This past week PEI native Tim Chaisson brought his unique brand of folk pop music to fans at the wonderfully cozy Dakota Tavern. The charming musician also took the time to chat with the Toronto Live Music Examiner about life, music, and how, to him, the two are forever intertwined.
Tim Chaisson has been in the music scene practically since birth. Growing up in Souris, PEI, Tim was born into a family for whom music was second nature. “I grew up with a musical background, everyone in my family plays”, Tim said. “I played the fiddle in my family’s group (the Chaisson family has a Celtic music group), we played across PEI and the Maritimes.” While his family may have helped him get his musical start, Chaisson started to realize that music was something he needed to do on his own. “When I started touring a bit, a light bulb sort of came on and I realized ‘You could probably do this, you won’t have to go to school or work at a fish plant’ (laughs). It just happened gradually.”
Chaisson has indeed found personal success on the Canadian music scene. The young east coaster has five studio albums under his belt, the fifth one, The Other Side, released just this week. “It’s definitely different that the records I’d released in the past. I’d worked with Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Lucinda Williams) on it; he was really great at bringing everything out in the record in a raw, natural way. I had spent more time on these songs, they were chosen very carefully. Getting on the road and touring a lot also gave me more stuff to write about, experiencing life more, becoming more “mature”, whatever that is (laughs). I find now that I’m writing a lot more from experience, rather than what I think. When I was younger I would just write what I “thought” love was like, for example. But in the past couple of years I’ve had new experiences and I’m writing better songs.”
Just as his song writing skills have improved, so has his live performance. The always extremely discerning crowd at the Dakota was very pleased by what Chaisson had to offer. Mostly playing songs from The Other Side, every tune played was catchy, with a youthful sweetness, combined with the mature songwriting ability that he has cultivated with the help of mentors like Linden and Patrick Ballantyne (Big Sugar). Songs like “Long road of love”, “When You’re Gone” and “The Other Side” were filled with love and longing, showcasing twangy guitars, beautiful three part harmonies and that inimitable east coast soul. Every song had the crowd fully engaged and entertained, and unable to keep the smiles from their faces. No one could resist Tim Chaisson’s beautiful voice and endearing PEI accent. He had them all under his spell from start to finish.
It’s clear that Tim Chaisson was put on this earth to make music. In his own words; “I wouldn’t be able to not do it. I think that being able to play music for people, there is no other feeling like it. Anyone who plays music, or who does something that they are passionate about knows what I’m talking about. Getting to do that as much as possible, meeting people, hanging out, living life; it’s indescribable really.”