Ever since Stephen Stanley parted ways with celebrated Canadian alt-rock act Lowest of the Low after 23 years, the renowned singer-songwriter has continued to write and record new material, and steadily perform live to audiences of new and longtime fans across the country.
Stanley, who was featured in a recent documentary film on Lowest of the Low, has done well to channel the momentum and cult-like fanatacism of his former band into The Stephen Stanley Band, who has since played monumental shows with the likes of, 54•40, Bob Mould, Cracker, Lee Ann Womak, Jake Clemons, Willie Nile, The Jayhawks, and Lloyd Cole, and international stages in Germany, the UK and Ireland.
"I left the band in 2013 to start the solo path I am firmly on now." Stanley told Kingston Live. "The reality for me is if I had stayed in the band I would have never made the music I have made over the past six years, and that would have left a hole in my life."
On November 10, The Stephen Stanley Band released their new full-length album, Before The Collapse Of The Hive (Wolfe Island Records). Produced by Hugh Christopher Brown, "This is our first studio record since 2018's Jimmy & the Moon," explained Stanley, who now resides permanently on Wolfe Island. "The pandemic slowed the production process, as I was living in Toronto at the time."
The release announcement from the band describes the new LP as a collection of songs "…brimming with raw, unflinching urgency, steadfast observation and soul-searching storytelling that highlights Stephen's immediate world: those he loves, and those he's lost."
One such loss commemorated on Before The Collapse Of The Hive is Stanley's close friend and beloved Toronto radio personality, Dave Bookman, who passed away unexpectedly in 2019. "The album is a continuation of the ongoing conversations we had, and that I, to this day, find to be irreplaceable," Stanley described. Two of the album's songs in particular, The Owl and Holding Back On Someday, are in honour of their friendship and reflections on the time spent finding the words for such an unexpected goodbye. "Everyone deals with this at some point in their lives, I’m just not sure how we do. For me, it was writing these songs."
Stanley and his band—which includes Chris Bennett (guitar, vocals), Cam Pyziak (drums) and Chris Rellinger (bass)—have quickly assimilated into Kingston's music community, and many local musicians contributed to the album, including Pete Bowers, Jason Mercer, Rocky Roberts, Sarah McDermott and Suzanne Jarvie. "I love what I know about the Kingston music scene so far," said Stanley. "I have made my last two records on Wolfe Island with Hugh Christopher Brown producing, and have benefited from the clutch of wonderful musicians that live on the Island."
Recording the album on on Wolfe Island became an integrated life experience. Start and stop times were not regimented. “Often, we’d go and play a set at the Hotel Wolfe Island and recording would just take place around the timing of the show.”
Stanley wrote the album's first single, Here Comes That Rain (web link
), with his two daughters in mind (his daughter Alisa has created all the artwork for the record). “[Here Comes That Rain] is an open letter to my daughters and their generation… in regards to the state of the world we have left them with," Stanley explained. "But that sentiment lives alongside a belief that their generation will be the voice of change that we once thought we were, but now they must be at all costs."
Before The Collapse Of The Hive is available on CD and as a limited edition gold vinyl record (web link
), and is also available for listening online here: web link
The Stephen Stanley Band will celebrate their new album release with a live performance on December 2, 2023 at Hotel Wolfe Island with guests Kate Fenner and Hugh Christopher Brown. Details and advance tickets are available online here: web link
Posted: Nov 19, 2023
In this Article Artist(s)
The Stephen Stanley Band, Pete Bowers, Jason Mercer, Rocky Roberts, Suzanne Jarvie, Sarah McDermott Resource(s)
Wolfe Island Records,
Hotel Wolfe Island