It must have been back around 2013 when I first heard music from Prince Edward Island artist Tim Chaisson. Grateful once more for the accessibility of Canadian music stations on satellite radio, I recall the flurry of catchy folk-pop tunes taken from his “The Other Side” album. From the title track to “Blast Your Way Out,” Tim quickly made his way onto my musical radar. Once I heard “Beat This Heart,” the duet with another one of our favorites, Serena Ryder, the album was quickly found and purchased. Boasting eleven tracks, it became a welcome addition to our collection, as did his later “Lost In Light” release just a couple of years later. I may have heard one cut from the later album played on the radio, but after that, Tim Chaisson seemed to simply disappear. I should be embarrassed to admit that I did not undertake any research as to why – I mean, with many other artists commanding my attention, there was never a shortage of new music. But in hindsight, if I had devoted just a few minutes to such research, I would have been in a much better position to have discovered Tim’s most recent project so much sooner.
Under the moniker The East Pointers, Tim joined forces with his cousin Koady Chaisson, and multi-instrumentalist Jake Charron. And do not be fooled into thinking that this was simply a case of Tim Chaisson finding a new backing band to complement his folk-pop work. With The East Pointers, Tim displays a penchant for embracing the traditional Gaelic sound of the Maritimes. An accomplished fiddle player in his own right (already evident from his solo works), Tim is now given an outlet to demonstrate just how gifted he is with this particular instrument. With impeccable skills on the banjo, Koady is equally qualified – as one would expect from a family that have musical heritage dating back for seven generations. Rounding out this trio, Jake may not hail from the true East Coast, but this Barrie, ON native can easily fool you into thinking otherwise with his traditional guitar, keyboards and other percussion abilities.
With their 2015 debut “Secret Victory” release, The East Pointers offered a unique and modern perspective on the traditional folk sound. I really do feel bad that it was the summer of 2017 before I became familiar with this trio, but in my defense, can cling to a weak argument that folk music of this nature tends to be washed over by a large percentage of radio stations. “Secret Victory” is mostly an instrumental album, with multiple pieces often interwoven to create instant medleys. Pieces such as “The Drift,” “Meals By Maurice,” and “Woodfordia” truly represent the wonderful amalgamation of old and new, with traditional riffs and rhythms forming the base of this fresh and distinctly modern Gaelic sound. The tracks “Cold,” “Last Blank Page,” and “Work That Way” allow Tim the opportunity to shine with his amazing vocals. And yes, each of these songs could easily be confused for sounding like material from his solo catalog, until, that is, the banjo and percussion from his colleagues provide enough of an impact to identify these as being true East Pointers tunes.
Team GDW were fortunate enough to be in Ontario during the recent Canada150 weekend, and caught a live performance from The East Pointers on a glorious Monday afternoon in downtown Toronto. With a sophomore album set for an imminent release, the trio were able to sample some new material that drew inspiration not only from the Canadian East Coast, but from their extensive travels in Europe and Australia. Tim and Koady offered up a tale of how they were ‘down under’ during a time when Australia was experiencing some of the worst forest-fires in modern times, which became the basis for one of the new tracks “82 Fires.” With a lively 45 minute set, The East Pointers brought a little East Coast joy to those in attendance.
We wish to express our gratitude to Tim for the chat after the show, and to all three artists for autographing their album for us. The trio travel back to Great Britain this month, playing the famous Shrewsbury Folk Festival (my old stomping grounds), before returning for a full tour across both England and Wales in October. Highly recommended if they happen to be in a town near you.