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Songs on folk-rocker’s new album a mix of truth and lies ‘to make them interesting’

Glenn Sutter is holding an album release party on Friday, May 3, at The Artesian in Regina. Songwriters Dave Grandel and Annie MacLeod — the latter a Moose Jaw musician — will each perform solo sets before Sutter and his band take over. 

Folk-rock singer-songwriter Glenn Sutter has released a new album focusing on home, childhood memories, parenting, and marriage, with “a strong grain of truth” in each song and some lies mixed in “to make them interesting.”

“Truth and Lies” is Sutter’s fifth studio album and features nine original tunes.   

The Regina-based singer/songwriter is holding an album release party on Friday, May 3, at The Artesian. Songwriters Dave Grandel and Annie MacLeod — the latter a Moose Jaw musician — will each perform solo sets before Sutter — on guitar and piano — and his band take over. 

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Every album Sutter has released has been different, while each is a journey that starts as “a glimmer of a little idea” he wants to share, he explained. Furthermore, while each album has a theme, he sometimes struggles to see it because many songs are a collection. 

However, thematically, this new album has “a very strong sense of home that comes through — what it means to be at home either in your mind or in a place that feels like home,” he said. “And I think that’s partly because a good number of the songs took root during the pandemic when we were all at home.”

Sutter reflected on what home means and feels like — it’s fun, poignant and has strong emotions — while he was happy with the result of those reflections. Moreover, he feels lucky to have a supportive wife of 35 years who sang on several tracks. 

With the album’s title, “Truth and Lies,” Sutter hoped there was more focus on the former than the latter. When he started writing, the focus was on the truth of home, but because memories fade, he embellished his tales. So, while these are “lies,” he believes they are more elaborations to make the stories interesting.

For example, the track “House Up High” is about building a treehouse for his children and then tearing it down years later.

“But in the song, the emotions are maybe a bit stronger than I felt in the moment,” he said. “So that’s the sort of twist on things in the moment … . But it’s a bit of artistic licence in how I approach it in the song.”

Another inspiration for some songs — such as “Crows Don’t Mind” — is situational moments, such as camping with his wife. They were watching crows playing around, and she said, “Crows don’t mind walkin’,” which he thought was a great line. 

Sutter works at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum as a curator of human ecology and teaches about topics ranging from climate change to prairie conservation. 

He noted that nature has a major influence on him, while it infuses almost everything he writes. For example, another track, “End of the World,” is partly informed by the concern about humans’ negative effects on nature. 

The musician believes that creative pursuits can help people live more sustainably and feel more connected to nature. 

He noted that people can express creativity in various ways, such as through songwriting, poetry, essays or scientific inquiry. All these can broaden people’s perspectives, open them to new ideas, help them find common ground and increase their compassion and understanding. 

Sutter said he “felt a strong need” to quickly create and release the album because he’s a seasoned rocker who’s been around for decades — his first album was in 2008 — and isn’t growing any younger. Moreover, he tested the songs during open mic nights, and the crowd enjoyed them, which also encouraged him.

“I wanted to treat the songs well. I wanted to do right by the songs while I had the chance,” he continued. 

With his album release show, Sutter said he invited MacLeod because he’s known her for several years and thought she “would be such a wonderful complement (since) she is a powerful songwriter with a voice of an angel” and “a sparkling personality.” 

“I want to put on a show for people that night that is not just me and my band playing through the album … but I really want people to have a fun trip over the evening,” Sutter said. 

People should watch Sutter’s website for more details about other upcoming shows.   

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