (details are below) has a new CD out on home turf. The album is a good counterpoint to Mr. Invitation's more band-oriented sound, Disintegration Blues taking a more singer-songwriter approach in both sound and feel
"Mr. Invitation was my attempt of a document of the band I'd been playing with for a really long time," he says. "It was more reflective of how we sounded live as a rock band. Some of the songs were collaborations with some of the people I'd been playing with. But a lot of it was written specifically for the band, with the exception of one or two songs. It was less of a singer-songwriter effort and more of a group effort, musically.
"The new record is much more of a singer-songwriter record. In terms of the songs, there are more stories, there are more varied arrangements, where you're not just hearing bass, drums and guitar. I've got all kinds of weird stuff going on on some of the songs. There are songs where I did all the tracking myself, recorded all of the drumming myself... this record, more so than Mr. Invitation, is a Greg MacPherson record."
And on this record, more so than any other Greg MacPherson record, he actually sounds happy. Opening track "Party at Greg's," for example, is the most uplifting the man has ever sounded in his music. The influence for the new tone? Simple: he's been having some parties for the first time in his life, and it's going great.
"I'd never really had a party at my house. And I'd never had a birthday party since I was a kid. And my wife, she loves having parties, so she got me kind of interested in doing that a lot more now," he laughs. "So I'm turning over a new leaf and trying to have some parties. It's part of this whole process of just trying to write material too that's not super dark. I get into this mode where it's just so much easier to write music that's emotional and mining the darker side of experience. That song, I wrote it as a happy song and I was really excited that it actually worked."
9/9-10 Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre