The East Pointers
Traditional music is not always old even when it sounds like something lifted straight from a vintage ceilidh. For proof, witness The East Pointers recent release, Secret Victory, their debut full-length album.
Secret Victory features ten new original tracks written by guitarist Jake Charron, fiddler Tim Chaisson and his cousin, banjoist Koady Chaisson, vocalists all and, in the case of the Chaissons, members of Prince Edward Island’s reigning musical dynasty.
With Secret Victory, The East Pointers unwrap new possibilities in a musical style that dates back centuries yet is still relevant on multiple continents. The trio makes traditional music seem ridiculously hip, the most fun thing on the planet to dance and raise a pint to.
“That’s something The East Pointers are trying to accomplish—breathe some new, original life into traditional music,” confirms Tim Chaisson, whose solo career as a singer-songwriter is well established. “A lot of times, people think of it as music for an older generation but we’re hoping to introduce a whole new generation of listeners.”
Written in Australia during a 2015 tour supporting The East Pointers’ self-titled debut EP and essentially cut live off the floor at Hamilton, Ontario’s Catherine North Studios, the self-produced Secret Victory wears its influences on its sleeve while blazing its own musical trail.
The album features Chaisson’s plaintive lead vocals, the wistful, banjo-fuelled “Last Blank Page,’ the percolating “Work That Way,” and the heavy-hearted “Cold.”
“‘Cold’ is a unique track,” Charron says. “We worked with [Newfoundland songwriter-producer] Chris Kirby on that song. We had the idea of someone having gone through something difficult in their life and having a hard time moving forward but at the same time knowing they can’t change what’s happened.”
The rest of the album is a series of free-wheeling, feisty instrumental jigs, stomps and reels—or some combination of the three.
“We just really wanted to record original stuff. We all love composing and putting our own little style on something that goes back generations,” explains Koady Chaisson, “We are literally the seventh generation of musicians in our family, and what we do is a little different than what our uncles might do, for example, which would be more Scottish influenced. We embrace the Scottish influence… but also Irish and French and so on.”
The East Pointers won 2015 Music PEI New Artist of the Year and Roots Traditional Recording of the Year awards. They were nominated for Traditional Instrumental Recording of the Year at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards. The band is set to return to the UK and Australia in late 2015 and early 2016 after touring Canada.