After two-and-a-half years of reimagining, rewriting and recording, local folk artist Abe Drennan is ready to release his album by the end of April.
“I had high hopes in the beginning. I was all gung-ho. I thought I was going to be done in three months. When I realized the songs weren’t ready, it kind of crushed me,” said Drennan, who’s also a music teacher at East Three Secondary School.
Throughout his time wrestling with the production of the album, he described being broken up and shut down in the process. But even in the face of adversity, Drennan said that he knew he couldn’t give up on it.
“I had all these doubts. But then the project put me back together again. It’s been amazing, it’s been such a journey,” he said. “Just in terms of my own growth as a musician, it stressed me in ways I never could have imagined.”
The album, titled “Iglu Sessions”, will revolve around Drennan’s personal accounts of living on the traditional lands of the Gwich’in and the Inuvialuit, specifically focusing on stories of loss, hope and healing for the future.
“The songs are very personal to me, about my experiences. I always kind of saw my music as therapy,” he said. “If I write down what I’m thinking about, what I’m seeing and feeling, then I could get it out of me.”
The entire album was recorded at Our Lady of Victory Church – or the “Igloo Church” – hence the album’s name.
“I wanted to record an album here in the North and thought that instead of doing it in my kitchen, why not do it in the church?” he said.
With the help of other local musicians and artists such as Glen Brake, Benjamin David, David Ross and Tony Devlin, Drennan said that he’s hoping to have an album consisting of 10 to 12 songs complete with album artwork, which will be available on streaming apps and on CDs.
“I learned some patience and that I can’t do it alone. I can’t shoulder something like this all alone. I have to reach out and ask for help,” he said.
Brennan said that he entered a song off the album titled “Algonquin Sun” to the annual CBC Searchlight contest, a competition that searches for the nation’s best undiscovered musical talent. The song features his dad playing the harmonica while his sister provides background vocals.
“I’m hopeful for it, but I’ve also learned not to have huge high expectations. Whatever happens is awesome,” he said. “Same with the album. If I get it out in front of people and people enjoy it as much as I do, then that’s all that I can ask for.”
Once the album art is complete and the final songs on the album are mixed and mastered, Drennan said that he’s going to launch an Indiegogo campaign to help cover the costs of the album’s final touches, as well as distribution fees, duplication of the CDs and the production of a music video as well.
“It’s just evolving my career as a musician. There’s all these pivotal moments in my career and this project has brought about a lot of that. There’s so much more to come too,” he said.
Although it was a tough process, Drennan said that he was happy that he missed his three-month mark on the album and actually took his time creating it.
“If I had just bull-headed forward and recorded what I had, I wouldn’t be happy with it. I dove into the creative process and I’ve come out stronger,” he said.