CHRIS VELAN - GLOW
Montreal songwriter and producer, Chris Velan, has made his sixth and latest album, Glow, a homecoming. Co-produced with Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Wolf Parade, Vic Chestnutt) and recorded with an all-star band of local musicians, Glow is the first album Velan has made in his hometown since 2005.
Says Velan, “After ten years recording and lots of touring, I just hit a wall and ran out of energy and inspiration. I decided to stay put in Montreal for a while, try producing other artists and become part of the community again.” Over the course of the year, he produced a debut album for Vermont chanteuse, Francesca Blanchard, traveled to Haiti record the Haitian collective, Lakou Mizik’s, first release and joined Montreal afro-rock outfit, Dear Denizen, on guitar. In the process, he found the spark to start writing again.
“With the first couple of songs that I wrote for this album, it seemed that I was creating a sort of rock opera about the end of the world. But as more songs came and I started to burrow down into what they meant, I realized they were all getting at different notions of an apocalypse – not in the end-of-times sense but in the everyday revealing of what’s been hidden. That’s when the album went from conceptual to personal for me.”
The songs on Glow want to pull back the curtain and let the light in. They’re about taking that long, unflinching look in the mirror, shattering mythologies, both personal and collective, and naming the lies that keep us caged.
It’s a path of inquiry that began for Velan on his previous album, The Long Goodbye, a raw and confessional reckoning with the break-up of a long-term relationship. While echoes of that ache remain in his latest release, Velan’s writing now looks forward with a faith in the blossoming power of love, connection, and the other intangibles that sustain life and will.
Glow is also the most accomplished, seamless mingling of Velan’s musical predilections, dancing from quiet, intimate passages growing on pulse smooth rhythms. It’s a DNA that draws from his singer-songwriter craft as much as from West African guitar pop, vintage-era rock steady, and dance-floor eighties rock.
Whether being held accountable for our failing empires in “un-American Gothic”, refusing the clean-up job of a prophet in “Listen, Elijah”, or invoking grace in “Call Me Into Your Heart”, Velan’s latest collection of songs seems intent on finding joy at the end of the world - where no matter how frightening the outcome, the end is never the end, just a great new beginning.
01 As They Are
02 Call Me Into Your Heart
03 un-American Gothic
04 El Zonte
05 Listen, Elijah
06 Steal You Away
07 Ever So Slightly
08 Great New Beginnings
09 Making It Up To You
iTunes Exclusive Tracks
12 Bad Behaviour
13 Perfect World