The roots of music run deeply and Canada has David Newberry sowing a trail of his own. Songs breathing life, weaved from his own journey in uncharted territory. Always a pleasure to be invited into the heart and soul of someone’s deepest thoughts beating in living colour. Replacement Things available now.
– Fresh Independence
Home is where your story begins – please tell us a little about yours.
I just relocated from Vancouver to Toronto. Currently I live in a house with seven other musicians in the Little Italy neighbourhood of Toronto. I have heard it said that there are no musicians remaining in Canada who have not stayed or lived here at some point. I am lucky enough to cohabitate with a few of my favourite musicians, including Rachael Cardiello, James Burrows, and Jaron Freeman Fox. It’s funny because it feels completely normal to me, but whenever I’m explaining day-to-day life in the house to non musicians, they always get a mildly concerned look on their face and try to end the conversation as fast as possible. One day last week there was three amplified, full-band rehearsals happening at once. I cannot recall a single moment since moving in in March in which there was not
How did music find you?
Violently. In 2001 I was living out my life plan of becoming a carpenter when I injured my hand very, very badly on a table saw. It required a few surgeries, and a lot of physical therapy. It was my physiotherapist who suggested that if I dusted off my old guitar and played it more, I could get better faster. And I haven’t looked back. I played mostly in punk bands at the start, but a few years later I snuck into a folk festival in my home town and saw David Francey play. It blew me apart, and really changed my relationship with music. I don’t know if people would call what I do “folk music” anymore, but it was that moment that taught me that whatever style of music you play, it has to start with great songs.
Tell us about Replacement Things and how it came to life…
People tell me its different from my previous records, which I suppose is true, and I think that’s because of the process. It’s the first record I’ve made in a real studio (instead of a barn or a farmhouse or a basement). It’s the first where the band on the record was the band I was using at the time. It’s the first to not be built around acoustic instruments. It’s basically the first time I’ve ever had a plan. The sound of my previous records was always defined by whatever was happening around me at the time – which I loved – but as my luck has improved and I’ve been able to throw a bit more time and money at these things, I had the chance to be a lot more calculated about this one.
It’s also more personal. I’ve always made very outward-looking records, and maintained a pretty serious embargo on putting too much of myself in the songs. I never thought that was my role. I have always considered my job to be holding up a mirror to the world outside, and that’s still there, but I made myself turn the mirror around a bit on this one.
Your favorite lyrics on the album and the story behind them…
Oh man. I don’t know.
“The brick was barely through the glass / The water takes what’s made of sand” from “We Were Honest Once” is a contender.
The song is about taking a big leap that you’re really confident in, and but learning very quickly that it has consequences. If there’s a unifying theme on the record, it’s consequence. Sometimes you throw a brick at a window before you realize that it’s gonna go right through the glass, and sometimes you build the perfect sandcastle before you properly understand how the tide works.
When not making music what might we find you doing…
Mostly I watch baseball and live music. When I say “mostly” I mean “exclusively.” I usually forget to eat as a result.
Shout out to your favorite band or artist at the moment.
Brandon Flowers from the Killers’ new album “Desired Effect” was my album of the summer. It’s like he remade the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack from start to finish but changed all the words. I have learned to love cheese. The song “Between Me And You” is immaculate. I have always argued that pop music could be smart, and this record proved it to me.
Something fans would be surprised to learn about David Newberry…
I have a masters degree in political theory. Or whatever.
The greatest book ever written is…
Green Grass, Running Water, by Thomas King.
True love is…
What can we look forward to with David Newberry over the coming year…
Work. And great outfits. Hopefully a really sharp haircut, but it’s hard to find the right barber on the road. I’ll be swinging through Western Canada in September, and travelling through Ontario and Quebec in October/November. I have a few EPs in the works that I may try and sneak out there. There are a lot of things in the works right now, but they’re all at that pesky “I can’t tell you about it right now” stage.