As we approach the first birthday of Great Dark Wonder, one of the founding principles upon which we based this blog was to connect ‘new’ Canadian music and artists with a much wider audience.  We have been incredibly fortunate (in a relative short space of time) to have worked with many rising musicians over the last year, many of who came to our attention through social media, live concerts and festivals, and more recently, from those who discovered and made contact with us.

Shawn William Clarke was one of the most recent artists who contacted us to see if we would be interested in including his new single “Autumn In New Brunswick” on one of our periodic Spotify playlists.  Of course, upon listening to the track, we discovered a hidden gem and instantly knew that we would love to do much more with Shawn.  With the most recent release of his third studio album “Topaz,” Shawn took some time last month to answer a few questions about the new material and his plans for a small tour across part of Ontario to promote the release.  And out of pure coincidence, we just so happened to be in Toronto this last weekend, and made it a priority to catch Shawn William Clarke live in concert at The Burdock for his official album release show.

With more than just a few family members and friends in attendance, Shawn was clearly overwhelmed by the packed out room that wanted to share this event with him.  Jokes were made about how previous shows had seen them playing to sound engineers and bartenders (but no people), and on this special night, there was a full room of people ready to enjoy the show.  As was to be expected, material from Topaz would dominate the set list, with 8 of the 9 album tracks being shared.  Shawn would also pull out three tracks from his “William” album, and add in a couple of bonus tracks too.

Opening with the instrumental piece “Back To Breath,” Shawn would follow the natural order of the album with the next two tracks, performing both “Autumn In New Brunswick” (with Olenka Krakus) and “The Tourists” (along with tales of New York bed bugs).  He would later introduce “Distortions” with the story of how the song was inspired by a ‘Metallica rockumentary’ on television. Shawn’s friend and co-collaborator Abigail Lapell would join him at various times to add harmonies to a few select tracks, including the new cuts “The Mouse Not The Man” and “Young In Love (At The End Of The World).”  Throwing a couple of popular cover versions into the mix, Shawn delighted with renditions of “Brilliant Disguise” (Bruce Springsteen cover) and “I Read A Lot” (Nick Lowe cover).

Having worked their way through most of the set list, Shawn announced that he had a couple more songs to share.  Inviting Abigail Lapell back once more, the duo would perform “Ten Years Ago” from William, before ending with one more duet for “Young In Love (At The End Of The World).”  With cries for ‘one more song’ emanating from the back of the room, the band obliged and closed the evening with “In Conversation.”  Receiving their well-deserved applause from the audience, the evening ended on a high for Shawn William Clarke.  Both friends and fans alike were treated to a wonderful performance, and Topaz was officially released in great fashion.  Shawn’s hard work and dedication to his musical career is certainly evident from the quality of both this show and his new album.  Team GDW had a wonderful evening and experience at The Burdock, and we strongly recommend listening to this album and catching Shawn live in concert if he happens to be in a town near you.

Set List:

  1. Back To Breath
  2. Autumn In New Brunswick
  3. The Tourists
  4. I Blame The Loyalist Ghost
  5. You’re Lonely Too
  6. Brilliant Disguise (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
  7. The Mouse Not The Man
  8. Distortions
  9. I Read A Lot (Nick Lowe Cover)
  10. Anxiety
  11. Ten Years Ago
  12. Young In Love (At The End Of The World)

Encore:

  1. In Conversation

~ M

Visit Shawn William Clarke’s website.

Buy “Topaz” on Bandcamp.