Alberta’s ingredients have always fed the ‘Canadian rock pie’ some of its most potent flavours. Now add to the mix Tupelo Honey. The band consists of frontman Matthew Landry, guitarists Daniel Davidson and Tyler Dianocky, Steve Vincent on bass and Greg Williamson on drums. Honing their chops while touring with some of the country’s other biggest rising acts, Edmonton’s finest have gained a huge following since their inception in 2003.
“Basically, we’re just a very straight ahead rock band, we’re very high energy, modern rock,” Vincent simplified. “Matthew’s got an incredible set of pipes, and we just try to work around that. We really try to focus on the live sound of our instruments and the stage show,” he added, noting the trick is then trying to translate that in the studios, which they’ve done exceptionally well.
Their self-titled independent EP in ’04 saw the lead single “Why I Bother” burn up the airwaves across the country, and was the number one requested song on several stations in the province that year. Other heavy hitters like “Then Came You,” “Feel,” and “Left Behind” cemented the group as one of the country’s hottest independent commodities, with critics reveling at their uncanny maturity, lyrics that are both thought-provoking and enticing, and remarkably tight sound.
Since then, they’ve recorded enough material for a new album at Toronto’s famed MetalWorks studios, home to recordings from everyone from Rush to Tina Turner, and Vincent noted there was bound to be a bit of an intimidation factor. “There’s a lot of gold records on the walls there, very cool,” he commented. “We still owe money technically on the last record,” he joked. “But we’ve got a bunch of new songs that we’re shopping around for a record deal with,” he added, but cautioned the band isn’t willing to simply take the first offer they were given. And they’ve already passed up on a couple of proposals.
“We’re looking for the right record deal, and the right record label, one that will be part of our team,” Vincent stressed. “We have an exact idea of what we want to do. If a label comes along that wants to be a part of that, that’s great. If not, we’ll just keep looking, because things are already just getting better all the time.” The band has no doubt the new album will be a winner that gets them over the next hurdle, thanks partially to their evolution as a group.
“We’ve gotten a lot better at writing songs. We’ve had the privilege of working with some very good people in the industry,” Vincent said. “We’ve worked with a lot of musicians and producers, and learned a lot from them in a very short period of time. The band has always been focused on not just sitting on our backsides, just sort of learning as much as we can about as much as we can, as fast as we can.”
After opening for the likes of Matt Mays + El Torpedo and Social Code, they released the recordings appropriately as THE SEPTEMBER SESSIONS in the spring of ’07. The 5-track EP featured the anthemic “Screaming,” the tender hit with an edge “Make Me Believe,” as well as “Because of You,” “Envy” and “Epic.” “The tracks are a lot more raw. They focus a lot more on the actual sound of the five guys in the band playing. And we’re really stoked on sounding like ourselves, instead of trying to do any sort of studio tricks,” Vincent said.
The band immediately got back on the road before releasing their third EP, MACHINES & ROBOTS in ’08. Backed by the punch of their singles “Morphine” and “We Are,” the album was ripe with maturity and with a direction, and both scored big on Canadian radio. “All These Things,” “Not Alone” and the title track also helped land them their biggest shows in their history that year, opening for Theory of A Deadman, The Trews, Papa Roach, and in front of a hometown crowd in Edmonton – Bon Jovi.
Landry bid the band a farewell in 2009, but undeterred, they found the perfect replacement for a vocalist without having to look far, when Davidson took over. Taking some time off, he was in Toronto helping some friends with their own projects. “It was our prodcer Jeff Dalziel’s (Thornley, Edwin) wife’s idea. She heard me singing with Shiloh (“Can’t Hold On” – quarter million youtube hits), and said I should give it a shot,” he said. “I’d actually been trying to convince the guys to let me do a demo but everyone was a bit skeptical. Eventually Jeff snuck me in to do the demo for ‘Last Thing’ and the guys loved it and sent me back to finish the record! Its been a very stiff learning curve. I used to be able to do the back ups easily, 30 second bursts were no problem but learning to sing for 90 mins straight was a tough task!”
Recorded in Oshawa, Ont and St. Albert, Alta, with new guitarist Brad Simone, they released the 17-track CAUGHT UP IN THE EXCESS in late 2010. It debuted at #4 on Canadian Itunes rock chart, and with a renewed vigor, quickly became one of most critics’ pick as top album of the year, featuring the first single “Pull Me Closer,” as well as new acoustic versions of eight tracks from their older catalogue, the tender “Not Alone,” and “Last Thing,” a song they’d performed live for several years.
“We had it ready in a different arrangement for MACHINES AND ROBOTS, but we had other priorities for songs to be recorded and only so much time and money to make that record. It was always a great song but it really came together when Jeff produced it and I sang it. I wrote most of that tune a long time ago and something about it really popped when I started singing it again,” Davidson explained.
In 2011, two songs were used for commercials during the Grey Cup, and they embarked on their first ever US tour, something Davidson commented was a great experience. It was a REALLY big place so it was good to finally get down there and start planting the seeds to create an American version of what we have here in Canada. Playing the Whisky A Go-Go was a trip,” he said. While taking a break, Econoline Crush borrowed Vincent and Williamson for their cross-Canada tour.