Sean Nicholas Savage is a true one off.
A pillar of Montreal's creative community, his work is as industrious as it is inventive. Averaging an album per year, each year, for the past decade, new release 'Other Death' presents yet another about turn from the songwriter.
Out on September 18th via Arbutus Records, it is by turns poetic and humane, contagious and ambitious, with Sean Nicholas Savage fusing his songwriting background with a jazz-like flexibility.
Asked to provide some indication of his Influences, the Canadian artist returned a remarkable document which he asked be altered as little as possible.
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Gipsy Kings - 'Caminando Por La Calle'
I remember one night i had ventured out to LA, don’t remember what i was doing, taking a break from the record, feeling pretty bummed and had started drinking again i think. I took the bus back to Santa Monica, and got off way too early, like ten miles away from our place. It was absolutely pouring rain. I just walked by the side of the road, at a moderate pace, put on my best of the Gipsy Kings, and somehow rolled up a cigarette and lit it, then when it came to this song, i had never noticed before; ‘Caminando Por La Calle’, it made me cry. I saw everything then, it was a turning point for me. I saw how precious everything is, everything seemed so small, harmless, like looking back, remembering earth from space. I listened to it like 25 times that night, maybe more, the whole way home, like a two and a half hour walk by the freeway in the rain.
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Chet Baker - 'You Don’t Know What Love Is'
This has got to be one of the greatest vocal performances ever filmed. Obviously, it’s subdued, it’s a nuanced performance. My very favorite, and Chet in his prime. I’ve watched very closely and I can see him thinking, and solving little issues, improvising, I can feel him sing this, in my throat. Brilliant.
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Alice Coltrane - 'Madhura Manohara Giridhari
This was a huge inspiration to me around the time of the record. Influential perhaps only vocally cos we were going for a pop thing, and this is spiritual music, but then also spiritually for me, so affirming, and I think lyrically and in process, ‘Other Death’ is a very spiritual record. I just love this whole ‘divine songs’ album, but this one is my favorite.
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Herb Albert - 'Rise'
This is a great video, the tune tho, great for the beach, or when friends came around that was the vibe as i remember in the apartment. Perpetual summer, I don’t even know if that’s a good thing or not, but grown ups don’t care about that shit, this was a good tune for worn out babes like us.
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Midnight Star - 'Midas Touch'
I think David Carriere showed Agor this tune, then he was playing it like four times a day, especially after we got back from the beach and were setting up. It felt good, just sitting out the window in the Santa Monica burbs, jammin Midnight Star like the bad boys in the neighbourhood, but probably we were the most sensitive boys hehe.
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'Other Death' will be released on September 18th.
Photo Credit: Karol Kadlucki