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The Stanfields in Pictou County: a high-energy homecoming

Nova Scotia band The Stanfields are launching their new album Limboland on Friday, April 13 at Casino Nova Scotia's Schooner Showroom.
The Stanfields recently release their newest album, Limboland - Contributed

Maritime roots/rock group’s set will mix old favourites with intense new songs from Limboland

Jon Landry, lead singer, guitar and harmonica player for The Stanfields is excited to play on home turf tomorrow, at the Glasgow Square Theatre. Saturday’s performance will be something of a homecoming for the five-member rock/roots band, since three of the five members of the band have lived, and grown up in Pictou County.

Landry, who spent his teenage years in Stellarton, said “there’s a real familiar kind of feel” to playing a show at Glasgow Square – and that he doesn’t even really consider it a formal “show,” per se, when he and his band mates play in Pictou County.

“We play a lot of shows over Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and every town has a certain vibe, protocol and criteria that go with that,” said Landry in a call with The News.

Landry elabourated, saying “it’s not like just doing an anonymous show for fans,” when performing in Pictou County. “It’s friends, family – early adopters, if you will."

"It’s people who’ve allowed us the ability to dream a big bigger,” said Landry, adding that the shows he and his band mates perform in Pictou County “are very special and dear to us.”

There is a different vibe to playing where you grew up, “because you know a lot of people directly, who are coming to see your show. A lot of the time, it’s a lot of the people who lifted you up in the first place,” said Landry.

For those wondering what sort of songs they’ll hear on Saturday, The Stanfields plan on playing a mixture of their earlier songs and some of the new material from their latest album, Limboland.

Limboland, by Landry’s description, “hooks on frustration. It’s frustration as a protagonist, or maybe an antagonist. Instead of it being us saying ‘I hate what the world is doing to me,’ it’s more, ‘I hate what is happening in the world and I hate how actively involved I am in this bullshit.’ It’s not pointing fingers outwardly; it’s pointing them back at ourselves."

Landry said the theme of Limboland is a commentary on the consequences of things that are taken for granted – including one another. With polarized political paradigms driving public opinion, Landry said a lot of the content of Limboland’s songs should ring familiar.

“With celebrity culture taking over democracy, you’ve got extremism driving clicks – and with all that click-bait, we’re stuck in his limbo,” he said.

One challenge The Stanfields face as their discography grows is chosing what they're going to play at a show. “It’s funny, it’s our fifth record, and it’s crazy. We’re now at the point where putting a set list together is an exercise in forethought and diplomacy,” Landry admitted, with a chuckle. “We’re trying to anticipate what people want to hear, and what we want to say,” said Landry.

Although Limboland will feature heavily in Saturday's show, "we're not only playing songs from that record, mind you,” said Landry. “There are only so many hours in the day. If we played our whole catalogue, we would be up on stage for eight hours. It’s more of a highlight reel that we’ll be playing."

There’s always something new and fresh for fans at any and all of the Stanfields’ shows, too. Landry emphasized that “we don’t play songs live the same way we play them on our albums,” describing live shows with elements of improvisation to songs as “our bread and butter.”

In addition to basking in the high energy show the mean to put on this weekend, Landry said their concert is dedicated to an old, dear departed friend of the band: New Glasgow’s illustrious music promoter, Carlton Munroe.

Because of Munroe’s important role in the creation of Limboland – and the Stanfields themselves, as a band – Landry said there is “a whole other level of importance to playing this show" for Munroe.

“Carleton was instrumental in getting our band on the path. From our appearances on jubilee stages and opportunities he created for us, to the personal insight and guidance he provided,” said Landry. “He was our first manager once upon a time, and he was in the studio when we recorded a lot of (Limboland).”

The Stanfields’ performance will be opened by The Ghost of Paul Revere, a folk rock group from Portland, Maine.

“Somehow they ended up with us. We connected a few years back, and invited them to play at shows. People should come check them out, for sure,” said Landry.

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