StoneHouse – Pictou County’s own double denim classic rockers – will be dropping their first full length album this Friday with a release party at Glasgow Square.
For the band – vocalist/guitarist Mike McGrath, bassist Pat Walsh, guitarist/keyboardist Donny Stewart, and drummer Scott Sarty – the new LP, It’d Be Nice, is a snapshot of two years of work and determination.
When the band first formed, Walsh was very much in the driver’s seat when it came to song-writing. Today, those duties are divided throughout the group, with McGrath often bringing in a nugget of a song and the band hammering it out collectively.
“What happened there is when I first started the band there was a lot of songs I was bringing to the table that head to toe I was writing every single lyric, every single note,” Walsh said. “And that was okay… I didn’t want to have that role in the band. I wanted to get stuff jump started… so now what it’s like is Mike comes up with a few verses and a riff and the rest of the band kind of molds it. We’re proud to say most of the songs on this album was pretty well the entire band’s. It took a while to get there.”
“I would say some of these songs come from right when we started really,” McGrath added. “It’s been the two years. We probably chose the eight that are there from closer to 20 and 30 songs. There was a lot of material there that got back burned.”
“The strongest survived,” Walsh said.
The album was recorded at Shoebox Studio in Little Harbour and, unlike their prior EP the band decided to self produce, and then allow someone outside mix the tracks before sending it off to be mastered. Jon Allen –a musician Walsh played with in an earlier band also called StoneHouse – was tasked with mixing the album, with McGrath claiming the whole project benefited over all from having a different set of ears involved.
The other change from their previous time in the studio was they opted for a more “live off the floor” sound, taking things one song at a time before moving on to the next rather than nailing all the bed tracks in one go and then building the recordings from there.
While many bands are eager to get into the studio as soon as possible and tackle a full-length album, the pair said the band benefited from the two-year build up.
“For us we couldn’t have been satisfied any sooner,” McGrath said. “We needed to write all the songs that we could and get every concept that we could out of us before we could even start to talk about showing people a collection of music.”
The recording sessions also proved to be a learning experience for the band as musicians.
“It tightened the band up to the next level,” McGrath said.
“Thank God that we have the relationship that we do at this point because it turned into a brotherhood,” Walsh added. “We knew we had to focus on relationships – open, honest, and be buddies, and be friends.”
With an album set to drop and a steadily growing fan base, the guys said they aren’t looking to start chasing down a record deal but instead are more interested in casting a wider net in terms of places their music can take them to – basically they’re going to keep doing what thev’re been doing for the last two years but for more people. To that end the band has plans to tour in April, taking things as far as Toronto.
“We don’t forget about who we are and where we come from,” Walsh said. “So there’s a lot of pride in that this rock and roll band is a bunch of small -town dudes that wear denim jackets and work sales jobs. We take our personality with us.”
“All I ever try to play is what I want to listen to,” McGrath added. “I try to sound exactly like what I would want to hear.”
For show information for the It’d Be Nice release party contact Glasgow Square or checkout StoneHouse on Facebook.