At 23 years old, Ian St. Arnaud found himself to be an old hand on the festival performer circuit, a University graduate, an accidental overdose survivor and at a loss for what to do with himself next.
The previous fall his bandmate, friend, and at times antagonist, was hit by a train, thus dissolving his Americana/folk trio - North of Here. The three had met in high school and from humble beginnings, their first performance being in a small town library to a meager audience of 14, they quickly became darlings of the Canadian folk movement. They had been preparing to head into the studio to follow up on their 2017 EP Milk & Honey when Ian’s bandmate was killed. Hauntingly, the album title had already been chosen - The Cost of Living.
Ian, the primary songwriter of North of Here, wanting to honour his band & the loss of his friend, reworked and rewrote many of the songs that make up the bulk of St. Arnaud’s debut album. However, new music soon began to pour out of St.Arnaud, and releases ensued: including two singles, Dark Horse, Morning Dreamers, and St.Arnaud’s debut EP, Morning, Buddy, to be released in the fall of 2018. Teaming up with Juno Award nominated producer Graham Lessard (Barr Brothers, Reuben and the Dark, Basia Bulat), Ian dove into the studio to flesh out his understated and raw songs. Hearkening to ‘60s protest folk, beaming, clever lyrics belay the dark weight of his themes. Simply orchestrated and impeccably-composed, The Cost of Living is a stunning sonic achievement. Ian takes head-on, themes of death, loss and confusion with sardonic humour and heart-on-the-sleeve, puppy-love honesty. His lyrics bounce over the trumpet and electrified tenor guitar interplay, tastefully layered over the rhythm section.