Volume 93, Issue 74
Thursday, February 10, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Guitarist well-versed in creating new images
Gazette file photo
By Matt Pearson
"I'm at the IGA, somewhere in Toronto it's a pretty exotic location," jokes 26 year-old, singer/songwriter, Greg MacPherson.
Yet as he travels across Canada promoting his first album, Balanced on a Pin, it's likely this particular IGA will not be the last exotic location he visits.
MacPherson, who began playing guitar in high school and writing songs in his early 20s, was born in Eastern Canada but raised in the West. This experience has lent him a unique perspective on the country as a whole. "I have a keen sense of the differences between regions, whether that means economic or geographic differences," he explains.
His hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has also played a role in shaping him both as a person and a musician.
Still, MacPherson realizes many artists from Winnipeg must leave at some point to pursue their careers. "Winnipeg has a tendency to export a lot of people, especially the music scene," he says. Chantal Kreviazuk, the Crash Test Dummies and the Watchmen are among the many products to come from Winnipeg's bustling music scene.
Balanced on a Pin had a modest start in Manitoba, as well as on campuses throughout the country. In fact, it has remained number one on the charts at the University of Manitoba's 101.5 UMFM campus radio station since its release in early December.
With its melodic, sometimes murky sounds and introspective lyrics, it is definitely a strong start for MacPherson, who has only previously released an EP cassette.
The ideas for the lyrics come mainly from MacPherson's desire to create images. "I write about whatever is happening around me, using life as a backdrop," he comments. Many of the songs have a genuine, down-to-earth quality setting them apart from much of the generic overkill ceaselessly pumped out by contemporary radio.
MacPherson himself comes across in conversation as laid back, candid and more than affable. So why then has such a people-person worked every summer for the last six years in a cemetery? "It's the best summer job," he says. Despite being surrounded by families in mourning, MacPherson doesn't find the rather unusual experience depressing in any way and insists it hasn't really changed his perspective on death.
The upside to digging all of those graves is that it gives him the winter months to record and tour. His current tour, which began in the eastern provinces, will last about three weeks. MacPherson is doing almost all of the travelling by train, allowing him to see all parts of the country. He hopes to spend the summer months on the road as well, performing at a number of folk festivals throughout Canada and the U.S..
With the support of such a strong album, MacPherson is destined to be dubbed Winnipeg's latest export. For now though, he appears happy with the way things are surviving on his own without the support of a major label. "I'd like to stay independent as long as possible."
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