After several years performing as Express and Company, Dylan Ireland has stepped into new territory with his bluesy, rocking debut solo album “Every Other Night,” which releases today.
With great lyrics and toe-tapping melodies, the album features such highlights as “Silver Screen” (watch the video below), a clever look at the juxtaposition of reality and idealism in relationships, and “Stranger,” a lovely ode to the unique qualities that draw a lover to their beloved. Dylan opens himself up in his songs in a hugely relatable way – many will likely hear one, if not several, things in them that strikes a chord in their own lives.
We’re so pleased that we had the chance to chat with Dylan about the new album.
This is your first solo album after previously writing and performing under the moniker Express and Company – in addition to the freedom to explore some different musical textures and themes, how else has the experience of recording this project differed as a solo artist?
Writing and recording with Express & Company was definitely a more focused (folk) sound. That’s what we were going for anyways. With “Every Other Night” the songs were written in the same fashion of course, but we wanted to try new sounds, bigger guitars, bigger drums, more energy, that sort of thing.
You assembled a terrific team of musicians for this album, including Jim Bryson, Loel Campbell, and Anna Ruddick (just to name a few). How would you describe the impact of their contributions on the finished album?
I’ve recorded albums and played shows with some of these folks on the album. The others are literally some of my favourite players in some of my favourite bands. I feel lucky to not only have them say yes to playing on the album, but they are all amazing people. They bring a whole new level of talent and professionalism to the project.
Several of the songs seem to me to reflect the aftermath of broken relationships – obviously a lot of songwriters have mined that particular territory… how do you as a writer find ways to make common themes sound fresh and new (as you’ve done here in your songs)?
Well thanks! I hope I am able to do that as I do play on some common themes. You can drown in cliches and ‘cheese’ pretty fast lyrically, so I do my best not to by mostly just being specific and honest about my own situations in life.
Another theme that snakes its way through the album is the idea of home, and belonging – particularly with the closing track, “Peterborough” (which is about your current hometown). Especially as a musician, who has traveled/will travel extensively as part of your vocation, what meaning does that sense of place and having an anchor of sorts have for you?
With the song ‘Peterborough’ it’s kind of funny. I made this album after living in Peterborough for 7 years but I actually wrote that song in the first couple months of living there.
Having a home base is important for me. Dreaming of home on the road, and dreaming of the road while at home is a beautiful circle for me. Helps with writing, that’s for sure!
In your bio, you talk about some of your personal struggles (with anxiety, depression, and addiction) providing inspiration for the album. Have those struggles made being a musician more challenging, or does music provide a respite from them?
Unfortunately dealing with addiction and mental issues, while being in the music industry, is both good and bad. Just about a 50/50 split, haha. On one side there seems to be never-ending inspiration, but on the other side the industry and its scenes have their temptations and can be exhausting at times.
What plans do you have for touring in support of your new album?
I plan on touring this album to Eastern and Western Canada this coming fall 2017!
Photo credit: Jack Martin