The new album, Turning to Wave, was recorded in Edmonton, Alberta once again and features some of the city’s best musicians: James Murdoch adds the ear candy; Nathan Carroll strums and plucks the catchiest of guitar hooks; and F&M lends some golden background vocals. Alberta native turned Nashville resident Chad Melchert plays solid yet emotive drums, and from Deon’s current home (Calgary), Jon Nordstrom adds his soft touch on bass.
The way most romantic men fall in love with a girl after the first kiss, Deon seems to have fallen in love with cities over the past 3 years; while listening to this album you will find yourself yearning for a vacation “if for only two days”. His enthusiasm for New York, Vancouver, Toronto, and Sausalito is infectious, to say the least.
Much of the album was co-written with James Murdoch (who also acted as producer) and when comparing Deon’s earlier albums to this one, it’s safe to say Murdoch’s presence added some fresh air which gives this album distinction without manhandling Blyan’s sound.
In conversation Deon expands on this, “Murdoch and I have really found a comfortable groove in our relationship” says Deon, “if you are going to truly work with a producer, then you have to be willing to be transparent with the song ideas, lyrically and musically. After I finally decided to record again it just made sense to work with James. We wanted Chris Wynters in the room as well but he was in Scotland for the week”.
Deon goes on to explain the writing and recording process for Turning to Wave.” I had 5 great tunes ready to go, but that was it when I decided to record, so I panicked and almost didn’t go ahead with it - but I decided that I’d put some structure around finishing some more songs so I set a schedule of Wednesday nights and Sundays to force myself to finish the ideas I had. After a quick morning of playing the tunes on acoustics’ in Murdoch’s living room, and doing some co-writing, I realized how good the ideas were and got really excited to record”.
When asked about the sound of the new album Deon says, “We consciously put less on this one, we were happy with the sound of the last one, but wanted to allow some “head room” on these tunes”. The live sound of the songs on this album give them a cohesion and energy that creates an additional hook in itself, supported by melodies that you’ll find bouncing around in your head days and weeks after you thought they’d been forgotten. It’s still easy to compare Deon to Jim Cuddy, Neil Finn and Teddy Thompson, but the unique Blyan twist takes a less twangy shape here. Nevertheless, we still hear pedal steel, beautiful clean electric guitars, as well as some banjo on Turning to Wave. And, it is in fact the crafty guitar work by Nathan Carroll that adds to the cohesion mentioned earlier.
Further to the cohesion in sound, we experience a mature turn for Deon and his songwriting on his latest collection. He takes us on a journey to some of his favorite places on tracks like “Brooklyn” and “Across 23rd Street”. We are also taken to some of the deepest emotional places a person could visit in the songs “Earthquake” and “I Don’t Know”, and we are even transported to a fictional town in “Winnipeg Italy”.
The impression that it’s difficult to pigeon hole Deon into a neat and tidy genre or musical realm grows quickly as the notes and melodies float from the speakers. We also learn that Deon is constantly moving forward, both figuratively and literally; and lucky for us, he pauses now and again as he’s Turning to Wave.
released March 1, 2011
Produced and recorded by James Murdoch.
Mixed by James Murdoch and Chris Wynters.
Recorded at Norwood Studio in Edmonton, AB Canada.
Mastered by Tim Branton.
Mastered at Joao Carvalho Mastering in Toronto, ON Canada.
Deon’s new album, Chapter Forty (Dec 2 2016), maintains the strong melodic Folk and Americana sounds heard on previous
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