Exploring Canada and music with Michael Kaeshammer

Michael Kaeshammer’s next tour, which will see a Yorkton stop as part of the Yorkton Arts Council’s Stars for Saskatchewan series, is all about reconnecting with places he misses. Kaeshammer will be in Yorkton on Oct. 7 at the Anne Portnuff Theatre.

He describes it as a bit of a throwback to the start of his career, the Saskatchewan leg being just like his tours after the OSAC showcase, touring towns big and small.

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“At the beginning of my career, I was touring anywhere and everywhere... I just miss driving through Canada and visiting some places I used to go to. Sometimes it’s the theatre, sometimes it’s the town. This tour is nice because it visits B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, and I get to drive it all.”

While the travel aspect of touring can be frustrating and stressful, Kaeshammer is looking forward to this tour because he gets to drive and explore the country.

“I love Canada, and I always feel great when you come back from somewhere else and it says ‘Welcome to Canada’ as you cross the border... I’ve toured so much in Canada, and I’ve toured between the major centres so much over the years, I think I’ve seen places in Canada that people my parents’ ages haven’t seen or wouldn’t see because there’s no reason to go there unless there’s family or you go on vacation... If you’re open to the experience, and getting to know the towns you go to because you have to eat, you’re going to meet people there. If you’re open to the experience, it’s a great journey, and you’re going to learn something all the time. Small towns, I live in a small town here... It’s just a whole different vibe than a city like Toronto or Vancouver, a more community atmosphere.”

As much as he loves exploring Canada, he loves exploring what he can do with his art, and his most recent album Something New took Kaeshammer into new directions as he put on ‘new hats,’ with Kaeshammer taking the role of producer with this one.

“I did everything myself on this record, because I wanted to start producing other people. There are a lot of guests on it, there might be a tune that I have written where instead of me singing it, I thought maybe Colin James or Cyril Neville would be better singing it... I wanted to wear the producer hat just as much, and not get caught up in the artist ego where it’s my songs, my record. That was a lot of fun, and it was a whole new experience for me, and there are a lot of guests on it through that process.”

The album was recorded in New Orleans, and a city whose sound has been a major influence on Kaeshammer’s work.

“When you go there and play with musicians who have been a part of that history, it’s very different from recording it in Toronto or Vancouver and making people play like that. Not that it’s better or worse, it’s just a different atmosphere and a different vibe. And that’s why I went there, I wanted to capture that. We did it in the Treme district, it was a great studio, and it just felt like being part of New Orleans.”

That he can still do something new after having a career for over twenty years, he’s still in love with music, with playing, and trying new things.

“The beautiful thing about music or any art, you grow with it.”

But the main goal is to share his love of music with the audience, and he promises that everyone at the show will have a good time.

“I love playing, and I have so much fun in life with music, that is what I want to convey when I perform. The fact that I’m playing piano and singing is a vehicle to get it across, and get everyone in the same room. People will have a good time, because I’m going to have a good time, and everyone on stage is going to have a good time. In the band there is a great drummer from New Orleans, and he’s never been to any of the places where we are going, and he’s already packed his big winter coat because he comes up here in the summer and wears a winter coat. It’s just the whole experience, all of that will come across on stage, the fact that we are on a trip that we’re really enjoying.”

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