At 24 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, St.Arnaud, along with drummer with Will Holowaychuk, had seen his bandmate, friend, and at times antagonist, hit by a train, thus dissolving their 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 pair of 2017 Singles: Without Windows and Milk & Honey, when their bandmate, Luke Jansen, was killed. Hauntingly, the album title had already been chosen - The Cost of Living.
Ian St.Arnaud, songwriter, and Will Holowaychuk, drummer and third member of North of Here, wanting to honour their band & the loss of their friend, reworked and rewrote many of the songs that make up the bulk of St. Arnaud’s debut album. However, new music inevitably began to pour out of St.Arnaud, and the first string of releases ensued, including: two singles, Dark Horse (August 2018), Morning Dreamers (September 2018), and St.Arnaud’s debut 6-track EP, Morning, Buddy (October 2018). Teaming up with Juno Award-nominated producer Graham Lessard (The Barr Brothers, Timber Timbre, Basia Bulat), Ian dove fully into the studio to flesh out his understated and raw songs. Hearkening to ‘70s protest folk, beaming, clever lyrics belay the dark weight of his themes. Simply orchestrated solo and band-performances, and impeccably-composed, St.Arnaud’s debut LP, The Cost of Living, set to be released Fall 2019, is a stunning sonic achievement. Ian tackles head-on themes of death, loss and confusion with sardonic humour and heart-on-the-sleeve puppy-love honesty. His simple, insightful lyrics bob and weave through layers of trumpet and electrified tenor guitar interplay, all tastefully layered over a sweet and solid rhythm section.