The Long Road to Party Music

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After months of updates, a pair of EPs, a couple of tours and some major life changes, Colin Fowlie’s debut album arrives this week.

Matt Carter

Colin Fowlie is one of those musicians you just want to root for; the kind of artist you truly want to see succeed at what they are doing. It doesn’t matter if you are into folk music or what people commonly refer to as singer-songwriter stuff. One man and a guitar isn’t always everyone’s thing, but in the case of this Fredericton-based musician, his honesty and openness about his career, his ability to tell a captivating story through his lyrics and his down-to-earth personality are all things that combine to make Colin Fowlie a unique performer. And that’s something you can’t help but appreciate.

His debut album Party Music comes out this week, an album he’s been working on since the fall of 2018. Over the course of the entire project, Fowlie has been documenting and sharing glimpses into the process of writing and recording the album through countless posts on his social media. Through in-studio performance videos and posts speaking directly to his audience or anyone who will listen, Fowlie embraced the process of making a record and invited us all to join him on his journey in a way few artists from New Brunswick ever have. No veil of secrecy here.

Openness has always been part of his M.O. Through a steady stream of posts on social media, Fowlie has broadened the usual artist/audience relationship, mixing an uncommon level of intimacy through personal stories and reflections with the usual “I’m here. Come see me play” type of posts we come to expect from every artist.

In October of last year, just weeks after offering up a first taste of what he has been creating in the studio by way of his first EP, Harmony, Fowlie went public with his decision to leave his day job and pursue music full time. In a video posted on Facebook on November 1, 2018, Fowlie began by running through his upcoming tour dates and then continued by saying, “I no longer have a traditional day job. I was kind of thinking about making the change and focusing on music full time and that has happened. So, going forward, I’ll be doing music, touring, playing shows, doing music related things, making content and trying to grow my business.  That is what I do now.”

How could you not immediately cheer for this guy? For me, when I heard this, that was it. I was all in.

The EP Harmony was my first exposure to Fowlie’s writing. Each of the three tracks on this release tell a clear and captivating tale. It’s like reading a collection of short stories (or listening to an audio book I suppose). He creates relatable characters and then sends them on these eventful journeys over the course of each song. He’s a gifted songwriter. No doubt about it.

He followed that release up with a second EP that again included a few tracks from the album. Amusement Park was released last February, introducing a few more sounds to the mix. The title track, a full-on blues rock number, was a not so subtle hint that the forthcoming album would indeed feature a full range of sound.

Party Music delivers as promised. The album’s 12 tracks are each guided by Fowlie’s tasteful acoustic guitar work and surrounded by a contributions from a wealth of talented musicians. His backing band featuring Steve Hubbard on guitar, Jarret Meadows on bass and James Rooney on drums receive occasional compliment from a number of guest musicians. Of the many players who have contributed their talent to creating Party Music, the voice of Michelle Morrison is a big standout. She pairs perfectly with Fowlie’s rich, low register and appears as a character in more than one of the stories featured on this album. 

In addition to all the players who bring the songs on Party Music to life, Fowlie has surrounded himself with likeminded collaborators through every step of the process and is continuously giving thanks to everyone who has helped him out. His manager and booking agent Eddie Young has a very similar story. A prolific social media user, event organizer and festival founder, Young also made the decision to go all-in with music in 2018, leaving his traditional day job to pursue management and booking on a full time basis. Who better to team up with than someone who completely understands the risk and the hustle of the music business?

And then of course, there is Steven Lewis and Jay Merrill. Another pair of gifted career musicians. Lewis and Merrill play together in The Big Band of Fun and operate Marshall Studios, a small but capable recording studio in Fredericton. Merrill was the engineer on this project and Lewis acted as producer, helping Fowlie with structure and instrumentation.

In the story of Colin Fowlie, the release of Party Music signifies the end of one chapter and the beginning of something new. The creation process for this project is complete and for the rest of 2019 he’ll be out on the road. He’s already begun sharing updates from his adventure, chatting into his dashboard camera as he makes his way through Quebec and Ontario with musician Liam Keith-Jacques. 

Congrats Colin. Here’s to new music and new beginnings. 

Party Music will be officially released April 5, 2019. 

Upcoming Dates:

April 4, 2019 Oshawa, ON – Cork & Bean
April 5, 2019 Corbyville, ON – Signal Brewing
April 6, 2019 Kingston, ON – Musiikki Cafe
April 7, 2019 Toronto, ON – The Painted Lady
April 8, 2019 Orillia, ON – The Brownstone Cafe
April 9, 2019 Kitchener, ON – Funky Olive Hair Studio
April 12, 2019 Brockville, ON – Spirfire Cafe
April 13, 2019 Wakefield, QC – Kaffe 1870
April 14, 2019 Osgoode, ON – Vibration Studios
April 20, 2019 Fredericton, NB – Grimross Brewing Co.


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