Although it’s only been a year since the singer/songwriter last released an album – 2010’s Re-Session – Tyler’s World is already by far a more realized effort than his previous work, reports Gilbert.
“My new album is an expansion on what my last record was all about,” says Gilbert. “I wanted to make it more detailed with harmonies, cellos, elaborate vocal melodies and guitar riffs. It’s definitely my best album to date and I’m quite proud of what me and my producer Justin Bender (Into Eternity) came up with.
“The lyrics to these songs were about everything from Saskatchewan towns, Lucky Lager, underdogs, illness and one of my favorite things, which is philosophy,” he continues. “I spent a boatload of time on these songs, especially the lyrics – most everything in there has some sort of meaning behind it. Probably the only funny thing is I would supply Justin with old Starburst candies from Halloween. He really likes those things and then once we had finished everything I brought some Lucky in to celebrate.”
Taking on an aggressive folk sound, with plenty of ripping electric guitar parts, Gilbert’s take on the genre is both refreshing and atypical. With strong vocals persisting throughout the album, there is still something wholly familiar, even haunting, about his songwriting.
And while he doesn’t subscribe to a specific “prairies sound”, Gilbert isn’t necessarily opposed to the term either.
“I have heard that term a few times now about prairie sound, but I still don’t know exactly what is meant by it,” says Gilbert. “Perhaps it says that the music will remind you of the prairies or would fit right in with the lifestyle and conditions of the prairies. I never really thought about making a prairie-type record. When I go into the studio I try to keep my head clear of anything that might box or limit creativity, so I tried not to think about what I thought others might like and just did what I would like to hear in a song.”
“I’ve always questioned my presence in the folk world because I was never quite sure how folky I was exactly,” he continues. “I find myself using the term singer/songwriter now just to give people a better idea. I’m a huge fan of all sorts of music and most of the time I look to my top few influences Zakk Wylde, Neil Young and Michael Jackson to help me write and produce my records. Sort of an odd mix but I use these guys for different reason Zakk for guitar style, Neil for songwriting and Michael for singing. So I try and use those aspects and mix them all together.”
Despite the odd mix of influences – you’d never really guess about the Zakk Wylde after a precursory listen to Tyler’s World – Gilbert still has his hands full with plenty of appearances on the folk circuit this summer.
“I’ve got a few Regina shows coming up,” says Gilbert. “I’m opening for Sam Bradley May 17 at the Exchange. I’ll be on the outdoor stage at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival May 28 and on the main stage at the All Folked Up Montemartre Festival July 10. At the end of July I’ll be heading out on tour, “This Van Sleeps Two Tour,” which will run from Alberta to Quebec.”