Volume 92, Issue 90

Thursday, March 18, 1999


Second banana takes the stand

Reefer Madness infects Post-New Yorker Series

MacPherson digs deep for inspiration

His name is Eminem - isn't it?

MacPherson digs deep for inspiration

©Gazette file photo

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

What better place for a singer/songwriter to find the peace and serenity required to conceive new material than in a graveyard. Just a guitar, the open air and the deceased.

"And they say the people are quiet," Greg McPherson adds. The Winnipeg artist speaks from experience as he has spent the last few summers toiling in the burial grounds of Manitoba to finance his budding musical career.

McPherson very well may be the true working class hero. Right from the start, this graduate of the University of Manitoba has been scratching and clawing in the modern world to pay his dues.

"When I was 17, I worked enough at Woolco to save up and buy an electric guitar," McPherson remarks about the birth of his musical career.

In university his studies focused on music and music history but also on topics such as politics. McPherson says the history and politics he studied greatly influenced his music at the time, although he was still focused on pursuing his academic career. It wasn't until graduation that he opened up to the idea of making music a full time job.

"After graduation, I started to realise that I was better at writing songs than academics, so it was better to write music than go after my masters degree," McPherson explains.

And so began this 25 year old's journey down the long and winding road as an independent artist. From the start, his goals centred around writing lyrics.

"I'm sort of a hack on the guitar," he explains. "I've always just hoped to find words and melodies that fit together. I'm not aiming for some higher message."

McPherson's progressing career led him down many paths, playing everything from coffee shops to all ages punk rock shows and opening for acts such as the immortal Chris Deburgh of "Lady in Red" fame. Over time he was able to put together a 12-track demo with help from the CBC and some musical engineering students. The isolation of Winnipeg then forced him to tour farther east, into Ontario and the Maritimes.

All this advancement has culminated in the imminent production of his official debut CD, to begin next month. The album, which McPherson describes as "eclectic sounding," has also been an example of the underdog stature the independent artist must face in today's music world.

At a total budget of $12,000 and with no record label support, he has had to invest $5,000 of his own money to help cover the costs. In addition, McPherson has borrowed from friends and received $2,000 from CBC Manitoba. The rest of the costs will be covered by a grant from the Manitoba Film and Sound Development System which is an organization designed to help the so-called, starving artist.

Despite the pitfalls of his chosen path, McPherson knows he is lucky to have received so much support and has no regrets about his career choice.

"It's like anything else, you hit roadblocks."

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