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Mouth full 

Steve Gates’ debut full length brims with camaraderie and personal improvement.

click to enlarge Steve Gates' living room parties make good records - MATT DUNLAP
  • Steve Gates' living room parties make good records
  • Matt Dunlap

Sure, Steve Gates has gone solo, but it seems that he's never going at it alone.

After spending years as one-fifth of roots-rock band Caledonia, the Halifax singer-songwriter set out on his own, embracing the folk-style writing that came naturally to him. This meant playing gigs alone, or, depending on where he was, hiring a band to back him up---that is until Kris Pope (Acres and Acres, Caledonia) and Don McKay told him, rather than asked him, that they'd be stepping in as his touring band.

"They've both been intimately involved, if not dragged into this project over the last couple years," says Gates of the welcomed surprise that came last fall around the release of his EP

Hello Jesus.

"I got into music originally because I really like jamming and playing with people, that's where it's always been at for me."

And that same sense of camaraderie rings loud and clear on Gates' debut full-length. "It's kind of scary to work on your own," says Gates of A Bee in Her Mouth, released in late February. "And it was really rewarding to set up the recording stuff in my living room where everyone would just sort of be walking by and I'd pull them in." Jenn Grant, Daniel Ledwell, Rose Cousins, Adam Fine and members of Caledonia are among the friendly neighbours who stopped by to help Gates fill out his songs, most of which he penned while working at homeless shelter.

"Theres something beautiful that happens with people confronting struggle, whether it's a struggle to pay their phone bill or to get their life together, says Gates of the record's inspiration. "When you see someone mid-stride in an attempt to do something good for themselves, there's really something can just see it."

Steve Gates w/Paper Beat Scissors, Saturday, April 21 at The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street, $12, 8:30pm


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