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Unchained Melodies 

Songwriter and Wintersleep keyboardist Jon Samuel releases his second solo effort, Dead Melodies, this weekend.


Jon Samuel Dead Melodies release
w/Museum Pieces, Shadow Folk
Friday, February 1, 10pm
The Seahorse Tavern, 2037 Gottingen Street

In a world of single-use plastic, how do you make something that lasts? In an endless sea of music, how do you craft a song that'll not only stand out, but stand the test of time? These were the sort of questions on Jon Samuel's mind when he sat down to write "Dead Melodies," the single off the Wintersleep keyboardist's new solo record of the same name.

"Music today is definitely not all bad. So much more of it is at our fingertips for us to get inspired by," he says in a phone interview. "But you can get lost in that, too. There was just this feeling of, 'Is what I create going to be remembered? Will it have a shelf life?'"

While it's not Samuel's first solo venture, its process was far away from 2012's First Transmission. "A few years ago, Loel"—Campbell, Wintersleep drummer—"was like 'Let's make a record together.' The idea to collaborate was going to be pretty different than me making a record in my room. I would play songs for Loel and he'd pick one, 'OK, this is exciting,' and we'd layer parts together until they felt finished. When things got going well—which was most of the time—we'd go from strumming on the couch to having the song done."

That was the energy that propelled the writing of "Dead Melodies" he says: "I just couldn't stop. The song just came to me in one day, it just came out of me."

Though this album, released Friday—and a headlining show at The Seahorse Friday night—sees Samuel step into his own space as a solo artist, he's quick to add how friends shaped the experience. He mentions working with longtime pal Keith Doiron, bassist in Walrus, and, of course, that Campbell's presence helped it all come together.

"There's a shorthand when working with longtime friends. Less talk. You can focus on being in the moment, writing the song," Samuel says. "I just wanna concentrate on playing close to home, playing more east coast shows. The songs work live. I want to bring it to people."

—Morgan Mullin

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