Bruce Guthro is an honest storyteller with a striking voice. His music excites, inspires and stirs in the tradition of great songwriters who can say what all have felt but few can express.
His EMI Music Canada debut, 1998's Of Your Son, was certified GOLD and produced two hit singles ("Walk This Road," and "Falling"). Bruce's new follow-up release -- simply titled Guthro -- reveals the pride of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia as a man of the world.
Two years in the making, the new album Guthro was written and recorded in Memphis, New Orleans, Toronto, New York, Hollywood, Orlando and Nova Scotia. Working with acclaimed producers Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, John Mellancamp), David Lowrey (Counting Crows), John Hampton (Gin Blossoms) and Danny Greenspoon (Great Big Sea), Bruce crafted a collection of eclectic songs. Some are uplifting, some hard hitting, but all showcase his versatility as a singer songwriter.
"I didn't think about any particular genre of music when we started," explains Guthro. "I'm basically a storyteller, so I can wrap my songs in any format, rock, pop or country, whatever I want."
In Bruce's most recent and remarkable victory, Canadians watched as he took home three of the top East Coast Music Awards including Male Artist of the Year, Pop Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.
Although Guthro is the first release from Bruce in three years, the singer has been keeping busy. A few years ago, at the 1998 East Coast Music Awards, Bruce won five categories - Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Of Your Son, Pop/Rock Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Single of the Year for "Falling." That year, he also took home three Canadian Radio Music Awards and a Juno Award nomination for Best New Solo Artist. He hosted his own CBC television special and toured with acts such as Jann Arden and The Rankins.
On the catchy first single, "Disappear", Bruce explores the different ways to express devotion without saying a word. "What do you do when you get tired of the words 'I Love You'? I don't think you need to say them all the time. You can do and say so many other things that mean just as much. Otherwise, these words lose their meaning," he says.
Bruce also went to CBC Television with his concept for a Songwriter's Circle TV series. CBC loved his ideas and have taped 6 one-hour specials. Bruce hosts every show, which features a variety of renowned songwriters including Jim Cuddy, Colin James, Rita MacNeil, and Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea).
This past fall he toured across Canada including dates from Toronto to Victoria with Celtic family sensation Leahy. Bruce was proclaimed SOCAN Songwriter of the Year at the 1997 East Coast Music Awards for his song "Fiddle & Bow" (recorded with Natalie MacMaster) when he signed to EMI Music Canada and released Of Your Son. The album's first single was the #1 hit song, "Walk This Road."
Meanwhile, another track from the album, "Falling" was becoming an audience favorite. A gentle and deeply heartfelt ballad about a father calling his son and asking for forgiveness after a 20-year absence, the song touched all who heard it. Although "Falling" did not follow the conventional format for a radio single, its popularity could not be ignored. Upon its release it charted in the Top 25 at Adult Contemporary radio and the video was a hit on MuchMoreMusic and CMT Canada.
Any artist would be fortunate to write one song as moving as "Falling." On his new album, Bruce has followed it up with an equally impressive sequel called "Don't Go." "In 'Falling' we never hear the other side of the conversation," says Guthro. "I had always thought about the son answering, and wondered what he would say. I wrote 'Don't Go' and tried it out live where it got a great response."
"Don't Go" is a prime example of the singer's strong narrative style, which appears throughout the album. On "In the Morning," (for which Bruce played all the instruments excluding Hammond organ) he sees the world through the eyes of a drug addict. The intimate "Songsmith" highlights Bruce's vocals and acoustic guitar in addition to cello, and pays homage to those who give it all for their art.
"That's an ode to geniuses with lost souls," he explains. "It could be anyone from Gene MacLellan to Kurt Cobain. They believed in what they were writing, even if it was odd or difficult, but continually struggled to find peace within themselves. I believe to see the world today, anyone of substance has to have a heavy heart in order to get those views across."
Alongside the poignant ballads, Guthro is filled with up-beat numbers that feature Bruce's humourous wordplay and zest for life. "Factory Line" is a little bit country; "Wonderful Night" is a little bit rock 'n roll.
Bruce has also kept busy by joining forces with the Scottish Celtic rock group Runrig as their new lead singer. For over 25 years, the band has enjoyed vast popularity in Europe, where Bruce spends much time recording, touring and winning over new fans with his outgoing stage presence and warm personality.
With the release of Guthro, he returns to Canadian shores to present his most accomplished work to date. After all of his achievements, he remains as down-to-earth as when he first appeared on the East Coast music scene, writing truthfully about the world around him. br> "I always try to portray the positive side, or at least the side that stands for good," Guthro says. "There is enough angry music in the world, so I'm not trying to put that out. I don't sugar coat things, but I think I am a realist and I call things as I see them."
It was a tribute concert for East Coast legend Stan Rogers that first put Bruce in the spotlight. That night in April 1995, the sold-out crowd gave his performance a standing ovation and a rising star was born.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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