Vancouver-based Glenn Chatten is a veteran of the North American folk music scene who shared the stage with Bruce Cockburn, Murray McLaughlin, Jane Siberry, Scott Merritt and Glass Tiger. He also appeared on television for the entertainment section of the Global Noon Hour News hosted by the late Bob Macadorey. He has released several albums as well.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Glenn, thank you for answering my questions. You have recently released your new CD, titled “Where You Need to Be.” Would you tell us a little bit about it?
Glenn Chatten: Hi Cendrine. Yes, I’m very happy to have a new CD out. After all, it’s been 25 years since my last solo recording. Some might say its way overdue and others might merely roll their eyes in disgust of it being seen as nothing more than an act of middle-aged neurosis. Whichever way you want to look at it, I guess you could say I’m taking another crack at my dream of performing, writing and recording my songs like I did back in the eighties.
CM: Is there a particular event that triggered your desire to record this album?
GC: The actual idea came from several factors that have occurred in my life in the last six years – Separation and Divorce; Bankruptcy; moving out west to Vancouver from Ontario; falling in love again; finding myself once again in my music; and, oh yeah, selling one of my guitars! That last one was a very important factor, you see, as it introduced me to a great guy, and an incomparable guitarist – Steve Dawson.
Steve, as many in the Folk Roots Music world already know, is a multi-Juno winner and very well sought-after independent record producer and instrumentalist. Well, Steve came over to my place having answered my ad on Craigslist and, after a warm chat together, ended up buying one of my guitars.
After our talk, which was based around his passion for recording “folk roots styles”, I started thinking more seriously about recording a new album that would “reflect” more integrity and real “musical honesty” within the folk roots genre more so than my previous, much earlier album did.
So, with Steve’s help and referrals, I began recording what was only originally going to be a 5-song EP. Steve gave me the names of some of the finest musicians in Vancouver to work with – Rob Becker, bass; Geoff Hicks, drums; Jesse Zubot, fiddle; Terry Townson and Steve Hilliam on horns and sax – and referred me to the great staff at The Factory Studio and a genius of a sound engineer, Sheldon Zaharko.
CM: How long did it take you to work on “Where You Need to Be”? And was the experience different from your previous albums?
GC: The first five tunes took about a week or so in total to fully record and mix down – but that was out of a month and a half time frame, due basically to just scheduling the guys into playing on the specific tracks. I remember talking to Jesse on the phone while he was performing on the east coast (I think it was Halifax) and only a few days later (having only about a four hour window) I booked him to come into the studio as he was passing through Vancouver on his way to perform in China. But it was so worth it to have him and all of the other guys there – no matter how crazy the scheduling got.
Having finished the first five songs, I decided (by support and persuasion of some very close friends) to record another six (two of which were instrumentals). I don’t regret the decision because the songs I added were recorded solo and I think it really helped to balance the album with the first five tunes that had somewhat more larger arrangements to them.
Yes, the experience was so much different from previous recordings because (with Sheldon’s help) I was able to keep the music simple, honestly raw, clear and “real”. Unlike other recordings I have done, this one really feels like it’s coming from me – if that makes any sense.
CM: If you could choose one song among your catalogue, which one would it be and why?
GC: That’s a difficult question because each song carries with it a different meaning or feeling for me at different times – but if I had to choose, I guess, “The Truth Outshines the Lie.” I wrote this song in the kitchen of my marital home as I was going through thoughts of separation and longing for a more intimate relationship with a woman who lived out west. When you get into the rawness of relationship breakdowns, you feel that all you have to hang onto is some “deeper truth” that will hopefully guide you out of the darkness that you feel you are in. I had lived out a lot of lies (mostly to myself but to others as well) to get where I was at that time and I started counting on using the truth more to “light the way”.
End of part 1.
Cendrine Marrouat may be contacted for potential interviews, reviews and general enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.cendrinemarrouat.com.