When Trevor Mann got back home after spending most of the last year on the road with his band Scenic Route to Alaska, he was feeling lonely and burnt out – the perfect headspace to begin writing a new album.
The singer and guitarist locked himself in the basement of the group’s Edmonton headquarters and two and a half weeks later he emerged with Tough Luck, a concept record about finding a balance between a life in transit and stasis.
“I guess I could probably categorize myself as somewhat of a helpless romantic, or hopeless romantic, I’m not sure which one, maybe both. So the record is kind of about this self-inflicted loneliness that comes along with doing what I love to do,” Mann said.
“It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek because it’s not like, ‘Oh, this is the end of the world,’ because at the end of the day I’m not sure what I would choose more, touring with my two best friends all the time or settling down to start some kind of home life.”
The group – lead vocalist and guitarist Trevor Mann, drummer Shea Connor and bassist Murray Wood – turned to producer Howard Redekopp for Tough Luck. Redekopp helmed the band previous album, Long Walk Home, which produced the band’s breakout hit single, Love Keeps. He’s also known for work with Canadian indie heroes like Tegan and Sara and the New Pornographers, groups Mann said Scenic Route to Alaska admires.
“Howard did a great job on this record of I think really capturing our unique sound, which is just the three of us trying to fill up as much space as possible and also be as sparse as possible when necessary.”
The bulk of the album was recorded in Brain Adams’s studio in Vancouver, a large space Mann said was intimidating but brought out the best in the band, noting that “it provided us with some sweet drum tones and we got to crank the guitar amps as loud as we want.”
The band released Tough Luck on March 9 and now they’re back on the road, swinging through B.C. before the tour moves to the United States, Eastern Canada and Europe. On March 22 Scenic Route to Alaska plays Nanaimo for the first time at the Queen’s.
“It’s going to be a long tour and I think that being on the coast there is going to be probably some of the most revitalizing times that we’ll get,” Mann said.
WHAT’S ON … Scenic Route to Alaska performs at the Queen’s with special guests Mike Edel and Maverick Cinema on Thursday, March 22. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Available at Lucid, Desire Tattoo, Sunrise Records, the Queen’s and myshowpass.com.