Canadian piano-pop songwriter Mike Evin recently released his fifth album Life As A Lover and will be playing Winnipeg on a tour across Canada to promote the album.
Born and raised in Montreal, Mike now calls Toronto home. Having also lived in Halifax, he has toured eastern Canada promoting his albums over the years.
This is his first cross Canada tour. His previous tours never extended west beyond Ontario. I talked with Mike on the phone the other day and he said “it’s pretty exciting to be able to be travelling across the country this way and seeing the country for the first time.”
Traveling in a hatchback with his small wooden piano and Ian McKay with his drum kit, Mike says that he has Ian helping out on vocals. The two have played together for about a year now.
Mike’s latest album was produced by Howie Beck (Feist, Walk Off The Earth and Hanna Georgas) who he met a few years ago. The last album took a few years to make. He started writing the lyrics in 2011, went into the studio in 2013 and finished recording in early 2014.
Most of the songs are autobiographical and deal with past loves and new loves. His songs on past albums have usually been written in the third person or from the point of view of someone and he mentioned that, “it was nice to indulge myself and write more personal songs.”
Some of Mike’s main influences have been Paul Simon, Elton John, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder, and he says he “looooves Motown.” Indeed, there is certainly a toe-tapping, finger snapping, clapping along vibe to his songs.
Listening to the latest album I certainly heard a Stevie Wonder influence. “When we were doing the synth bass with Howie we were trying to make it sound a bit like Stevie.”
He started the tour Sept. 10 in Kitchener, ON and will be playing at the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe at 898 Westminster Ave. on Tues. Oct. 13.
The Cafe has been hosting concerts regularly on Thursdays since its inception 10 years ago. Owner Bill Fugler accommodates some traveling musicians by letting them play other days of the week as well.
I asked Bill why he started doing the concerts and what the shows bring to the community. He said, “Music brings people together so there’s no better glue than hearing live music in the midst of the community.”
There have been some pretty big names who have played the quaint little bookstore over the years including Ian Tyson, James Keelaghan Sierra Noble, Mariachi Ghost and Dan Frechette.
It’s a wonderful arrangement for the Cafe and the musicians as they usually pass a hat around the room during the performance.
Weather permitting the concerts are sometimes held on the outside patios and Bill recalls one time that they shut down Westminster Street because of the large number of people watching a performance.
Beth Giesbrecht, who has worked as a barista at the cafe for a year and a half said, “This is a great example of a community oriented cafe and the concerts are great.”
Mike Evin (Piano-pop songwriter)
8pm Tue. Oct. 13, 2015
The Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe
898 Westminster Ave.
Mike Evin photos by Emma-Lee
Cafe photo by Doug Kretchmer