A new country CD has been released from a local musician.
Andrew Meroniuk born at Sturgis and now living in Yorkton has recently emerged from Freedom Sound Studio in the city with his first disk.
Meroniuk said his interest in music goes back to his earliest memories.
“Ever since I can remember, every function my family ever went to, I’d always pull up a chair by the fiddle player and watch him,” he told Yorkton This Week. “I was fascinated with the sound.”
And that interest was fostered by Meroniuk’s family.
“When I was 12-years-old my Papa John (Johnny Meroniuk) sold a calf under my name (as he did for all grandchildren when they turned twelve) and I got $500 for it,” related Andrew Meroniuk. “With that money, I decided to buy myself a fiddle.
“It sat in the closet for a couple years. Finally my Grandma Eileen Meroniuk bought me fiddle lessons for my birthday. I started excelling quickly. The only thing I could never do is read notes.”
While the fiddle drew the attention of a young Meroniuk, when it came to the radio he was also solidly a country fan.
“My biggest musical influence has to be from Waylon Jennings,” he said. “From the first time I heard him I was hooked to that style of playing.”
And that took Meroniuk to the guitar.
“I bought myself a guitar and for the most part I taught myself, taking a few tips from Aaron Tratch (Oversoul) along the way,” he said.
And the result is a musical style that borrows from various places.
“I play a very wide range of music from old time fiddle to rock and roll, and everything in between, on a wide variety of musical instruments,” said Meroniuk.
And so far Meroniuk is experiencing his share of memorable moments thanks to his music.
“Some of the highlights of my music career have to be playing at the National Ukrainian Heritage Festival when it was in Regina,” he said.
“Another fun show was when I had the opportunity to play main stage at Ness Creek Bluegrass and Old Time Festival as the fiddle player for Pass that Fiddle.
“But my favorite show was one that I did with a band called Dirty Garden that my brother and I slapped together. We got a show time to play at Stenen’s centennial party, covering a lot of classic rock. I have a good time in that band.”
Then there is the new CD.
“The album consists of seven fiddle songs and six country songs,” said Meroniuk. “The seven fiddle songs are traditional, so all I had to do was basically arrange them, and we did that as we went along in the studio.
“I wrote four of the country songs, and I’m covering two of Waylon Jennings’ songs. I originally planned to only sing five, with only two of my own songs. But after my first recording session I decided that I wanted to be a little more original, so I wrote three more, eventually dropping one of them after I didn’t really like it after I recorded it as a demo.
“So, after all that, 13 songs is what I ended up with.”
Meroniuk said the recording process took months.
“After about a year of casual recording I finally laid my last vocal track down two days ago (March 14), completing the project,” he said, adding the studio is a different experience. “It was definitely a big change playing music in the studio. After you throw on the headphones you can hear everything so much closer, and every little mistake is a lot more noticeable.
“So it took me a while to adjust, because basically anything less than perfect in the studio is unusable. So my bad habits from years of playing live had to be dropped in a very short time.”
But the long process in the studio has been worthwhile offered Meroniuk.
“I am very happy with the finished project,” he said. “It turned out better than I expected. Jayson Brinkworth (drummer for Aaron Pritchett) set a solid foundation for the rest of the album. My brother also drummed on two songs.
“Kurt Nies (from Theodore) enhanced the recordings considerably with his fantastic guitar playing.
“And John Anaka has such a talent when it comes to engineering the music, and he also had to be quite patient with me as this was my first time recording in a studio.
“All in all I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Meroniuk says he now wants to take the disk to radio.
“Definitely one of my main goals for this album is for it to have some air time,” he said. “I just hope it makes the cut.”