We are very proud to premiere The Brightside Of It All, the sophomore studio album from Toronto-based folk-punk musician Greg Laraigné, now exclusively under his last name as LARAIGNÉ. The LP will be out this Wednesday (May 11), digitally and on limited edition smokey clear vinyl, through Snappy Little Numbers (North America) and Shield Recordings (Europe), but you can already stream it in its entirety here. I don’t know what music you expect based on the impressive cover art by Gian Andrea Signorell, but this has an Americana kind of sound, honest and heartfelt. [Post continues below]
Singer-songwriter Greg Laraigné released his first full-length Story Tellers, True Believers in 2012. Although he has toured extensively with his songs, he has focused more on his second passion as a widely recognized tattoo artist. Luckily for us, he managed to record this new album – at the end of this post he shares how the record came to life, but let’s start with our early impression of The Brightside Of It All. Ten years in the making, the seven tracks are well thought out and well produced. The sound is bright, and the beautiful instrumental accompaniment functional, melancholic and expressive. The powerful vocals and personal lyrics take the spotlight though: stories that hit hard. For example, listen to Thirty-Nine, which is intense both musically and lyrically, magnificent in all respects.
This is roots music but with a punk rock feel – a combination we really like, but this release excels in the genre. It’s convincing, timeless music with its heart in the right place.
This is Greg’s take on the story:
“After releasing Story Tellers, True Believers in 2011, my life switched. Switzerland felt like it was getting too comfortable and I needed new experiences. I left for Montreal in 2012. Once in Canada, I was confronted by so much talent and some life challenges that I lost the sparkle for music. It felt like I wasn’t good enough. I played a few shows here and there but I couldn’t write. I lacked inspiration, ideas, and – consequently – self confidence… so I slowly stopped playing.
In 2016 I was offered a tour in Europe, which was my wakeup call. I had an awesome tour and memorable experiences! At the same time my father had lost his vision, was lonely and got depressed. I tried to reconnect but sometimes it was difficult, with our past issues and trying to express myself. I was having a hard time trying to understand his past, our past and our relationship. When he passed away in 2017, that was when I decided to focus on these songs and book some studio time. It is also when I decided to go by the moniker “LARAIGNÉ”. For these songs, I was looking for something sad and beautiful at the same time, which lead to the Brightside Of It All.
The record was engineered, produced and mastered in 2020, right before the pandemic and the cancellation of all the festivals that followed. On top of it all I had been away from Europe for some time. I contacted a few records labels, but the world’s situation backed everyone’s plan up and it made everything extremely difficult. I sent the record to my friend Seth Anderson who passed it along to Chuck at Snappy Little Numbers. They were interested right away and that is all I needed; a motivated entity that believed in my music and wanted to help. They have a DIY vibe and a punk rock mentality that I connected with. From the get go I knew we were going to work well together.
I have a longer history with Shield Recordings. We met when I played a show in the Netherlands back in 2011, and since then they have always been supportive of my projects and interested in my music. Despite all of the time out of the music scene, as well as the Covid situation, they were instantly willing and able to help me for this new record. It is a very important project for me – very personal – and it felt right working with teams that didn’t think twice, instantly offered me help during such a strange and difficult time.
I am proud, incredibly grateful and happy we are all working together. I am already writing new material and I have been back in studio to record. The next adventure is something to look forward to!”