Mark Ceaser, a Saskatoon-based country roots musician, is releasing his newest CD entitled The Strange Case Of…. this weekend on Saturday Oct 29 at The Refinery.
While this is essentially Ceaser’s debut album as a solo artist – he also released an EP entitled Burma Road – the singer/songwriter has big plans for the gig, including an elaborate theatre show… and popcorn.
“I’m trying something completely different for this CD release,” says Ceaser. “Expect a story. We started with the songs from the new album titled The Strange Case Of… and Angus Ferguson of Dancing Sky Theatre wrote a narrative based on the lyrics of the songs. It’s a story based on a young man’s journey through love, portraying excitement, anticipation and innocence through to the darker sides of love such as addiction and depression.
“We’ll be using non-traditional staging, eliminating the boundaries between the performer and the audience. There will be costume changes, weird lighting, laughing and tears.
“And popcorn,” adds Ceaser.
Originally starting with the duo Sexually Attracted to Fire, in addition to putting in time at Lydia’s open stage, Ceaser has amassed some serious stage experience – it’s hardly surprising that his plans for his album release are hugely ambitious.
However, on The Strange Case Of…, Ceaser more than backs up his stage show with his most solid songwriting yet. Combining acoustic folk and roots with some well-timed rock-outs, the epicenter of Ceaser’s work is his lyrics, which remain playful while dealing with the lovelorn, the unrequited and the downright depressed.
But despite the fits of darkness, he somehow manages to escape from brambles of a breakup with an upbeat smile and well-dressed melody line – The Strange Case Of… is toe-tappingly emotive without the baggage.
“My song writing process for this album was completely different,” says Ceaser. “At the time of writing I was employed as a home care support worker for adults with intellectual disabilities. I did a lot of overnight supports and would end up entertaining them in the evenings with my guitar. I would test out my new material on them and would know instantly if I had a good song or not, based on their smiles and dancing.”
It’s hard to imagine Ceaser’s album release not eliciting a similar response. And with an all-star cast backing him, including Saskatoon’s Karpinka Bros. among others, the show already has all the trappings of a memorable evening.
“This show is basically an experiment,” says Ceaser. “I want to continue to develop this idea of combining music and theatre, and hopefully add other elements eventually such as dance and visual art/video. My favourite part of the process is the creating – the writing and recording – as well as the collaborating.”