Often when you come across and independent or under-the-mainstream radar artist, for the first time, it helps to see the company they’re keeping musically. It sort of gives you the measure of their regard and potential within the industry. Rarely will you find renowned or acclaimed artists in their field performing with lesser known musicians, without being attracted by their talents. So before you even press play on a recorded project, if you just run through the credits, you’ll already know the plane and place that it’s coming from. Creatively it obviously doesn’t guarantee that you will like the recording, but artistically and technically, it certifies the quality infused into its core.
It’s much like reading the brand name ‘Ferrari’ on the starting grid of a Formula One race. This doesn’t guarantee the said car will win the race, but the legacy of proven skill, technology and passion behind such a brand makes winning an absolute option every time it is on the grid.
Such is the case with Andrew Gerard, for those who are still unfamiliar with this critically acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter. As I have reviewed Gerard on a few occasions, the credits on his latest single, “Forest Fire” interest me less than the songwriting and the song itself. Not because the credits are less important than anything else, but because that is exactly the company I would expect an artist of his caliber to keep, and therefore comes as no surprise to me.
For those not yet in the know, “Forest Fire”, and other tracks from the upcoming album, feature guitarist Tom Strahle (Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift), violinist and cellist Jessy Green (Pink, The Jayhawks) and keyboardist Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers, Stone Sour). The track was produced by LA-based Ran Pink.
Now that’s an impressive credit list for any artist to have let alone and independent one. But Andrew Gerard is a meticulous craftsman and it shines through on every one of his projects – from the actual music recording to the accompanying video clips you can always be assured of a work of absolute quality which reeks of a major label budget.
But none of the above embellishments would make any sense or have any impact whatsoever without the core ingredients – which is the simply the brilliant songs that Gerard writes. “Forest Fire” really does provide a remarkable demonstration of Gerard’s voice and talent for writing songs which detail his life experiences and that people can easily relate to.
His songs are primarily acoustic-guitar driven, but they have lush and layered arrangements with warm, organic instrumentation. The audio atmosphere of “Forest Fire” is particularly enhanced by the string orchestrations.
Singer-songwriters often have a tough task to set themselves apart. There’s only so much one person can do with a guitar or piano, and however many session musicians they can draft in. But when you’re as touching, intelligent and melodic as Andrew Gerard is, ‘singer-songwriter’ becomes just another nametag to add to all the others.