Instead of focusing on historic battles, Elliott BROOD decided that its latest record, Work and Love, would be more about the band members’ actual lives.
The Toronto-based alt-country trio - comprised of Mark Sasso on lead vocals, guitar, banjo and ukulele, Casey Laforet on guitar, bass pedals and vocals plus Stephen Pitkin on percussion - formed in 2002.
For this release, dropped last October through Paper Bag Records, the band tried to switch things up. The trio recorded the album at a Bath, ON farmhouse owned by members of the Tragically Hip.
“We were originally going to record out on the West Coast near Seattle, but that fell through and they opened up some dates for us to get everything down within two weeks,” Sasso, 40, says over the phone. He spoke to the Uniter while out on the road.
‘’We were able to hole up and focus on them every day instead of having to float in and out of daily life. I don’t think we’ll ever make another record any other way moving forward. It was great to seclude ourselves and just focus on the music,” Sasso says.
For the first time the band also decided to hire a producer. They chose Ian Blurton, who’s previously worked with the Weakerthans and Attack in Black.
“After so many years it’s nice to add something different to the mix and I think it ended up perfectly,” Sasso says.
“He approached vocals differently and that’s the one thing I kind of took away from it. I think he really brought the vocals to the forefront and it’s like there’s two lead singers on all of these songs.”
The album title comes from a line in the song “Soon Enough,” on Canadian indie rock group Constantines’ 2005 full-length Tournament of Hearts.
“We love that song, but overall we felt like that line encapsulated what we were going after lyrically,” Sasso says.
For this album, the Elliott BROOD trio tried to write songs that were more influenced by their personal lives, which is a definite contrast from its previous work.
Days Into Years had lyrical content inspired by the First World War, while Mountain Meadows was based off a massacre that happened in the Utah Territory in 1857.
“This one stems more inside of ourselves instead of outside ourselves, which was different. For whatever reason we were writing more personal songs about our lives and growing older and having families,” Sasso says.
The band plans on attending the JUNO Awards next month, where Work and Love is nominated in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Group category.
Aside from that, Elliott BROOD will be busy touring all over North America and hits Winnipeg on Feb. 21 during the annual Festival du Voyageur.
“It should be pretty great. We almost played last year, but we ended up getting booked to play in the Yukon so we weren’t able to do it unfortunately,” Sasso says.