There are some particular moments in time here at GDW that are kind of hard to forget. Take, for example, September 30th, 2016, the date that this music journal was unleashed upon the world, and like any other newborn, took time to find some traction on the crazy digital superhighway. Our very first interview with an upcoming singer-songwriter was posted just one month later; a huge leap for us at the time, as we transitioned from personal music page to a true webzine, fueled by our desire to help spread the word about independent Canadian music. London, ON, singer-songwriter Ken Yates was the test pilot for that particular article, who kindly agreed to discuss his 2016 “Huntsville” album with us (if you have not heard this album, go listen to it RIGHT NOW – this article shall still be here when you return), and who we are only too happy to feature on our pages once more.
Having announced earlier this year that his third studio album, “Quiet Talkers,” shall be released on May 22nd, Ken shares his latest single, the aptly titled “Surviving Is Easy,” here with us all today. Written by Ken, and produced by accomplished musician/engineer, Jim Bryson (Lynne Hanson, Oh Susanna), do not be fooled by the title – this is not a quickly-thrown-together response to the current global health epidemic, but is instead a personal tale that connects happiness to survival. “When I was writing this song, I was thinking a lot about happiness and all of the things a person needs to feel content about their lives,” Ken shares. “Most of us create problems because we need something to solve, and I think in a weird way that’s when we’re our happiest selves.”
During our initial introduction to “Huntsville” back in 2016, we could see that Ken had a knack for crafting some exceptional lyrics, and has rightfully earned the honors bestowed upon him from within the music industry over the last few years. As a recipient of the Canadian Folk Music Awards for English Songwriter of the Year, and New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 13th Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2017, Ken has earned a strong reputation as a bona-fide composer who combines his emotionally charged storytelling with some incredible and unforgettable melodies. And once again, with this latest single, Ken offers up some pretty fine poetry as he delivers the catchy chorus: “Who gives a damn about a broken heart? / Who gives a damn about a couple new scars? / But getting by will only get you so far / Surviving is easy, but living is hard.”
Accompanying the single is a charming music video that whisks the viewer away to those silent animated shorts of yesteryear – taking us back almost 100 years to when Felix the Cat and Betty Boop were becoming household names. I personally love the canoe and fishing theme that Ken has adopted here for this video. If you happen to consider Ken a friend, or have been to one of his live shows over the last few years, you’ll know the significance of Portage and Fishing Poles in his life; and if unfamiliar, I suggest you attend a show and witness firsthand the gift that is Ken Yates narrating tales of his life, his love, and his adventures. But for now, seek some momentary refuge from the chaos that surrounds us all, and learn about how “Surviving Is Easy.” “We survive because we have to, but how often are [we] able to take a step back and say, Ok, things are good?” he adds. “That’s a question most of us are trying to answer on a daily basis.”
We’re all struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the livelihoods of musicians and artists are especially impacted right now. We always encourage you to buy music, but we especially encourage you to consider it now. You can buy “Surviving Is Easy” here.
Photo Credit: Kate Jaczko