Chris Koster knows a thing or two about the uncertain reality that is life as a professional musician in Canada.

After cutting his teeth in local clubs and venues throughout the late-1990s and early-2000s, the Kingston-native released his debut solo record Secrets of the Lonely in 2004. Recorded at the Tragically Hip’s Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario (web link), the album provided listeners with an early glimpse at his masterful song writing and instrumental talent.

In 2008, Koster released a follow-up titled Sex, Love, and Morality. While both solo records received high praise from local fans, his career had yet to receive the jolt it needed to blast the artist into national stardom.

In 2015, Koster finally got the big break his fans always knew he deserved when he was announced as the newest member of The Glorious Sons (web link), a Kingston-based group who had recently been nominated for a JUNO Award for Rock Album of the Year. For the past eight years now, Koster has helped propel The Glorious Sons to become one of the hottest rock bands in the country.

While life as a member of one of Canada’s biggest bands has kept Koster busy with experiences he could have only dreamed of, such as opening for The Rolling Stones, and playing a sold-out hometown show at Richardson Stadium in 2019, his commitment to the band meant setting his solo work aside. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the live music industry for close to two years, Koster took the opportunity to focus on writing and recording new material.

“When The Sons were going pretty hard and touring all the time [before COVID], I wasn’t really writing a lot, because that was taking up all my time. But, when the pandemic hit, I had all this free time and sort of just rediscovered writing songs on my own,” Koster explained. As he began working on new music during the early stages of COVID, Koster eventually wove the new material into his third solo album, Ck Stays Up All Night Smiling, which was released July 3, 2023.

“I didn’t really sit down to make an album, I just started plugging away at it song-by-song… and then, all of a sudden, I had a bunch of songs. I think I wrote like twenty five or so before I started thinking about an album. Then I started grouping them together, trying to see which ones worked [well together],” Koster added.

As an artist who’s spent the last several years contributing to a band of five different members, Koster said working on a solo record brought him a new sense of enjoyment from songwriting. “The time that it presented just kind of made me fall back in love with songwriting. Obviously, with The Sons, I’m a big contributing force. But, as far as making all the decisions and stuff, it’s more of a collaborative thing, so it was fun to just kind of be my own boss and do things that only I would do,” he said.

While some might be quick to assume a position in one of Canada’s most listened-to rock bands has created new opportunities, Koster explained that hasn’t necessarily been the case. “I’ve developed some good relationships… but, at the end of the day, you’re [still] asking people to find a particular pebble of sand on the beach, because the amount of new material and artists that are out there right now is just so overwhelming.”

As for what the response has been like to the new album, Koster noted listeners seem to be enjoying it. “The Glorious Sons are just such a big machine. All of us do things outside of it in one way or another. I think the fans just love the music and the more that comes out of that world, the better,” he said of the positive response from members of The Glorious Sons’ fanbase.

To support the release of Ck Stays up All Night Smiling, Koster put together a group of local musicians to accompany him at a pair of live shows this summer. “It’s been incredible. For the first time in my life, I got first picks on every instrument, [and] I’ve been able to grab people [who] I’m a big fan of. It’s been really easy putting material together… I kind of wanted to work with people I didn’t have to tell anything twice to, I wanted people who took it seriously and got what we’re going for,” he said.

The group, efficiently named Koster, played their first gig earlier this July, opening for The Glorious Sons at Kee to Bala, a popular annual music series in Muskoka. The members of Koster include Josh Hewson on keyboard, Sean Patterson on guitar, Keith Cahill on bass, and Kurtis Weekes on drums.

“They’re all very gifted players… I send them a song and they learn it. We go through [everything] a couple of times. It’s been really, really easy, and spontaneous, and fun. That’s really fun for me because I don’t like to hammer stuff too many times, I like to keep it pretty fresh so that when we’re playing it live, it can remain pretty loose but still be polished,” Koster said of his fellow bandmates.

On July 29, 2023, the band will play a highly anticipated show at The Broom Factory in Kingston. “I can’t wait [for the show],” Koster remarked. “We’re going to play the whole record, and then I’m looking at a couple other songs from back in the day, just seeing what would fit into the vibe of this new material.” Given that Koster is known for his unique take on popular songs like Love is a Battlefield and Fully Completely, the artist said he expects to include some covers in the setlist as well.

For a musician who’s played most live venues in Kingston, the July 29 show will be Koster’s first performance at The Broom Factory. “I’ve never even been in the building, but I’ve heard great things. It just seems to be the right size for something like this,” he said. The show is being promoted by KPP Concerts.

Information and links to buy advance tickets for the July 29 show can be found on the Kingston Live website here: web link

Fans are encouraged to get their tickets while they still can, as the show is likely to sell out. Doors to The Broom Factory open at 7 p.m., before opening act Miche Marsz takes the stage at 8 pm, followed closely by Koster. Posted: Jul 20, 2023 Originally Published: Jul 20, 2023
In this Article Artist(s) Koster, Chris Koster Resource(s) KPP Concerts, The Broom Factory