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SONG #5 - MAY 2019 : THE STORY OF I WANT OT SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT
As Moncton’s Chris Colepaugh puts the finishing touches on the fifth of 12 new songs due to be released in 2019 - that’s one song per month, bucko - the month of May brings listeners an electrifying cover of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.”
As accomplished and revered as Colepaugh is as a solo performer, band leader and accompanist, he’s also the kind of musician that, throughout his career, has maintained an innate sense of curiosity about music.
“It was just in the last few years that a friend turned me onto Richard Thompson. He was pretty confident I was going to really like his style of playing, so it became something I had to hear for myself,” Colepaugh begins. “One night I was working in the studio, and I put on the I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight album and, as my friend predicted, found myself completely floored with Thompson’s guitar playing and phrasing. There was this gnarly nastiness to it. In the bigger picture, it was rather unconventional, especially within the context of folk and rock.”
Colepaugh’s version of the track remains faithful to the original, maintaining Thompson’s attitude while, among other attributes, employing a range of guitar harmonies to emulate the horn section heard in the original.
“I’ve kept the melody intact, but in listening to the original, I wondered what I could do to make it a tad heavier and a little more straight ahead. That’s not me being critical of the original as much as it’s driven by my desire to put a bit of a unique stamp on my version of the song. There are so many songs from the 60s and 70s that are just amazing, including this track and they become something I want to share with others.”
SONG #4 - April 2019 : THE STORY OF WALK ON
In much the same vein as last month’s release of “Sunday Night,” the April installment of Chris Colepaugh’s year-long initiative to bring a new single to fans each month is a reimagining of a previously-released track.
This time around, it is Colepaugh’s song “Walk On,” originally found on 1999’s 16 Second Solace, that has been given a makeover from the top down. While Colepaugh’s guitar remains front and centre, the song’s tempo has been ever-so slightly slowed down, bringing the song from its original Allman Brothers-inspired incarnation to a groove-based track driven by tastefully simple percussion that pushes the song definitively forward.
Intentionally or not, one of the biggest effects of Colepaugh’s decision to take the song’s tempo down has resulted in all of the instruments featured on the track, including his vocals, receiving infinitely more breathing room. Where his vocals on the original version of the track could be considered to be somewhat restrained, Colepaugh’s vocal performance is adventurously passionate yet still holds true to the song’s melody laid down by his guitar track.
SONG #3 - March 2019 : THE STORY OF SUNDAY NIGHT
If there is something a tad familiar about “Sunday Night,” the third of 12 planned single releases this year from acclaimed Moncton musician Chris Colepaugh, there happens to be a very good reason behind that.
Originally released on his band’s Mazes & Mirrors album in 1997, the singer-songwriter never gave much credence to the thought he’d be revisiting the song more than 20 years later.
“A couple of years ago, we were playing some band shows and, during the course of the night, I was casually introducing some of our earlier material as being ‘old.’ At one point in the evening, a fan from the audience approached me and said, ‘You keep announcing some of these songs as being old, but they’re all fresh and contemporary to me.’ It was that conversation that got my mind wandering,” Colepaugh says.
While the idea might not have occurred to him prior to that fateful conversation, Colepaugh decided that revisiting certain songs from his catalogue may very well prove to be beneficial. Not so much from the perspective that he felt the original versions of the songs were incomplete or somehow didn’t live up to their full potential, but rather was more interested in seeing what two decades of wide-ranging experiences could lend to re-imagining the songs.
“From my standpoint, I’ve got more than 20 years’ experience behind me, and have naturally grown as a person and an artist. There’s nothing wrong with the way the song was; this was more of an exercise to see how the elements of who I am today would influence the re-creation of the song.”
Colepaugh admits that it was initially tough to un-teach himself a long-standing song like “Sunday Night.” While he wasn’t necessarily looking to reinvent the wheel in revisiting the track, he still sought to place some distance between the original version of the song and this latest version.
“It was hard to let go of that first version. It’s almost like muscle memory that you keep wanting to do things in the same manner you’ve done them for 20-plus years. But once that attachment to the ‘old’ was broken, the process of adding the experience I’ve gained from touring, recording and living added a completely new vibe to the song. Incorporating who I am now into the song was exciting. I enjoyed the whole process. It was looking back on what I’ve done with my eyes wide open to the possibilities that could be found.”
SONG #2 - February 2019 : THE STORY OF MAMA'S EYES
The origins of “Mama’s Eyes,” the second of 12 planned single releases from acclaimed Moncton, New Brunswick musician Chris Colepaugh in 2019, has, like countless songs before it, a great story behind the song. …And this particular story indirectly involves late country music legend Merle Haggard.
Back in 2016, Colepaugh was performing at one of his usual haunts in Downtown Moncton. It was during that show that he met Brian Murray, a local music fan that had popped into Colepaugh’s show after taking in a Merle Haggard concert elsewhere in the city.
The two struck up a conversation, during which Murray revealed that, over the course of many years, he had assembled numerous notebooks of lyrics, but that he had never necessarily made any efforts to pursue things any further. As their conversation continued, Colepaugh told Murray that he was always on the lookout for lyrics and that, if he felt so inclined, he might be interested in bringing in some of his work.
“One night, at the very same venue where we first chatted, Brian showed up with scribblers and scribblers of lyrics,” Colepaugh recalls. “And Brian said to me, the only thing he ever wanted was to hear one of his songs on the radio. I told him I couldn’t promise anything, but that I had been lucky enough to have songs on the radio in the past, and that maybe good fortune would smile down on me again. Either way, I told him I’d make his lyrics work if I could.”
And so, Colepaugh set about finding the right song to frame Murray’s words. Anchored by a chunky guitar riff that leaves just enough breathing room for a relatively straight-forward rhythm section, Colepaugh acknowledges the end result is most likely a far cry from what Murray might have originally envisioned.
“Brian has a specific manner in which he writes. He’s very country driven where I’m more rock and roll. But that’s the beauty of interpretation. Everyone is going to hear something or take something a little different from one another. That’s the beauty of art, poetry and music.”
While the release of a new single is a celebratory cause, Colepaugh feels a deserved sense of pride and enthusiasm knowing he’s played a part in helping get some of Murray’s words out to the world at large.
“The very prospect of something he wrote being played on the radio is a little bit surreal for him because it’s always something he dreamt about and now, here we are, hoping to make that happen for him. There’s a certain amount of pride and excitement that you can’t help but feel for him. It’s exciting for me, too.”
SONG #1 - January 2019 : THE STORY OF LOUDER
Acclaimed Moncton multi-instrumentalist Chris Colepaugh is taking a novel approach to the release of new music in 2019.
Arriving nearly three years following the release of the incendiary full-length effort RnR, the January 18 release of new single “Louder” marks the first of 12 songs – one per month - the long-running musician will release in the year ahead.
The track highlights Colepaugh’s forte of fusing blues with rock as he churns out guitar riffs thicker than London fog.
Rallied by the chorus battle cry of “I want it louder,” Colepaugh considers the track the perfect way to kick off what promises to be an exciting year ahead.
“It’s a definitive statement,” Colepaugh offers. “I’ve never once believed rock is dead, and with this song, I’m just hoping to affirm that there are many of us still making, living and loving what rock music has to offer the masses.”
The past three years have seen a flurry of activity from Colepaugh, both as a solo artist, and as a celebrated accompanist. In addition to having logged many miles, both on and offstage, with fellow New Brunswick native Matt Andersen, Colepaugh now counts himself as a member of the Canadian rock institution known as Big Sugar.
The position puts Colepaugh on the throne – the drum throne, specifically – affording him the opportunity to not only return to playing drums, but playing drums for a band that Chris has been a fan of since their inception.
It’s a full circle moment that Colepaugh still has trouble digesting.
“I’ve spent more than 10 years being a session guy and backing others up. I’ve always given 150% of myself to the musician and their songs, which is also definitely the case for Big Sugar, but I just can’t say how surreal it is to look up from the drum kit and see Gordie [Johnson, Big Sugar guitarist/vocalist] smiling back at me,” Colepaugh says.
With a new Big Sugar album due for release later this year (featuring Colepaugh on drums), he isn’t worried about how he’ll go about balancing the demands of his solo career along with those of Big Sugar.
After all, he’s successfully juggled being a master of all trades for almost 25 years now, doing it for the foreseeable future doesn’t faze him in the least.
“I’m looking forward to the year and this project of releasing a song per month. The industry has changed so much over the course of the last 20 years, it’s evolve or be left behind. I’m happily choosing the former.”
- Winner 2011 MNB SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award
- Winner 2011 (ECMA) Rock Album of the Year
- Winner 2011 (ECMA) Fan Choice of the Year
- Winner 2010 MNB Musician of the Year
- Winner 2010 MNB Rock Album of the Year2
- Winner 2010 Toronto Music Magazine Award
- Winner 2007 Contact East Touring Excellence Award
- Winner of four 2007 Toronto Music Magazine Awards
- Semi-Finalist in Starbucks Music Maker Competition: Finals in Vermont
- Chosen by Canadian Musician Magazine as one of Canada’s Best Unsigned Band’s
- Grand Prize Winner in NB Songwriting Competition
- Finalist in the CBC Great Canadian National Televised Music Dream Performance
- East Coast Talent Search Winner with Producer Kevin Scott MacMichael
- Nominated 2016 Music New Brunswick (MNB) Album of the Year
- Nominated 2016 MNB Group of the Year
- Nominated 2016 MNB Socan Song of the Year
- Nominated 2016 MNB Rock Artist of the Year
- Nominated 2016 MNB Music Producer of the Year
- Nominated 2012 East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) Group of the Year
- Nominated 2012 ECMA Producer of the Year
- Nominated 2009 ECMA Entertainer of the Year
- Nominated 2008 ECMA Single of the Year “Caught Up To You”
- Nominated 2007 ECMA ”ROCK ALBUM of the Year”
- Nominated 2004 ECMA “ROCK ALBUM of the Year”
- Nominated 2002 ECMA “ROCK ALBUM of the Year”
- Nominated 2001 ECMA ” ALTERNATIVE ARTIST OF THE YEAR ” 2001
BIO IN BRIEF
With southern-inspired soul and a heaping dose of the blues, multiple award-winning Canadian Chris Colepaugh delivers a powerhouse of driving rhythms, crunchy guitar licks, and badass vocals. As the multiple award-winning frontman of the group Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew and Gold City Ashes, he has performed at prestigious festivals such as SXSW, CMW, NXNE, NEMO, Evolve, Canadian Music Cafe and has spent more than two decades actively touring Canada and the United States. Part of his itineraries has included dates with Government Mule, North Mississippi Allstars, and Big Sugar as well as CCCC performances at the House of Blues, the Hard Rock Café, tours of New England and southern US, the U.S. West Coast, Southern California and multiple cross Canada tours.
In addition to his band and solo work, from 2010 to present Chris has lent his multi-instrument talents to platinum artists Roch Voisine and Big Sugar, fiddle champion Samantha Robichaud and NB blues icon Matt Andersen. And all this while releasing music, putting on live stream interactive concerts and planning for his upcoming releases.
In 2011, Chris took home two East Coast Music Awards including Fan Choice of the Year as well as the 2011 Music NB Songwriter of the Year. Chris was announced as a finalist for the 2008 International Acoustic Music Awards and won both the 2007 Contact East Touring Excellence Award and four 2007 Toronto Music Magazine Awards. Chris Colepaugh is proudly endorsed by Gibson Guitars, Black Bridge Amplifiers, Benrod Pedals, Jetslide, Los Cabos sticks and Sennheiser Microphones.
Chris Colepaugh’s song “Caught Up To You” was featured on the international hit television show Degrassi: The Next Generation ( Episode 808-2008 ). He was also a semifinalist in the Starbucks Music Maker Series in Vermont and was featured alongside Moe., Bob Weir and Umphrey’s McGee on the 10,000 Lakes Festival CD.
Find out more at Wikipedia.
Louder is namelijk een liedje om op vol vermogen af te spelen. Zeker als je houdt van dingen als Joe Bonamassa, Delta Saints en Chris Stapleton. Wil je meer? Dan moet je steeds een maand wachten. Wat Chris zal vanaf heden elke maand een nieuwe single releasen. Prima plan, wij kijken er naar uit!
TRANSLATION: Which can! Louder is a song to play at full power. Especially if you like things like Joe Bonamassa, Delta Saints and Chris Stapleton. Do you want more? Then you have to wait a month. What Chris will from now on release a new single every month. Great plan, we are looking forward to it!
Colepaugh is the full tilt package. His versality as a multi-instrumentalist gives him an ear for righteous melodies and inventive lyrics. Colepaugh commands a huge guitar sound on "Louder." The songwriting is spot on, with band hits, varying sections feels and a track that builds over time. He is a powerhouse of driving rhythms and his single note choices in his guitar playing are dripping with blues sensibilities. As a vocalist he’s got that gritty whiskey dipped resonance that fits perfectly on “Louder.” A solid listen throughout with just the right amount of bluesy grit to stick to your bones. That’s the short of it!
(Live Review) “Adding to the overall package was the undeniable fact that the trio genuinely enjoyed sharing the stage with each other, all of which served to remind just how skilled Colepaugh is at writing timeless songs and just how seriously this group needs to be taken.”
(Review of RnR) “Tight, high efficiency rock & roll”
Jeff Liberty “Take Liberty” CBC
“RnR hits hard. Heavy riff rock. Soaring guitar harmonies that would make any southern rock act envious.” – Grid City Magazine
Colepaugh lays down the groove early and often throughout the record, delivering his acclaimed guitar work with a finesse typically associated with some of the greatest guitarists of his generation. – Musicnerd.ca
“Stripped down rock and roll.” – Bread & Molasses
” Fans of soulful southern rock should check out the new album from Chris Colepaugh and The Cosmic Crew, Missed a Page, which was released this past Tuesday. This is the eighth album for the band and they continue to produce masterful tracks that only seem to improve. Missed A Page is a smooth blend of classic rock and meaningful lyrics with a twist of southern twang that is only intensified by the use of the pedal steel guitar”
The Argosy, Album Review CCCC Missed A Page
“Colepaugh first caught my ear at SXSW a few years back with an impressive blast of blues-influenced rock. If you like muscular guitars and melodic rock riffs, , you’d be hard pressed to find a better song (Some Things Never Change ) , or heck, a better release, this year,
Twangville.com , John Mayer’s review/playlist
” Chris Colepaugh is all about the melody. That’s not to say this son of Southern blues doesn’t rock, Just listen to what happens when he unleashes his doubleneck Gibson on such tunes as “Some Things Never Change” on his latest album “Missed A Page”. Guitar riffs don’t get much thicker than this.”
Relix Magazine, Album Review
” I was blown away by the Canucks Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew as the gravelly soul in Colepaugh’s voice was a the helm of this band, which can lay down a wicked southern-fried boogie with a kick in the ass. The dude has a cool beard too.
Jambase.com / SXSW Showcase review
“There may be a very simple reason for the influx of the Canadian music talent in the Untied States. Just ask fellow northern neighbor Chris Colepaugh , recently signed Gibson artist who, along with his band, Cosmic Crew are quickly establishing themselves among the ranks of successful Canadian acts to cross the border.
Gibson.com USA Artist profile
“Vocalist/guitarist and his Cosmic Crew deliver old-fashioned rock crossed with alt-country. Sounds like Gov’t Mule meets the Jayhawks”
“The instant Chris Colepaugh saw Steve Stills play Sweet Judy Blue Eyes in the film Woodstock, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a guitarist like Steven Stills, who was still with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the time. In the era of guitar gods and showy axemen such as Jimmy Page and Hendrix, this admittedly, was an unusual aspiration but for Colepaugh, playing guitar isn’t about how fast you can play, but how beautiful the melody.
Denis Armstrong, The Ottawa Sun
“I’ve seen a guy like Chris Colepaugh in front of 1,000 people and I’ve seen him in front of 15 people and he plays the same way, just takes over the stage. I have a lot of respect for people who come from the hinterland and support their own scene, and I always leave going ‘Man, I’ve gotta work harder.”
Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar/Grady producer for Government Mule ) with HERENB
“Colepaugh and his crew have been a part of the east coast scene since the early 90’s and are considered one of the hardest working outfits on the Canadian scene.”
As I write this, the first snow of this winter is falling outside, which is kind of funny, because In Your Backyard, the latest disc from Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew, is a perfect summer album: think Dave Matthews Band’s groovy jams with an ample shot of classic rock and blues. It also happens to be one of the best East Coast albums of the year.
All three musicians are in top form, and the production is crisp and clear without being too busy, allowing the songs to shine. And what songs they are: soon-to-be-classic rock tunes with impossibly catchy riffs, soaring Stevie Ray Vaughan-like vocals and stellar work by Daigle and Sasnyiuk. It’s hard to pick a highlight when the album is so consistently good, despite the decent if unmemorable lyrics. Colepaugh and company avoid repetition by mixing up straight ahead rockers (“Caught Up to You”), lighter-waving ballads (“California Mountain”), fiery blues (“Runnin’ Out”), and twangy country (“Don’t Want You ‘Round No More”). The disc even closes with a great cover of Neil Young’s classic “After the Goldrush” that turns the original song’s sparse desperation into a cathartic anthem.
So, go pick up a copy of In Your Backyard, bundle up in your snowsuits and enjoy summer all over again, snow or no snow. And be sure to check out Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew when they hit George’s Roadhouse later this month.
ARGOSY – Mount Allison University, New Brunswick
“ Chris Colepaugh has that same addictive sound that music lovers will quit their jobs and load up their VW vans for, and spend days on the road just to trade stories with other fans and to be “present” at every show.”
SUMMIT UP: Banff, AB
“ Moncton’s quadruple C has gone through many changes since 1995, and TRIP is evidence of all the blood, sweat and miles the duo of CHRIS COLEPAUGH and LYNN DAIGLE have witnessed. It is a well-crafted and serious piece of blues rock jammery.”
REVERB: Halifax, NS
“ Moncton’s Chris Colepaugh and Lynn Daigle are the Cosmic Crew, and they transform this Eastern community into a rolling and rocking landscape where one swears they can actually see the Golden Gate Bridge off in the horizon. “
EXCLAIM: Toronto, ON
“ They have been called one Eastern Canada’s hardest working bands, and Colepaugh himself has received high praise for his soulful and passionate guitar playing, as well as his songwriting. Imagine Bachman Turner Overdrive meeting the Grateful Dead and you will start to get the picture. They rock, they groove, they play the blues and they are not to be missed. See you there.”
SOOTODAY.COM: Sault Ste Marie, ON
REVIEWS WITH ROCH VOISINE
Et comme il avait deux talentueux guitaristes (Chris Colepaugh et Christian Péloquin) sous la main, Roch Voisine a saisi l’occasion d’insuffler un peu de tonus aux succès. La Presse
Accompagné de cinq musiciens, dont le guitariste de Moncton Chris Colepaugh, Roch Voisine a entamé son tour de chant, vendredi, avec une pièce de Neil Young, Heart of Gold, tirée de sa trilogie Americana. Acadie Nouvelle
Canadian signer Roch Voisine (left), of New Brunswick, performs with Chris Colepaugh at Canada House at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games on Friday February 14, 2014.
Neil Davidson/The Canadian Press