Trio bring home-spun folk on the road

Fred Squire, one third of Daniel, Fred and Julie, has no qualms sharing the story of the trios auspicious start.

“Dan and I were thinking of starting a church in Sackville, so he came out, but we recorded this album instead,” he explains wryly. “We looked at the logistics of making a church and found that you have to believe in something.”

Squire is the kind of person that counts on his deadpan delivery to hide the fact that he just told a joke. At first you think he is serious, but it takes about 10 seconds for it to click — he must have been bluffing.

Jokes aside, it’s clear Squire does believe in something and that something is music. The former member of Shotgun and Jaybird has launched into his new project with Daniel Romano (Attack in Black) and Julie Doiron with gusto.

The trio spent the summer of 2009 in Squire’s garage in Sackville, New Brunscwick, recording the stripped-down, self-titled album with a only a tape machine, guitars and their voices — save for an appearance of Del Weaton’s fiddle playing. The resulting album is the result of a variety of different approaches, though all remain firmly grounded in folk.

“Some of [the songs] were arranged by Dan, prior to coming out. Others we arranged there . . . we looked through poetry for lyrics and put the music to it. Ones like Clementine are versions based on memory, you know, the classics,” says Squire. “Others still were just figured out a couple minutes before the actual performance. Dan’s a really fast writer — he’s left-handed — and he’d just write down the lyrics and we’d just tape them to the back of the chair that was in front of the microphone, and we’d all read from the lyrics.”

It may sound campy, but all three participants have established themselves with individual solo careers and work in other Canadian music projects. The garage recording session produced 10 tracks, which are available as both an LP and a CD. Ten songs is not a whole lot to tour on and listeners may become alarmed to hear Squire confess that they have since cut it down to seven for a variety of reasons. The artists, however, have expanded their show by performing small solo sets in addition to their performance as a group.

“It’s just a way to break up the set — the monotony of the sound — and then create a new monotony that the group again destroys,” Squire says.

He also was sure to note that the solo shows include witty comical banter that varies from performer to performer. Judging by his performance during the interview, it would be worth attending the show for the comedy alone. He closed out the conversation with a discussion of one of his other pastimes.

“My main project, oh, it was gardening, but now it’s [Daniel, Fred and Julie]. I kind of prefer gardening but I like this because it makes me miss gardening. I play music to the garden, so it works out. It promotes growth for sure.”

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