Trading the busy streets of Toronto for Prince Edward County in eastern Ontario and a decade of country living has given singer/songwriter Jeremie Albino the time and space needed to create an album overflowing with vivid storytelling. Emulating heroes such as Lightnin’ Hopkins and Skip James, Albino’s debut Hard Time—out now on Sleepless Records—balances insightful folk songs with swaggering, soulful rock ‘n’ roll.
Recorded primarily at the Bombshelter in Nashville with producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Langhorne Slim), with the remainder polished off at Union Sound in Toronto with Crispin Day, Hard Time pays homage to other musical troubadours who rambled down similar paths throughout history. But Albino is a natural, able to create an alchemy that favours, above all else, that most mysterious and coveted of qualities, heart.
Jeremie Albino kicks off an extensive autumn North American tour with a showcase at Americanafest in Nashville on Sept. 12. He returns to Toronto for a show on Nov. 1 at Longboat Hall, with dates in Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton later that month. Get more details at jeremiealbino.com.
What was the process like making Hard Time?
We recorded in Nashville, which was my first time being there. Then a couple months later we finished the record back home in Toronto. I had been writing these songs for years before that though. I think I started playing with my band for almost a year before going into the studio, so a lot of the songs were ready and itching to be recorded.
What song on the record are you most proud of and why?
I think it has to be Amelia. It’s always been one of my favourite songs and it was just a really good time in the studio recording that one. We did a couple takes but that was pretty much a live take with the band, without overdubs or anything. I’ve always admired those kinds of songs, so I’m pretty proud that we got that vibe on Amelia.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
I guess I would say that I used to write and play only solo songs or one man band songs. It's slowly progressed to writing songs for a full band. The record shows that evolution in presenting some of my earliest songs alongside some of the newer, bigger band songs I wrote right before going into the studio.
What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
I think it’s been spending a lot more time on my computer or sitting on a couch or in a van. It’s been kind of a shock actually. I had been working on farms for most of the last decade—which is a lot of outdoor activity—and eating good vegetables! As a musician, you’re either sitting on a couch all day listening to mixes, or sitting in a van on the way to the next gig. I’m not complaining though. Once you get to the next town, at least you get to loosen up, make some music and have some fun.
What's your best touring story?
I’m not sure if this is my best story, but I think my favourite tour memory is a Maritimes run I did with some of my best friends. We would go on hikes on our days off and get to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country. After a show in Halifax, we hit up The Seahorse, which was having a Motown dance night. We all cut a rug and it was one of the best nights of my life. The band playing that night had the best dance moves I’ve ever seen too!
Label: Sleepless Records / sleepless-records.com