Greg MacPherson is Mr. Invitation

Greg MacPherson has made a name for himself as an elegant and thoughtful lyricist, drawing comparisons to the likes of Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan and David Byrne, who he grew up listening to. His lyrics are imaginative and to him are one of the most important parts of a song.

“I felt like you can’t have a good song with bad lyrics so I’ve always tried really hard to focus on what I’m saying and how,” says MacPherson.  

MacPherson’s new album Mr. Invitation flows from soft and subtle tunes to busy rock songs, a blend he intentionally created.  

“I get really excited about spacious post-rock, weird angular guitar noise,” he says. “Rock music, I find, in general is really exciting and dangerous and has lots of possibility in it. I think that’s what appeals most as a performer to me too. Live it’s nice to just make a lot of noise. Make it dynamic, bring it back up and bring it back down.” 

MacPherson started working on Mr. Invitation last February, finishing at the end of the summer.  

“It was really a nice process. In the past I’ve always sort of pushed to get things done quickly and this time I just took my time and I think the results are much better in retrospect.”  

MacPherson says this was his best studio experience to date. In the past, he found recording frustrating because he didn’t have a great deal of knowledge of how the process worked.  

“[This time] it was absolutely positive and fun and really I think more than anything else my intent going in was completely matched by the result, which was something that I had struggled with in the past on recording,” says MacPherson. “I grew up with two older brothers and they were both pretty into singer-songwriter music, particularly Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, the Talking Heads, David Byrne, Bob Dylan was always being spun in the house and I guess that was always a foundation for me.”

MacPherson loves performing and is excited to tour in support of the new album. When writing songs for the new disc, he tried to find a balance that would be exciting to play live.  

“The nice thing about my band is that we’re all close friends and it gives us an opportunity to spend time together and listen to music. I mean, we’ll just be travelling for hours at a time listening to records and we’ll all bring our own stack of CDs,” says MacPherson. “It’s nice, we get to learn more about what everyone’s listening to, actually get into some details about our lives that our schedules often don’t leave room for.” 

Growing up, his father was in the army so he moved around a lot — 37 times, living in seven or eight different provinces. This has made him aware of the differences between cities, groups and cultures. He now makes his home in Winnipeg.  

“I love it and hate it at the same time. It’s a strange city,” says MacPherson. “On the one hand it’s got this tortured soul of a town, sort of living embodiment of colonization and segregation and class war but it’s not something that’s talked about lots. Every city is like a big pot of stew and there’s lots of ingredients that make it taste a certain way and Winnipeg just has this very strange kind of flavour that’s not like anywhere else I’ve ever lived.”  

MacPherson, received a degree in labour studies and history back in the 1990s. He now has a day job at a community center in Winnipeg.  

“It’s been too long. I wish I could go back to school, I think I would be a much better student now after being removed for the last 15 years,” says MacPherson. “I’ve never really been focused on going to school for a job. I think . . . you’ll find work if you need it.” 

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