Guitarist John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews is on tour with his award-winning band, scheduled to play Toronto’s Massey Hall on Thursday, December 11, 2014.
But playing this “Rise in the Wake” tour is different from shows in the past – MacDonald is a new father. “It’s awesome and exhausting and exhilarating and inspiring and it’s all those things,” he says of parenthood. “It’s a total game changer in so many ways.”
The new album, The Trews, is the band’s fifth studio album and debuted at No. 3 on the Canadian Albums Chart. “We’re promoting a new record that came out in April, and we made the record the whole time my wife was pregnant. The album came out the same time my son was born and we’ve been promoting it ever since. So the material is fun to play on tour.” MacDonald’s favourites to play live are “Where There’s Love” and “Oblivion” from their previous album, “Hope and Ruin.”
Now at the tail end of a two month tour with the rock band which hails from Nova Scotia, this has been the first test of being away from his eight-month-old son and his wife. He admits this tour has been difficult. “I’m on face time at least twice a day with my wife and flew them out a couple of times on the tour. But it’s a work in progress; I don’t have the balance figured out yet but we’re doing the best that we can. You want to be witness to as much as you can because those are the moments you want to cherish.”
MacDonald says being a dad has impacted the way he plays music. “It makes everything more meaningful – performance, writing and playing music.
The Trews have played with bands such as Kiss, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones but one show stands out for MacDonald. “Every now and again we have a show that everything clicks and it feels like the skies part. Two nights ago, we played the Commodore in Vancouver and it was one of those special nights where the audience and the band were really just one.”
The song “Highway of Heroes” has become a Canadian theme song for honouring fallen soldiers, with downloads of the single going to support military families. In honor of Remembrance Day, The Trews made the sheet music available for free download.
The Trews sway from folk to rock in their music, which makes them more appealing and interesting as a band, which consists of vocalist Colin MacDonald, who is MacDonald’s brother, drummer, Sean Dalton (his cousin) and bassist Jack Syperek .
“I think it’s interesting when a band doesn’t pigeon hole itself. In today’s musical landscape, people get confused easily. We like to straddle both worlds – our new album has a song called “In the Morning” which is a total folk ballad and a rock song like “Ride in the Wind”. It adds more depth, it’s all part of having a rounded out sound.”
Dubbed ‘Rise in the Wake,’ the expansive tour kicked off in October in Montreal and runs through to December 31 at Casino Nova Scotia. The Trews are playing the following upcoming dates:
December 11, 2014* Massey Hall Toronto, ON
December 13, 2014 Sudbury Events Centre Sudbury, ON
December 31, 2014 Casino Nova Scotia Halifax, NS
*Additional show dates to be announced