Arts & Life
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This article was published 29/1/2019 (603 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
If you’ve been following the career of Winnipeg musician Ariel Posen, the title of the final track on his debut solo effort may elicit a bit of a chuckle: Better Late Than Never.
Posen has been an active professional in the music scene for nearly half of his 32 years, becoming known around town for his stellar guitar chops, which he began honing at just nine years old after inspiration struck watching his parents perform in their band, Finjan. He’s worked with tons of groups around town, most notably the Juno Award-winning roots-rock group the Bros. Landreth, and now, he has finally released a collection of his solo work, a full length record, How Long.
● Friday, 8 p.m.
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While Better Late Than Never wasn’t intentionally chosen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the timing of this release, Posen says he is well aware it could be perceived that way.
"It just so happened it’s one of the songs I picked out of the batch that I had, and it just felt right at the end of the record, mostly based on the feel and the mood that it had, and it kind of ends on a question, which I thought was cool. But, in a way, it is funny and it is saying, ‘Better late than never,’ to do a record, so that has crossed my mind," Posen chuckles over the phone.
The album embraces a mix of sonic influences, from blues and roots to R&B and rock, and highlights Posen’s vocal prowess, a skill that may not be as well-known to most as his guitar work. That’s not to say his axe ability isn’t also on display on How Long; the record is dotted with quick instrumental moments that feature only Posen and his guitar. It isn’t a guitar album, but those beautiful snippets are definite standouts.
"I chose to do that because I wanted... first of all, most people know me as a guitar player and most people don’t really know that I sing, they know that I sing but they don’t know that I could front a band or anything like that," explains Posen.
"I had no interest in making a guitar record, I had no interest in making an instrumental record, but I just wanted a little tip of the hat for all the people that know me for that stuff. And I just thought it would be nice to have a little ear breather between every couple of songs just for variation, and it kind of makes the entire record more of a listening experience."
Posen began flirting with the idea of a solo project around two years ago, when a string of solo performances parlayed into some writing sessions with musician and producer Murray Pulver (who also produced How Long), as well as a few of Posen’s other songwriter buds, including Bros. Landreth bandmate Dave Landreth. Before he knew it, Posen had a workable and cohesive collection of songs to record.
Posen says How Long is a truly accurate representation of him as an artist at this point in his career, and any doubts he had about flying solo were completely suppressed by not only the support of friends and family, but by the excitement of putting something out that is wholly from him.
"I’m a guitar player and I love playing guitar, but what really moves me and speaks to me is songs and the big picture. It’s not just about musical moments, it’s about feeling something from a song, the story, the music side, the lyrical side, it’s a package and that’s what represents me for sure," says Posen.
"It’s two years in the making, but really it’s 32 years in the making. It’s honest, it’s real, it’s just... me."
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.
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