"When I was in grade 8, I made a deal with a classmate that if she gave me one of her lunch snacks, a Passion Flakie, I'd mention her name during my JUNO acceptance speech. I set the bar pretty high as a cocky 13 year old, but in a way it became a driving force in my life, to make good on that promise."
With that childhood promise fulfilled as a member of The Strumbellas, drummer Jeremy Drury sought to expand his musical horizons and build on his accomplishments with his debut solo album, Company Store.
"I’d done so much, been to so many places, met so many wonderful people... achieved and exceeded goals I never really imagined possible. The concept of doing my own record has been with me for years. I've been writing songs since I was a teenager and had always dreamed of putting out my own material - but my confidence behind the kit kept me from facing the fear that goes along with being so exposed as both a singer and a songwriter.”
Before joining The Strumbellas, Drury spent almost 10 years in and out of various bands in Toronto's club scene, playing with indie, alt-rock, folk, and punk groups. He lets this melting pot of influences show in his songwriting. From The Travelling Wilburys to Propagandhi and Fred Eaglesmith to Pink Floyd, the result is a folk-rock sound leaning into the alternative that occasionally sticks it's toes in Americana, structured with a pop sensibility, complete with big hooks and sing-along choruses.
Finding time during tour breaks, Drury booked a handful of sessions at Toronto's Lincoln County Social Club, and with John Dinsmore (NQ Arbuckle, The Strumbellas, Oh Susanna) at the engineering helm, work began on his self-produced debut. With a lifetime of material to draw from, songs like "Tadoussac", "Pour Another" and "Open Road" tell stories of a time before success, where innocence abounds. In contrast, "Do It Right", "Last Breath" and "Someday" offer reflection on the struggles and challenges faced when uprooted from your desk job and thrust into the world of an international touring artist.
"I've always been fascinated by the connection between storytelling and music, the ability to paint a scene through words and melody. There's an honesty I appreciate that I hope comes through in some of my music. There's also another side of my writing that reacts to the world and people around me, including myself and choices I've made. I think the common thread in most of my writing is self-betterment. Recognizing there's room for improvement, and trying to take the steps to get there, despite the challenges we face."
Taking on not only vocal and songwriting duties, Drury also performs all instruments on the new record, and produced it. "I've worked with some great producers in the past who I learned a lot from. I've been looking for an opportunity to sit in that chair on a project, and this seemed like a no brainer. I'm super happy I did it, and I'm very proud of the end result”. But, Drury thinks twice about self-producing in the future; “I think there's a lot to be said about an outside point of view and the ability to have a sounding board - left to my own devices, I was constantly second guessing myself, making changes and revisions that turned a few month process into one that’s taken over 2 years.”
Mixed by Dave Shiffman (PUP, The Strumbellas, The Darcys) and mastered by Harold Hess (Arkells, Danko Jones, Monster Truck), Company Store is due out August 28, 2020.