Local musician, Lee Casement who has a unique take on the relationship of songwriter and performer. His latest installment of In the Guest Room: Redemption in Disguise has continued a project embarked upon a number of years ago as a grassroots effort.
A local teacher and family man with musical roots chuckled as he confessed to being “too old to be a rock star”. He has made quite a name for himself locally with his series of albums entitled, In the Guest Room.
Sitting at one of the wooden tables nestled in one of the many Starbucks located in Kingston Lee gets comfortable waiting a bit for his drink to cool. He started by explaining where the collaborative project originated at having the passion to share music.
“By Just having enough musical ideas that that I wanted to share with musical collaborators, and family members. I wanted to work with as many people as possible.” Lee stated.
As the conversation continued and he revealed many of his collaborations have been local artists who either apporach him about being involved or he finds through various channels. Lee Spoke fondly of one of his many collaborations, “On the second album, entitled By Design or By Desire I got to work with Johnathan Tyrell, his group is ketch Harbor Wolves is out of Toronto.
In an age where many musicians are both the singer and songwriter Lee takes an interesting step by only composing the melodies.
” I don’t do any of the lyrics, as more people came on board people are asking what the themes are?” He explained that with the first album there wasn’t a set structure but as it grew themes of family, redemption and love started to emerge.
Sticking to his modest beginnings Lee has blazed his own musical path. “I don’t have any formal music training, played by ear, write by ear”. Lee remarked about his song writing process. This has allowed him to branch out adding more instruments to his repertoire of knowledge. Later adding “through three albums, if the groove sounded good we went with it”.
Commenting to many lessons learned over years of touring with other bands. He mentioned this project has presented its own unique brand of challenges, “So many, Scheduling, with the second record, I had nine songs on the second record with six drummers. With everyone wanted to be involved and it was hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules with studio time and to make sure I was there.”
On the third record I scaled it back and there is only myself and two other guys who play all the instruments on this album. I wanted to prove to myself I could play more of the instruments myself”.
The title is Redemption In Disguise, not to prove to anyone else but more up the anti and prove to myself that I could accomplish more of the album myself. I took a line from one of the songs.”
Remembering the days where he was playing in other bands “When I was with other bands, I got to play places in Ottawa in Toronto (the Horseshoe Tavern) that I got to go as a fan, which was surreal. ”
“I’m a pretty tame person”. He commented laughing. Hinting there were no unbelievable stories from his touring days. But many lessons learned.
Kingston and surrounding area is also home to many creative people. Lee: Evening Hymns, they are an indie/folk duo with rock elements. They were up for a Polaris, a couple of years ago. We went to their show at Queens and we got talking as we live near each other. I would try to get to know them a bit better before asking if they wanted to collaborate with me.”
As Lee mentioned influences and people he has previously worked with, a fun opportunity came up to talk about the upcoming festivals this summer. He would love to play the local Wolfe Island Music Festival and give me a sample of bands he would book if it were up to him to customise a festival lineup. “The National, Evening Hymns, Daughter, William Fitzsimons, Block Party.
For the CD release show happening TONIGHT, March 28, 2014 at the Next Church on Colborne Street. Johnathan Tyrell is opening the show and also joining Lee onstage to play their song, Nostalgia. This show is all ages with a donation at the door cover, don’t miss out on support this fantastic local artists. Find more music at: www.intheguestroom.com