Snailhouse is making his way to Yorkton as part of a show at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer Monday, June 18.
Snailhouse is the stage persona of soloist Michael Feuerstack, who was born in Winnipeg, but grew up on the East Coast.
“I spent high school, university and beyond in Ottawa, but have been in Montreal for just about 10-years now. This is where I call home,” he told Yorkton This Week in a recent interview.
As diverse as Feuerstack’s addresses through the years, so too is his musical background.
“I started out in a punk band in Moncton NB, then when we moved to a new town I had no friends, so I had to learn to be self-sufficient and make music on my own without all the extra noise,” he said. “Maybe the music’s changed, but it’s coming from exactly the same place now.”
Where is that place exactly?
“I call what I do contemporary song,” said Feuerstack. “I write songs in the folk or pop format, but I try to go a little deeper than ‘pop’ will usually allow for.
“I also play lap steel with Bell Orchestre and many other singer songwriters.
“I used to play in an art-rock band called Wooden Stars.”
Feuerstack said the diversity is something which he accepts as just the way music should be.
“I prefer not to think of music in terms of style or genre, but I realize that sometimes it’s necessary to give people some context.”
For Feuerstack the diverse approach has worked taking him literally around the world.
“I’ve toured Canada and the US, Europe and even Japan once. It’s been a long time,” he said. “Traveling is amazing, and lots of beautiful things happen, but playing to crowds who listen is always a highlight.”
Feuerstack has also found time to record, and record lots. Sentimental Gentlemen, is his eighth disc.
“Most of these songs (on Sentimental Gentlemen) were written by me at home alone over the course of a year or so,” he said. “I make demos at home, but once they are written I try not to play them too much live or in rehearsal. I want to keep that ‘new song feeling’ when I finally have the chance to record.”
The latest effort was recorded at the Treatment Room in Montreal.
“When we got into the studio, I had the chance to arrange them with the band,” said Feuerstack, adding, “Snailhouse doesn’t really have a regular line-up - it’s variable. However these particular musicians had played with me alot during the recent tours, and so it really felt like a band. We tried to use that feeling in laying down this record. Their collaboration was a huge part of the process of making this record.”
Feuerstack said the collaborative approach worked in terms of creating something special with Sentimental Gentleman.
“I’m very happy with the record. It’s like a portrait,” he said. “I think we captured an accurate document ourselves performing that music - a document which features its beauty, tension and eccentricities. There is no single per se, but the title track was made available before the record was released, and we’ll be releasing a video soon for the song ‘I Never Woke Up’.”
And there is more to come from Feuerstack too.
“I’m just mixing a new solo record now, which will come out under my name sometime later this year. I produced and recorded most of it here in my home,” he said. “Once that happens I’ll hit the road (again), of course.”
The show in Yorkton will also include music from Zachary Lucky and Devon Sproule.