Ian North has been called a songwriter's songwriter, for, among other things, the way familiar and off-beat references from music history, literature and pop culture are juxtaposed.
Ian's new album, emptiful, is a collection of image-laden songs that will stick in your head. It's an eclectic, sophisticated layering of sounds from country, jazz, blues and traditional music. Mandolin, steel and accordion make each song rich with its own flavour, creating a sweet mix of future classics. Ian's music will appeal to fans of Bruce Springsteen, Ron Sexsmith and David Gray.
Many of the stories and images in the songs come from real journeys, some from more imaginary ones. Mystery Tavern was inspired by a real place in the Ottawa valley. Songs like Angelina will hook you by melody alone, and lines like "we fell so hard together laughing down, I thought we'd never fall apart" are a perfect representation of Ian's poetic style.
Born and raised in Ottawa, North was on the road by 18, travelling and performing across Ontario. He came to Toronto to study at York University, and after some travel and some journalism, he formed a punk-country-swing band called the Swingheads that developed a following in the then-lively neighbourhood scene of Toronto's Beaches. North also found a home at Fat Albert's, Toronto's oldest coffeehouse and occasional home to some of the city's best songwriters. A move to rural Hastings County led to a regular stint at the Madoc Hotel playing country, rock and blues in the Thursday Night Jam Band.