Nature is a source of inspiration for artists across various creative disciplines. For singer-songwriter and violinist Raine Hamilton, their passion for music combined with their admiration for mountains and land formations ultimately drove them to create the studio album Brave Land.
“As I started to travel more, I spent more time in various mountain ranges and began to really notice the difference of those places (in comparison to Manitoba). As an artist, I really value tuning into the places around me,” Hamilton says.
Brave Land is the second project Hamilton has made alongside their string trio collaborators Quintin Bart (double bass),- Natanielle Felicitas (cello) and Lloyd Peterson (producer and engineer).
“Raine had a clear vision for this concept album, while leaving space for ideas to develop as a group,” Felicitas says. “We finished tracking all the string parts right before the lockdown in March 2020. The process was particularly surreal for me, as I was pregnant throughout the writing and recording of it (giving birth in May 2020).”
Although the album was ready in early 2021, Hamilton opted to experiment with distribution and release each track separately throughout the year, so people could honour each song before listening to the full album.
“On the one hand, the pandemic deprived the music industry of touring and performing, but it also gave way to innovation and trying things out in a different way,” Hamilton says.
This is the first full-length project the singer will release since the album Night Sky came out in 2018.
During the process of writing Brave Land, Hamilton had the chance to go to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for a four-week residency. The new environment furthered their connection to the land, a topic they had previously explored within their discography.
Before their time outside of the Prairies, Hamilton described the land as a place of tranquility. Now the singer expresses how their feelings have shifted toward how the mountains bring out courage and strength within them.
The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity “is nestled in a valley space surrounded by mountains, and that place just blew my mind,” they say.
Banff was also the place that inspired Hamilton to write their latest single, “Eclipse.” While the instrumental idea arose while they were teaching the xylophone at a Winnipeg elementary school, the lyrics landed on the page after witnessing an eclipse in Alberta.
“There was this beautiful lunar eclipse, and a lot of pals who were also artists-in-residence came out and stayed at a bend in the road to watch it and sing,” Hamilton says.
As the album’s mid-January release date draws near, Hamilton reflects on the feeling they want to evoke for listeners who will now get to hear all the tracks together.
“I hope that it finds the heart of any listener who resonates with it. I hope that, as an artist, I can somehow be a part of a listening experience that is moving,” they say.
Brave Land will launch on Jan. 21 on streaming platforms. The album-release show that was supposed to happen at the WECC on the same day has been postponed without a settled new date.
Published in Volume 76, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 13, 2022)