After being exiled from his home in Austin, Texas, Dave Quanbury is set to release Still Life With Canadian on Friday April 13. The album is a sort-of forced reclamation project of his Canadian identity thanks to American immigration laws.
In 2014, after a routine visit to family back in his old hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Quanbury (formerly of multiple-Juno-nominated Twilight Hotel) was refused re-entry to the United States because of an immigration issue, and was immediately confronted with the difference between a home and a hometown.
“You can’t stay here, but you can’t go home,” they said.
With his wife and life on the other side of the border, he called an old friend and pleaded to let him occupy his couch until he worked it out and was allowed back across. That never happened.
Winnipeg can be a cold place. It is a stark difference from the streets of Austin. The snow absorbs sound like thick insulation, quieting everything around and amplifying any feeling of loneliness already rumbling inside you.
Still Life With Canadian is fourteen songs written on a borrowed guitar in a cold garage in Winnipeg’s north end. It is Quanbury really digging into Winnipeg to find that sense of home and place he found in Austin.
This album is about staring at a phone, struggling to get your cold fingers to type something to your partner because that piece of technology is now your only connection point. It is reading about other people’s lives in the paper to feel better about your own. It is mourning the loss of your oold life and being unable to revive it by yourself.
Since that day at the border, Quanbury has played and written songs until he was able to stand still in Canada again and to take ownership of his space within it.
Produced and recorded by old friend Michael P. Falk (Les Jupes, Ghost Twin) at his Paintbox Recording studio in Winnipeg, the process of making Still Life With Canadian took a long time. The songs took on many forms, and they took the time get them right. To explore and experiment and take the time to allow the songs to find their fullest possible conclusion.
Jamie Wright became an essential part of the process – co-writing several songs, adding layers of harmony and melody, and late night jam sessions in the garage to help flesh out the ideas that led to unique creations such as Archivist Heart.
Guests include Derek Allard (Royal Canoe), Todd Martin (Dirty Catfish Brass Band), and Alasdair Dunlop (Sweet Alibi).
Debut single “Ghosts Daughters,” introduces one of the things that enamoured Dave with the American South – working with horn players.
DAVE QUANBURY & THE EXILE BRASS BAND
In addition to his work on a new solo album, Dave has begun performing with the Exile Brass Band, a group that is quickly becoming a local festival favourite with performances at Winnipeg’s Canada Day Living Flag event, the Ellice Street Festival and SpaceLand.