January 13th 2014
Local band completes debut album
Local band Tin and the Toad is touring for the release of its debut album, Roots to Ramble on.
“The easiest way to describe our music is alternative country or roots rock — we kind of go with both,” said Cody Shearer, who plays acoustic guitar and does vocals.
Tin and the Toad are Shearer, Justin Smith, who plays guitar, mandolin and does vocals; Cody’s older brother Ryan Shearer, on drums; Steve Loree, on electric guitar and vocals and Pete Loughlin, on bass and vocals.
“We’re all fans of outlaw country,” said Shearer. Outlaw country is the style of country music made famous by performers like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, he said.
“They were interested in bucking the trends of the mainstream recording industry in which everyone was trying to sound the same based on the flavour of the month,” said Cody.
Looking at the current music scene, he said Corb Lund has been “a huge influence.”
Shearer said Corb Lund was one of the first bands in his generation to write about southern Alberta. “You don’t have to be from Nashville or Texas, and you can sing about what you know,” said Cody. Country music can come from any rural roots, he says.
“If it’s honest, it will come across,” Cody said.
Another local artist, Steve Coffey, has also been a source of inspiration and a mentor, said Cody. “He’s done things independently — he’s uncompromising,” he said.
Coffey also provided some artwork for the album. The paintings visually represent the atmosphere the band tried to create through its sound and lyrics, said Cody.
Tin and the Toad started off as a two-piece band with Cody and Smith.
“We’ve been playing together for about seven years,” said Cody, adding that they were initially an acoustic duo. “We were writing songs, the point was to write original music,” he said. “It kind of grew over time to incorporate a full band in order to record and do live performances,” said Shearer.
The five-piece Tin and the Toad has been around for roughly two years, he said.
The band members came to know one another from being involved in the folk music scene of southern Alberta, said Cody.
“We found we had a common interest in music and style,” he said. “We enjoy playing together and hanging out — it just grew from there.”
Music was a call Cody couldn’t ignore.
“It’s an expression of your soul and your life experience and you share it with other people,” he said. “The band is committed to that goal.”
Music is the best part of life, says Cody.
“For me, it’s the last thing I think of when I got to bed, and the first thing I think of when I wake up.”
Roots to Ramble On features 13 tracks going back over seven years of song writing, said Cody. “There’s been a really positive response to our songs so far,” he said. “We’ve been getting radio play pretty steady.”
The band is even waiting on a limited 300-copy vinyl print of their debut album slated to be released later in January, he said.
Tin and the Toad played in Calgary on Friday (Jan. 10), and the band’s next show is lined up for Jan. 31 in Lethbridge at The Slice, starting at 9 p.m. The next performance is lined up for the next day, Feb. 1, at the Twin Butte General Store, located south of Pincher Creek.
A CD-release party for Vulcan is planned, but details have yet to be worked out, said Shearer.
Visit the band’s website, www.tinandthetoad.com or search Tin and the Toad on Facebook for more information. The album is available on iTunes and CDbaby.com, but it can also be bought locally from anyone in the band or at a show, said Shearer.