Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Mar 31st 2010 2:30PM by Tabassum Siddiqui
But similar acclaim has escaped them in Canada. Bandleader Mark Hamilton first began Woodpigeon as an outlet for his nascent songs several years ago during a stint living in Edinburgh, so it's perhaps unsurprising he's toured Woodpigeon -- as a full band and solo -- more intensively overseas.
Hamilton's own fascination with Europe manifests itself in the evocative narratives on Woodpigeon's new album 'Die Stadt Musikanten,' which traces his Austrian grandparents' history.
"The record was really inspired by when I first started leaving Canada and going to the places where my ancestors are from -- feeling so completely comfortable in Scotland, or feeling in a weird way like I really belonged in Germany and Austria," Hamilton tells Spinner.
While he still pines for adventures abroad and hopes to settle in the UK for a time, Hamilton's not without affection for his hometown of Calgary, where he's hitting the books to finish his film studies degree.
"I don't want to discount that I'm also fiercely Canadian -- this is where I'm from," Hamilton notes. "But I do feel a little more inspired in places that aren't Calgary. Someone asked me why I haven't moved, and the first thought that came to my head was: 'Well, I have a piano -- what do I do with my piano?'" he quips.
"The one absolute negative for me, though, would be being away from my family -- I have a very small family. I just think about being very far away from them, and if I were to move away and lived there for 20 years and visited them every two years, that would be only 10 visits," he points out. "So that's a hard thing to think about. But essentially you have to live for the moment and live for your life, not someone else's, no matter who that someone else is."
Hamilton's taking a four-piece version of Woodpigeon back to Europe in April, but returns home to tour across Canada later this year.
"I hope people come," Hamilton deadpans. "I guess it doesn't happen for so many Canadian bands that they tour Europe several times before they tour Canada. It's funny talking to other musicians who have done [the cross-Canada trek], and they say sometimes it can be very disheartening. But I get to play with three people who I really like, so I'll never be at a loss for friends. And if nobody's there, we'll just call it a paid practice," he laughs.
"I did a tour of the [Canadian] prairies two Januarys ago, which was the stupidest time in the world to go," Hamilton recalls. "We were in Regina on the coldest day of the year, at this place that was way too big for the six people who were there... But of the six people who were there, one of them booked the Regina Folk Festival, so the next time we played Regina, we played to quite a lot of people. You just never know who's there. Luckily, that was also a show that was funded by the Canadian government," he notes, wryly. "So we got paid well for it. That one show paid for the tour."