Saultonline caught up with the band ‘The Long War’, just as they were getting ready to open their ‘Landscapes’ tour in southern Ontario. ‘The Long War’, now well into their second year together, recently released the album ‘Landcapes’. The band is road-tripping across the province of Ontario and the East Coast of Canada in ‘Lucille’, a big blue van.
‘The Long War’ opened their tour at The Rivoli in downtown Toronto on April 18th, 2018.
From a stop along Hwy 11/17 near Espanola, Jarrett Lee, one of the band’s founding members, spoke with Saultonline by phone.
Jarrett’s musical inspiration can largely be attributed to the landscapes and environments that have influenced him throughout his life. The album ‘Landscapes’ is an extension of the inspiration that he, and the other members of the band, find in the natural world.
The Long War is a five piece band made up of Jarrett Lee – singer/songwriter from Toronto – who loves cats and is a Toronto Raptors fan. Keith Jarrett, an American jazz and classical music pianist – is who Jarrett Lee is called after. Jarrett said that music influenced he, and his sister Jessica’s life. “My parents had really good taste in music. I would go to school with Leonard Cohen playing on my way out the door.”
‘The Long War’ is further comprised of Chad Gilmour – vocalist/guitarist from Belleville – who enjoys sailing, is a Montreal Canadiens fan – and counts sewing and woodworking amongst his skill set; Jessica Lee – vocalist/keyboardist, and is Jarrett’s sister. Jessica is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and loves to travel. Neil Williamson – vocalist/drummer from Edinburgh, Scotland – moved to Vancouver at 25 and Carson Webber – bassist from Vancouver – who makes the best chili and is very into Dungeons and Dragons.
Chad and Jarrett met in Ottawa before moving to Vancouver. “We were doing a show as a two piece. The other members of the band, Carson and Neil, were also part of this same event Chad and I were attending in Vancouver. We ended up creating a band. Shortly after that, my sister jumped onboard as well.”
“We’ve all been playing music for so long as individuals and/or as part of groups, duos etc. Our voices mesh really well together. Coming together as a band has been a dream and this tour – the album ‘Landscapes’ – is everything we could hope for. Music finds you if it’s meant to happen.”
“The name ‘The Long War’ was inspired by a United Kingdom band – ‘Elbow’ whose song ‘The Long War Shuffle’ spoke to us as members.” said Jarrett. “We often play the song as warm-up before a concert. Neil, our drummer, came up with the name. We like to play the song (Long War Shuffle) before we take the stage. The song lends itself to each of us – our experience – our musical journey. Working as hard as we can on the long road – to get to the place we want to be with music – where music is fully a part of our lives.”
“The band also sees our name as a reflection of the difficulties and struggle in the music industry. Everyone in the group is a lifelong musician. The Long War is the battle to find success, longevity, move forward and fight for what you love. It is a war of attrition.”
The development of Landscapes was a collaborative effort. “I brought a lot of songs to the table – kicking pieces around – The bones of the song are there. The band becomes the creative engine that brings them to life.”
And from there, songs became a collection, and the fruition of a dream – ‘Landscapes’ – became a reality.
On the production of ‘Landscapes’, Jarrett said, “We collaborated with Metal Works Kevin Dietz in Mississauga. He built the soundscape. He’s a positive person, and had a big role in the creation of the album.”
The album is a collection of 9 dynamic songs, including ‘Ocean Below’, ‘Abigail’ and ‘Lake Louise’.
The big blue van christened ‘Lucille’ will be stopping in the Sault mid-May. ‘The Long War is scheduled to be at The Water Tower Pub, Thursday May 17th, 2018. 8 pm. $10.00 cover.
‘Landscapes’ will take the band all the way to P.E.I. with 20 plus tour dates scheduled. The band hopes to get overseas in the coming year or two.
“We really like a listening audience. We appreciate the feedback and energy that comes from playing live.” shared Jarrett.
“Sault Ste. Marie is a really cool place. We wanted to include northern Ontario on our tour. It’s such a beautiful region. We’re excited to be coming to The Sault.
The CBC Searchlight contest is what originally propelled Jarrett Lee and Chad Gilmore together. In 2017, the song, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ won the coveted 1st place. The song was also ranked #68 on CBC’s top 100 Canadian songs of 2017.
Jarrett explained, “The song was inspired while I was living in Ottawa – and it is composed of reflections on struggles that we face – Struggles that we face by uncertainties when challenging ourselves – taking a leap of faith and entering into unknown territory.”
The song has an intentional message and invites the listener to think about former struggles and how to take the first steps towards gaining momentum. “Leave it behind. Breathe in – breathe out – it’s all – it’s all in your mind. Leave it behind.”
The band will play the 2017 Searchlight winner as part of their performance in the Sault. Take a listen here:
Beth Cavanagh – ‘What’s The Story?’ is the band’s publicist. Cavanagh is a Sault native. Find out more about ‘The Long War’, including tour dates here: http://www.thelongwarband.com/shows