Jason Setnyk

Interview with Paul DesLauriers who co-headlines Musicfest

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Paul Deslaurier Band Lift Off

Article and Photo by Jason Setnyk

Cornwall Ontario – The Paul Deslauriers Band along with Sean McCann of Great Big Sea and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies will each be co-headlining the first annual Cornwall Musicfest which takes place on Saturday August 20th at the Nav Centre.

It’s going to be a busy summer for Paul Deslauriers. In addition to Cornwall Musicfest, The Paul Deslauriers Band will also be playing the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Mont Tremblant Blues Festival, and the Ottawa Bluesfest this summer. However there is something special for Paul Deslauriers in his returning to Cornwall to play a major outdoor music festival since the absence of Lift-Off.

“I’m truly pleased to see the return of an outdoor music festival in Cornwall. We were thrilled to play Lift-Off for the first time two summers ago, not knowing it would be the last edition, so obviously we were sad to see it go. It’s great to see Jason Mitchell and Davey Bedard carry the torch over and create Cornwall MusicFest. I’m quite pleased to be working with these two dynamic entrepreneurs again who have such a passion for music and for the City of Cornwall. Festival concerts are often the highlight of our summer tours not only for the wonderful crowds we get to play to, but also for some of the great artists we get a chance to hear on the same bill. Obviously, I’m proud to be a hometown boy sharing the bill with members of these two legendary Canadian bands,” said Paul Deslauriers.

This past June The Paul Deslauriers Band released their new album Relentless and had an album release in Cornwall. The band which features guitarist and vocalist Paul Deslauriers, along with bassist Greg Morency and drummer Sam Harrison, created a hard-driving blues-rock album. The new album, which can be purchased at record shops or on iTunes, will also be available to purchase at Cornwall Musicfest.

“I wanted to do something special for the release of the new album, I thought it fitting to return to Cornwall and play the Relentless album for the very first time to a hometown audience. Cornwall has been very good to us every time we’ve returned, it was sort of my way of showing how special our fans here are to us. The new album follows in the footsteps of the last record, it’s a hard-driving blues-rock album, all original material this time written as a group, myself, our bassist Greg Morency and drummer Sam Harrisson. The album will definitely be available for purchase at Cornwall MusicFest. Folks can also purchase it at record shops, on iTunes or directly from our website,” Paul Deslauriers confirmed.

The Paul Deslauriers Band’s music is available on online streaming sites, however the best way to support a band is to purchase CDs or t-shirts directly from them at a show. That is the best way to ensure that the artist receives most of the revenue. However sites like iTunes allow a bands music to be available worldwide, and in April of 2014 their previous album went number one on the Canadian Blues Chart. There are opportunities for exposure and to make at least some revenue online, although probably not a lot of revenue online.

“Any artist will tell you that the best way to support them is to purchase CDs or even a t-shirt directly from them at a show. That way you can be sure that the majority of what you’re paying for is going to the artist. It’s also a great way for us to meet and connect directly to our fans and build relationships with the people who are directly responsible for us having a career in the first place. In store sales or even direct sales from an artist’s website are great too, every bit counts. When our album went to number one on the iTunes Canada Blues Chart in April of 2014, we were thrilled of course, and at least a portion of what people are paying for gets to us eventually, and I must admit, it’s great to have our music available worldwide. Streaming offers fractions of pennies per play, so in a sense you’d have to see hundreds of thousands of plays to equal what you get from just a few of CD sales. I’ll let you do the math on that one,” said Paul Deslauriers with a smile.

For those who have seen or will see Paul Deslauriers live in concert, he plays some songs on a very special guitar. Paul Deslauriers has played with an iconic white Gibson double-neck guitar for nearly a decade now. It is an instrument he quickly fell in love with, and it is now an integral part of his recordings and live shows.

“I began playing a double-neck guitar live about ten years ago. It has a twelve-string guitar on top and a six-string on the bottom. It’s a great instrument to use when a song requires different tunings, you can switch from one neck to the other at will for what you need to do. Eventually I fell in love with the idea of playing slide guitar on an electric twelve-string, there’s just something immense and majestic about that sound and it’s become an integral part of the band’s recordings and live shows. I’ve had the white Gibson EDS-1275 double-neck I use onstage for about 8 years now and it’s certainly one of my favourite instruments, though it’s quite heavy,” explains Paul Deslauriers.

The Paul Deslauriers Band’s music is critically acclaimed. Last January The Paul Deslauriers Band had the opportunity to represent the Montreal Blues Society and the province of Quebec at the 32nd annual International Blues Challenge held by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. The band finished 2nd place among 119 competing bands from around the world. For Paul Deslauriers it was an exhilarating experience.

“We were thrilled to begin with just to have the opportunity to represent the Montreal Blues Society and the entire province of Quebec down in Memphis last January. Just making it to the IBC was a privilege indeed, making it all the way to the podium was exhilarating! It meant a lot to us as it was a real shot in the arm and a solid confirmation that what were are doing can appeal to a wide audience of blues fans. We didn’t change our formula because it was a judged competition, we just went down there and tried to be the best Paul Deslauriers Band we could be, and we couldn’t be happier about how it was received. We’re so grateful to have had that opportunity and are happy to say It’s opened the doors for us on the international market and has been a great calling card to open doors for us not only in Canada but the US and Europe as well,” Paul Deslauriers reflected.

Paul Deslauriers have also received Maple Blues and Lys Blues awards and nominations. For Paul Deslauriers it is an honour to be recognized by his peers, the industry, and from fan-based votes too.

“It’s an honour, of course to be recognized by our peers in the industry and even more special when those recognition’s come from fan-based votes. We never make music with the goal of winning awards and the like, we are just humbly working to make the best music we know how to and hope it appeals to people. So when that does come, it’s certainly gratifying,” Paul Deslauriers added.

What is next for The Paul Deslauriers Band? More touring (including in Europe) and the promotion of the new album Relentless.

“The immediate future holds a lot of touring and promotion for the new album. The Relentless album is being released in stores in the US and Europe as well as Canada this time, so we hope to be making several more treks south of the border and eventually over to Europe in the next year, then follow up with a new album in 2017,” Paul Deslauriers concluded.

In addition to The Paul Deslauriers Band, Sean McCann of Great Big Sea, and Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies – there is a full line-up of musical entertainment at Cornwall Musicfest. Other bands playing are the Eagles tribute band One of These Nights, Cardboard Crowns, The Bard of Cornwall Jesse Ferguson, Nick Seguin, Mena Hardy, Bruce Ciccarelli, Tommy Heatley, Ryan & Amanda, and Chris Benton.

Organizers Davey Bedard and Jason Mitchell of Limelight Entertainment have partnered up with the Nav Centre and Corus Entertainment to make this event possible.

“Cornwall Musicfest is based on a vision of quality musical performances, an awesome atmosphere, and fun and enjoyment appropriate for a big audience”, says co-founder Davey Bedard.

Tickets for Cornwall Musicfest are $30 in advance or $40 at the gate the day of the show. The event is licensed and 19+, and alcoholic beverages will be permitted throughout the festival site. There will also be three stages.

For more information be sure to like and follow Cornwall MusicFest on Facebook.