Shawn William Clarke - Topaz (LP)
Label : Independent
Credits : Produced, Co-Engineered, Mixed, Piano.
Shawn William Clarke’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed "William", wondrously introduces a new sound while maintaining his signature poignant storytelling.
Coming out of the bleakness that was 2016, TOPAZ is an ode to new beginnings and renewal. “I was floundering, in between jobs, in an existential funk, so I consciously started 2017 with a new mindset. I quit drinking, and began focusing on TOPAZ”. With fresh determination, he dusted off his electric guitar, and began writing.
TOPAZ dives into anxiety, existentialism, and finding stillness in the whirlwind of life. These tracks weave a delicate balance between celebration and understatement. Salute and Shadows; 80's albums from fellow Orillian Gordon Lightfoot, initially inspired Shawn to begin working on TOPAZ. “The sonic quality of those records, the subtle mix of synths and electric guitar really got me excited about the prospects of creating again, up until that point I was primarily listening to Ambient and New Age music” There’s an ease in this album that navigates themes of travel and finding the familiar in unknown places throughout Canada with songs like “Autumn in New Brunswick”, and “Gros Morne” while digging deeper on a personal level with “Mouse Not The Man” and exploring the art of storytelling with “You’re Lonely, Too”, and “Young In Love (At The End Of The World)”.
Clarke’s ability to share his soul and experience in great transparency lowers the guard of any listener. TOPAZ is an outpouring of literary prowess and the uplifting spirit of collaboration shows on every track. Clarke's ideas attracted an incredible cast of musicians into the mix. James Bunton (Ohbijou, Donovan Woods, Evening Hymns) returns as producer, and the talented David Gluck is once again featured on bass. Meanwhile, newcomers Kristian Noel Pedersen on Synths/Wurlitzer, and Andrew Dal Cin on drums help create this new sound. An impressive roster of special guests include vocalists Olenka Krakus, Merival, and "Colleen Pedersen Award" winner Abigail Lapell. Christine Bougie (Bahamas, The Good Lovelies, Jason Collett) plays guitar on “You're Lonely, Too”, and film composer Alexis Marsh (whose work can be heard on the show “Animal Kingdom”) arranged and performed all the woodwinds.
To say that Shawn Clarke’s songwriting has turned heads is an understatement. His critically-acclaimed songwriting received a 9/10 from Exclaim Magazine, 4/5 from NOW Magazine. He was named as a runner up as Best Songwriter in NOW Magazine in 2014 and 2015. And his recent album William was nominated Best Folk Album in Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2015. All in all, Shawn is a storyteller and will continue to tell stories that move him and if you’re in earshot, they will move you too. TOPAZ will stick with you