Being a deadline-oriented kind of guy, Trevor Howlett set a firm timeline for himself — and the result is his new rock album, Venture a Guess.
“Last year at Christmas time, I decided I was going to make an album this year, if it was the last thing I do,” said the Red Deer-based singer/songwriter.
Through happy circumstance he came across an ad on Kijiji about Red Room Studio, a new music production house in Blackfalds. Next thing you know, the wheels of inspiration were set in motion. Howlett began writing a bunch of new songs and recording them with the help of Red Room producer Allan Schmidt and local musicians, including Craig Gomez of Underside Pattern and vocalist Kaylee Rose.
The outcome of this creative productivity can be heard at a launch party for Howlett’s 12-track CD on Friday, Dec. 4, at The Hub on Ross Street. He will perform tunes from Venture A Guess with a backup band.
Howlett’s rocking opening track, Don’t Be Afraid to Shake Hands, has a catchy groove and lyrics that pretty much describe his attitude to the recording process. “Don’t be afraid, just go for it. Even the devil might burn you on the first go-round, but that’s OK,” said Howlett. There’s always a second round.
The Cape Breton native moved to Red Deer in the spring of 2014 to start working as a desk editor at the Advocate. The newspaper business fit with Howlett’s deadline-focused nature, his love of writing, and his upbringing in a home that subscribed to two daily newspapers, and also welcomed a couple of weekly papers.
“My parents always, always watched the (TV) news as well,” recalled the 28-year-old.
Since Howlett’s dad worked as a party DJ, music was also a big part of his life. He’s been moonlighting on various stages since he was 18 — starting in Halifax, while taking journalism at King’s College.
Howlett recorded a six-track EP, called Lost Causes in 2010, but had to put his music aspirations on hold after following his now-fiancée to Fort McMurray for work.
The northern Alberta city had few live music opportunities, and his work schedule was also full on weekends, recalled Howlett, who began writing songs in a vacuum, without an audience to play for.
His sentiments about that period can be heard in the semi-autobiographical tune Leave It Out on the new release.
Since moving to Red Deer, he’s found a lot of live music options, and a friendly local music scene. “There are a ton of talented artists here for the size of city,” said the singer/guitarist, who’s carving out a niche for himself.
Howlett has performed at the former The Olive, its new incarnation, Lux Lounge, as well as food truck Friday noon-hour concerts on Ross Street last summer, and in Edmonton and Calgary.
Less than a year after committing to making his first album, Howlett is now looking forward to his first single, (You’ve Got) One More Chance, getting some local radio play in 2016.
Tickets for his 7 p.m. concert — which includes a free CD and special guest performance by Kaylee Rose — are $10 cash at the door.