EMM GRYNER - TORRENTIAL
Combine bedroom folk and a soaring indie pop sensibility and you have the 10th studio album from savvy Canadian songstress, Emm Gryner. Following the 2012 release of her "Best Of" collection and the debut album from her new roots trio, Trent Severn, Torrential recounts a tumultuous year-in-the-life of the struggling new mom. Throw in the skills of L.A.-based producer Joe Corcoran, who together with Gryner and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield produced the music for the viral video version of "Space Oddity", and you have a landmark album from one of Canada's pioneers of indie pop.
Set for release on April 8 on Gryner's own Dead Daisy Records, Torrential was refined over 10 months of back and forth collaboration between producer Joe Corcoran in L.A. and Gryner in St. Marys, Ontario. Often starting with just one guitar part and a vocal, usually etched out in the rare quiet of morning or nighttime, the pair worked diligently to ensure the raw sentiment behind the songs was nurtured and preserved. "Vocals needed to be the focus. Often I recorded them just after I wrote the songs. There's something painfully honest about that," remarks Gryner. The fruit of that labour features a myriad of vintage mandolins, ukuleles, parlour guitars, piano, synths, and sometimes epic drums, woven together to create a mountain range of sonic storytelling.
Torrential rises on the feel good duet with Chris Hadfield, "So Easy", finds a groove in the farewell to old music industry pals, "Purge", and falls to the epic, gothy "End Of Me". Recorded using a mandolin from World War 1 and an iPad, the twangy album single "Pioneer" is "a song about frustration with a fast-moving life," says Gryner. "It's motivated by the reality that a vacation used to be a trip somewhere, and now my idea of a holiday would be chucking my phone into a river."
The album is shaped by the pain and joy of motherhood. 2010 saw Gryner become a mother and a second child, a daughter, was born in 2012. "People don't realize the loneliness of motherhood," says Gryner. "When you care deeply it makes the job that much harder. Everyone hears about women losing themselves to motherhood but there is more at stake than I expected - mental health, the toll on your body, the separation from your love and art. The constant questioning. The album is about all of those struggles. Complicated by no sleep."
Gryner has been nominated 3 times for a Juno Award, twice for Best Pop Album. Her fiercely independent spirit has helped her weather the lows and the highs - a brief and generally unfruitful stint on Mercury Records and a glamorous year-long sideman gig at the age of 24, playing keys and singing backing vocals in David Bowie's band. One of the first artists in Canada to cultivate an independent label and stick to it, Gryner has never looked back, recording dozens of records funded out of her own pocket with the support of a small but loyal fan base.