Ian Foster’s latest album reflection on passage of time

Amanda Jess
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Foster to release “The Great Wave” at Glasgow Square

If a similar theme can be pinpointed on Ian Foster’s latest album, it’s one of change.

Recording in an art gallery was a new experience for Newfoundland singer/songwriter Ian Foster. The creative space lend itself to the album, “The Great Wave,” a series of songs Foster will bring to New Glasgow June 1. 

As Foster toured Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Europe since the release of “The Evening Light” in 2011, different experiences and stories spoke to him, material that transpired into a record both moving and playful with traditional folk and modern touches.

“The sort of theme of the record is the great wave as time. So it’s the movement of time past us and what the wave leaves in its wake,” the 32-year-old St. John’s, Newfoundland man said.

There was a time when Ian Foster was considering writing about musicians, rather than taking part in the Atlantic soundscape.

With his talent for songwriting, it’s clear he would’ve excelled either way, but it would be a shame to miss out on tracks like “Ethie” and “The Great Wave,” tunes New Glasgow may have a chance to hear during his CD release show with local Jim Dorie on June 1.

Foster spent six weeks in an open concept house and art gallery in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, taking advantage of the space and view while he tracked his latest album, which will be available June 3.

“It was amazing. It was a first time doing something like that and I never want to do it any other way. Maybe not every time in an art gallery, but the idea of using that alternative space was so incredibly interesting and different in terms of a recording space,” he said about the experience, adding that it allowed for experimentation with microphoning techniques. “Being able to use the sonics of the different space, and also that sort of vibe and x-factor that comes with that other space, a space where music is not normally created. I think it sort of lend a vibrancy to the songs.”

Although not an academic writer, Foster’s degree seeps into his songwriting. His literary way with words and passion for storytelling combined with historical undertones shine through, showcasing his past at Memorial University, studying English and history.

After graduating at 21-years-old, he said he realized all signs were pointing towards taking the stage.

“As a journalist, I was looking at interviewing musicians all the time. That’s all I wanted to do, interview musicians, review CDs, those things. It sort of made me realize that every aspect of my life, even my academic life, I was always trying to take courses about music, or find a way to write a paper that had something to do with music, even if it was an English course.”

He started studying piano when he was 10, and picking up guitar in high school.

He gained the courage to perform some of the songs he had written over the years in 2003.

Foster started from the bottom rung of the ladder, as he put it, playing at open mic nights and wherever else he could.

He’s worked himself up, gaining Music Newfoundland and East Coast Music Award nominations and international radio play.

It’s no wonder why he’d garner recognition, especially with the title track off his latest album.

The musical ebb and flow of “The Great Wave” matches the nature of the story behind the song.

It was written in a small town in Italy, inspired by a man who used to sneak into a castle, previously occupied by Nazis.

“This man has snuck into the castle and played about 10 years after the war had ended, which is amazing to me - this image of innocence versus experience. All that town had gone through in the war, and to have this kid, the rejuvenating nature of youth after all of this horrible experience.”

The feeling behind “Ethie” is just as beautiful, a barely-there shipwreck off the coast of Northern Newfoundland.

“The ocean has sort of taken it back one piece of a time over the last 100 years. So it was really the absence of the ‘Ethie,’ as opposed to its presence, that had me write that song which is sort of a meditation on mortality and the idea of ‘this is our moment now and everything passes.’”

Dorie and Foster will be in the Green Room at Glasgow Square on June 1 at 7 p.m.

Admission is $15.



On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Europe New Glasgow Pouch Cove Italy Northern Newfoundland Glasgow Square

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