From the album’s ten songs to the folks who helped make it all happen, Marian’s debut has all the makings of a true Hit Record.
There was never any question what kind of band Marian would become. Before establishing themselves as the city’s next great rock band, three of the group’s members – Dylan Ward, Stefan Westner and Tim Everett – had already embraced their collective identity as conduits for easily accessible rock n roll as members of the short-lived Fredericton ensemble David in the Dark. At a time when a lot of local bands were pushing themselves towards the fringes of popular music, encouraged in part by a local support network of emerging festivals (Shifty Bits Circus and FLOURISH) willing to make space for sounds outside the direct realm of immediate popularity, this trio, though heavily embedded in all that was happening at the time, never faltered from their chosen mission to play straight up rock music.
Following the release of their self-titled debut EP in 2019, the band firmly established its current lineup by welcoming Jerry-Faye Flatt into the fold. Flatt’s upper register, almost-country twang blends perfectly with Ward’s up-front, pop-friendly voice. It’s an ideal pairing that helps further distinguish the group from its local peers.
As the band’s fanbase continued to grow, reaching beyond its inner circle of close friends, Marian caught the attention of David Myles, a Fredericton-born, international touring musician who had recently moved back to town after years spent living in Halifax.
“I saw Marian live last summer and totally loved it,” said Myles. “Soon afterwards we hung out and Dylan played me some of the stuff the band was working on. It sounded phenomenal, had great energy and really interesting harmonic elements.”
As unlikely a pair as Marian and David Myles may sound – one an emerging rock band built on shameless hooks and harmonies, the other an establish folk crooner whose music often gets labeled as “adult contemporary” due to both its eclectic nature and the average age of his audience – both parties share one obvious yet easily overlooked trait: their music is firmly rooted in ground level rock n roll. And perhaps more importantly, both parties have stuck to their metaphorical guns from the get go, always making music that is true to their hearts without bending to trends or ever losing direction. That’s just about as admirable as it gets.
Myles, encouraged by the recordings Ward had shared, took things one step further. He reached out to his friend and fellow JUNO nominee Joel Plaskett to ask if he would be interested in mixing the forthcoming album.
“I thought of Joel immediately,” said Myles. “This was something Joel would totally love and have a really good sense of how to mix. So I texted him that day and sent along the stuff to see what he thought. He totally dug it and responded right away! It was awesome. Exactly how I had hoped it might play out.”
Adding Plaskett’s ear and knowledge of rock n roll to the mix not only helped lift an already strong album to the next level, but also helped bring another like minded musician into Marian’s camp.
“David Myles told me about Marian and mentioned to Dylan that he thought I’d be a good fit for mixing the project at my studio, Fang Recording,” said Plaskett. “Dylan and I spoke on the phone and it sounded like we had some shared influences. I asked him to send down a few rough mixes to check out and I really liked the tracks.
“It was a joy mixing the record with the band,” said Plaskett. “Great arrangements and melodic songs. I’m excited to hear the record on vinyl.”
Hit Record, as the name suggests, has all the makings of something great. Something timeless. The arrangements are exciting and comfortably unpredictable, and Ward’s lyrics are can be as vague or relatable as you want. Through top-notch songwriting backed up by a band that undoubtedly understands rock’s secret formula for cleverly embedding a wealth of intricacies within an otherwise simple sounding framework, Marian’s Hit Record shines bright with a light that will last for years to come.
April 29 | Saint John Arts Centre | Saint John
April 30 | The Cap | Fredericton
May 6 | Grimross Brewing Co. | Fredericton (ECMA Showcase)
May 13 | Baba’s Lounge | Charlottetown, PEI
May 14 | New Maritime Brewery | Miramichi, NB
May 20 | Paddlefest | St. Andrews, NB
May 27 | Gus’s Pub | Halifax, NS
May 28 | Tide and Boar | Moncton, NB