The Andrew Collins Trio started writing their new album this fall, but the Toronto-based acoustic roots band – string players Andrew Collins, Mike Mezzatesta and James McEleney – hasn’t been playing much since wrapping up a 2019 tour in Australia in November.
“I had a baby since then and Mike Mezzatesta … he loved Australia so much that he ended up re-booking his return ticket and stayed out there for an extra two moths almost,” said Collins, who plays mandolin. “So a lot of the prep has been me writing stuff and then sending out little voice memos to the guys so they can hear it.”
The group just recently got back on the road and start their B.C. tour tonight in Sorrento. Collins said by the time they get to Nanaimo’s Unitarian Hall on Feb. 6 most of their new material should be “up and running.”
“Thankfully we don’t have a lot of long drives on this tour, so we’ll have some time in the hotel to rehearse a bit and maybe work up a couple new tunes…” Collins said. “So I think there’s going to be a lot of testing as we go on this next couple tours because end of February we’re in the studio whether it’s ready or not, so we better get it ready.”
The new album is tentatively titled The Rule of Three, a reference to the artistic principle and the fact that the group is a trio.
The album will feature 10 original instrumental pieces as well as an arrangement of Claude Debussy’s turn-of-the-century composition Clair de Lune.
“In the new acoustic world a lot of people will draw on the Bach repertoire and I was trying to look for something that was just a right-hand turn from that,” Collins said.
The album will also see Collins reunite with producer David Travers-Smith, who helped him record his debut album. This is the first time in two decades that the pair are working together and The Rule of Three will be the first Andrew Collins Trio recording not produced by Collins.
“As I got into engineering and producing he was a big mentor to me and we’re very, very good friends as well,” Collins said. “So after almost 20 years I’m finally going to work with him again and this time hand over the reins of production to him and let him really put his mark on our music.”
Collins said he wants the new album to “explore studio magic” to a greater degree, and hopes Travers-Smith tries some new, creative engineering practices.
“I’m really looking forward to letting him guide the ship and not have that role for myself,” Collins said. “If I were to do it again it would sound a lot like our previous albums and I always try to have us be taking steps forward.”
WHAT’S ON … The Andrew Collins Trio performs at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Rd., on Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25, available from Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus Music and online.