If change is the only thing that doesn’t change, then resistance to change is certainly futile. This is the universal truth rising Saskatoon acoustic rocker Blaeser explores in his thought-provoking new single, “Potential Paths” – check it out on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/Wuez_885Ghc
Even though the choices we make and the paths we walk are unique to each of us, we all share the fact that change is unavoidable and can happen when we least expect it. For Blaeser — Taylor (T.J.) Lang — the global pandemic that changed everything for all of us two years ago is also what launched the creation of “Potential Paths.”
“On March 10, 2020, I was prepping to play a half-time St Paddy’s Saddledome show with my former band, Celtic rock group Crack the Lens, to 13,000 people, and had just put down a deposit on a Toronto apartment,” Blaeser remembers. “Two days later, all of that was gone as the world closed down. It really got me thinking of how quickly things change, all the paths we never get to walk, all the people we never meet — or leave behind, for that matter — as circumstances change our paths through life.”
There were a thousand variations of the man that I am today
All those endless iterations that I had to leave behind along the way
Those old “iterations” of ourselves are often left behind at a crossroads or a fork in the road we may not have seen coming. “‘Potential Paths’ directly references big events in my life where everything suddenly changed course,” notes Blaeser. “All those younger, more innocent versions of me had to disappear along the way to who I am now, just as my current self will disappear to continue that journey.”
Being open-minded and open-hearted to those course corrections is one of the takeaways from this thoughtful, melodically-memorable rock song which is also the lead single from Blaeser’s forthcoming and second full-length album, An Audio Guide to Introspection — set for release this Summer.
“10 songs of darkness and light, and the paths I did and didn’t take,” is Blaeser’s top line for the new collection recorded, mixed, and mastered by Casey Lewis at Calgary’s Echo Base Studio last October through December.
“The title came from a Twitter conversation with Dan Mangan where I said that his More or Less album was like ‘an audio guide to introspection’,” recalls Blaeser. Mangan is a big influence on Blaeser’s songwriting, in addition to other erudite and reflective Canadian songwriters like Dallas Green and Gord Downie.
“My music, currently, is equal parts Tragically Hip, fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Jon Gomm, and City & Colour,” he says, adding, “If all I’ve got is one guitar, I want to get as much out of it as I can in terms of fingerstyle techniques, and if all I have is one voice, I want to make every word meaningful and memorable.”
Blaeser comes by his devotion to artistic innovation and improvement honestly after a lifetime immersed in music. Born in Saskatchewan and raised near Calgary, the naturally talented, multi-instrumentalist had worked his way through learning piano, drums, saxophone, keyboards, bass guitar, and then electric guitar by the end of school.
“By the time I graduated, I had bought a crappy old electric and was jamming power chords in my first band with some high school friends,” he reminisces. “Our first show was in a small-town coffee shop, which we filled but where we absolutely did not fit the vibe. Video exists of this event, unfortunately.”
As he worked his way toward a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Calgary and began his professional life afterward, music wove in and out of the picture for Lang as he went through — you guessed it — life changes. A one-year move to Vancouver in his mid-twenties included his first busking experiences.
“My first busking sessions in Vancouver were notorious failures, with my very first donation being a fruit and cheese platter from the Starbucks down the street.”
In 2012, Lang became the bass player for Crack The Lens and rediscovered the joy of making music which, in turn, ignited more songwriting and finding his solo artistic voice as Blaeser.
“For me, songwriting is about the little details, the turns of phrases that change a generic tune into an emotional punch that sits with you. The ones that bring the whole thing down to earth and pull away a curtain on something that’s been right in front of you. Connections and complexities.”
Encouraging connection through his songs and performances while giving everyone something to reflect on is page one in Blaeser’s 2022 planner.
For more on Blaeser check out these links: