Remember when life was a series of what-ifs? Becoming was a rite of passage. Those crucial years of self-discovery, no responsibility, first loves, begging for cigarettes, getting high at lunch, hardcore crushes, stealing alcohol, grades, navigating your parents and self-absorption. Dreaded adulthood was never gonna happen. Some of us walked out the doors of our high school, across the football field, never to look back. Others, like musician Molly Thomason, return triumphant.
At 19 years old, Thomason releases her third album, Columbus Field, a rock 'n' roll relic of her high school years in Antigonish. Her own rendition of a high school reunion includes booze, loud music and a rockin' good time at the Seahorse February 13.
"Columbus Field is like reading my high school diary. I wanted to communicate what I was feeling---everything that comes up around that time; love, lust, independence, anxiety, depression, anger, rebellion, restlessness," says Thomason, who relocated to Toronto in 2012. "When I was in high school a lot of the time my emotions felt bigger than me, bigger than I knew how to express and I think a lot of people feel that way as teenagers."
Not yet 20 years old, Thomason has already released 2011's Beauty Queen, 2009's Through The Static and a duet with Carleton Stone, "Never Felt a Thing."
Originally inspired by Avril Lavigne's tenacity, age and songwriting, Thomason started writing music in early teens. Combine her father's road trip Bob Dylan-a-thons, and cranking Joan Jett and The Runaways in her headphones, Thomason found her voice.
She's taken home awards from Canadian Folk Music, Ottawa Bluesfest and Summerfest, plus has multiple nominations for Music Nova Scotia and East Coast Music Awards, and was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting and International Song Contest.
"I'm so grateful that people have taken me seriously and understand that this has never been a gimmick or something that wasn't 100 percent me," Thomason says.
Columbus Field is a 10-track edgy token of affection to teenagehood. With tracks like "Buttons," "Never Wanna Come Down" and "Black Eyed Boy," Thomason's cocky swagger hints at sweetness and sass.
She started the record in her parents' Antigonish living room playing acoustic guitar with The Trews' John-Angus MacDonald, and entered pre-production in their practice space in Toronto with a full band---including Sum 41's Jason McCaslin---and recorded at Verge Music Lab. Columbus Field was mastered by Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) and Howie Weinburg (who has mastered Nirvana and Modest Mouse).
"They're some of the most talented musicians I've met and to see them work off each other and enhance the songs the way they did was such a privilege," she says. "I love being in the studio. We spent a lot of late nights getting take out. It's a great feeling to be creating something you're excited about with people you love spending time with. By the end of it, I felt like I had three new big brothers."
Back when she spent her days at Columbus Field, she even won a Youth In Motion Top 20 award for her work in the LGBTQ community, specifically for creating a Gay/Straight Alliance in her high school.
"I think the more we increase visibility and education of the LGBTQ community we will see less and less homophobia," says Thomason. "Less incidents of suicide, more people feeling comfortable and safe to come out."
Thursday, February 13, 7pm, $8/$13 with CD