Award-winning, acclaimed singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith's talent for story telling through his songs continues to draw universal appeal and pushes the craft to a higher form. And on his new studio album, Standard, Eaglesmith's indelible characters and narratives jump to life and leave listeners satisfied even amongst imperfections and broke down machines and relationships. Eaglesmith explains, "The album is more narrative than musical. The vocals have not been re-tuned, either automatically or manually and sometimes they are a little sharp or flat. On some of the tracks you can hear the quiet hiss of reel-to reel-tape. It is a less than perfect album."
And that's just what Eaglesmith wanted. The 12-track collection of new original material takes its moniker from a few meanings of the word standard. Standard transmission refers to a Zen term, where transmission vaguely refers to the process of Zen knowledge being handed down through lineage that traces back to the Buddha. There is also Dharma transmission, a custom of community teaching each other. This is considered a low grade transmission, and more family oriented. "Tongue-in-cheek Standard is even lower," he adds. "It refers to having things put into place for you – like gears (on a vehicle standard transmission). This is the simplest and least innovative way of learning or teaching. It is my term for staying in the box. The people on this album want to stay in the box but they can't."
"An acclaimed wordsmith with a rough-around-the-edges voice... His rootsy musical narratives are filled with heart and packed with eccentric and authentic characters. His new release ‘Standard' is a raw and intimate song-cycle..." – Chicago Tribune