They say hindsight is 20/20.
Whether recollecting fond memories or dwelling in past failures, hindsight almost always provides the perspective needed to fully appreciate both types of circumstances. It also provided the theme for Winnipeg roots-rock singer-songwriter Joey Landreth's new solo record, the aptly titled Hindsight, which drops Friday and will be celebrated a few days early at the Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club, where Landreth will engage in a pre-show chat before playing a full set, including all of the new tracks.
"There’s all kinds of little looking-back themes on the record. Initially I wasn’t sure what to call the record because it is a bit of a concept record in that Roman (Clarke) and I made it together and the idea was like, ‘Let’s just write some songs and try to record them together and see what happens.’
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club
Tickets $10 at showpass.com
"But all these songs kept coming out that were either songs from another time in my life that didn’t get finished, so the subject matter was kind of old, or it was looking back," says Landreth, 31.
"And I've been coming back to the idea of this is what a record made by a 30-year-old sounds like. And that title track, Hindsight, was one of the last ones added to the pile; I was kind of reflecting on that song itself and it’s a bit of a thread that goes through this whole record."
Landreth has been working on his sophomore release for around a year, and collaborated on the entire project with fellow Winnipeg musician, Clarke, who is best known for his work with the now-defunct trio the Middle Coast (and who is also releasing his own solo project, Scorcher, on April 26).
Clarke had been on the road with the Landreth in his other project, the Bros. Landreth, in 2017, when the pair connected musically. Landreth was inpired by Clarke's strong work ethic along with his creative energy and ideas.
"This is a collaborative creation between myself and Roman, and Meg, the bass player. The majority of the songwriting was either me on my own, or Roman and I, or Roman and Dave (Landreth) and I," says Landreth.
"Maybe this is some kind of self-conscious preamble to say if it sounds different than my last record, it’s because it is, but I think, in a good way; it’s growth."
At the same time Landreth was working with Clarke on Hindsight, he was also collaborating with his bandmates in the Bros. Landreth on their sophomore full-length release, due for release in the fall.
Tackling both projects concurrently wasn't without its challenges but Landreth was able to compartmentalize when he needed to and allow overlap to happen when it needed to, he says.
"I definitely had my moments of, like, ‘Holy shit, this is a lot to do at once.’ It’s been a pretty serious exercise of trying to keep my focus, which has been hard to do. There are definitely moments when I’m like, ‘Why am I making two records at the same time?’" he says, laughing.
And while Landreth says both projects live in a similar creative space and satisfy him in different ways, being a solo artist does allow him develop a certain confidence in his own abilities that can't always be done in a group; it's down to Landreth if things sink or swim, and he's OK with that.
"When we’re doing stuff with the Bros, it’s a team effort. When the success are there, then it’s shared; when the failures are there, it’s shared, and that’s a really beautiful thing. But with a solo project... nowadays Dave works on my project as much as he works on the Bros. project, so it’s a little different now, but in the earlier days it was a really great learning experience for me. A baptism by fire of running my own business, figuring out all the things I didn’t realize my brother was doing," says Landreth.
"But there is something pretty special about something that is uniquely your own, and just in the same way that it’s beautiful to own the successes and failures with a team, it’s also pretty cool to own those little milestones on your own as well... There’s not one project that’s more or less satisfying creatively, they’re just different. The main thing for me is just, it’s fun to go out and go rogue. And rent a smaller vehicle," he laughs.
Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.