Q&A with folk singer Nick Ferrio

Peterborovian Nick Ferrio has a new album, Amongst The Coyotes and the Birdsongs" available on Shuffling Feet Records. He has been touring and will play the Manantler Craft Brewery in Bowmanville Aug. 15. 

Q - How long have you been solo and how many records do you have?
“I've been making music on my own in a variety of projects since I was a teen. Under my own name, I've  recorded and released two full length albums and two 7" records. My first was "Introducing Nick Ferrio and his Feelings" in 2012, followed by a 7" "Half the Time," in 2013. Then in 2015 I released a 7" "Come Hell or High Water" and my recent full length "Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs."

Q - The title Amongst coyotes and birdsongs indicates a place where the record was built - tell me about that place?
“I wrote a lot of the songs on this album in Dawson City, Yukon. I was there for a month-long writing residency put on by the Dawson City Music Festival. A lot of people I love have been drawn to Dawson - it's sort of the final frontier - and so I was drawn to write about that place and the relationships I had with those people.”

Q - So many collaborations, was that something that was planned or just evolved over the course of recording?
“The collaborative spirit kind of came together spontaneously on this record. It's a lot of friendships and a lot of love. I'm a bit of an over-sharer, and as I wrote songs and denied them, I would contact friends like Ian Kehoe or Steve Lambke or Tamara Lindeman - musicians and friends who I admired and trusted - and send them a song to see what they thought. I felt like they needed to be a part of being the record to fruition.
“I mean, I recorded a part of the album in Sackville, NB and I wanted to work with Julie Doiron because she's one of my musical heroes and more importantly a great friend. Steve Lambke, of the Cons, who I've worked with and been close with for many years was in Sackville and had amazing ideas for contributions, so we worked together in Sackville as well. 
“In the Toronto sessions, I worked with Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky in a producer, engineer role and asked Ian Kehoe of Marine Dreams, Steve Lambke and Gavin to make up the core of the band for the majority of the songs with a full band. Jonas Bonnetta and Sylvie Smith of Evening Hymns are dear friends and so is Tamara Lindeman of The Weather Station, and I wanted their input, their magic on my record too.”

Q - Why use so many?
“Everyone involved is a songwriter or composer in their own regard, so having many songwriters thinking about my songs allows the record to be more complex and enriched than it would've been otherwise.”

Q- with so many people involved how did you ensure your vision and voice wouldn't get lost?
“Gavin did a fantastic job of making sure that the record stayed cohesive and focused. I mean the songs are such Nick Ferrio songs, that my voice and vision are at the forefront. 
“It's all about doing what's best for the song. So at the end of the day, everyone's contribution was aiming to guide the song, give it room to be its own entity, stand on its two legs.”

Q - How do you know Jonas and how did you end up on his label?
“Jonas and I have been friends for a decade and have worked on a bunch of projects over the years. He's one of the funniest people I know and has this innate ability to make whoever he's hanging out with feel like what they are doing is important and meaningful. When I finished recording "Introducing," I sent it to Jonas and he urged me to release it through Shuffling Feet. He's been a huge supporter of what I do and a mentor. I love the guy!”