Jeremy Says Relax..

By Charelle Evelyn on December 12 2013

As a teenager, Jeremy Stewart could never have conceived of being where he is today. From high school dropout, to migrant vagabond, to celebrated poet with a master’s degree, Stewart’s path to contentment wasn’t one always smoothly paved. “People who grow up in poverty can distort their whole horizon of what’s possible for them,” said Stewart.

“That’s definitely my story.” Now the bard behind the award-winning Prince George-set poetic memoir (flood basement, Stewart has enjoyed certain kinds of artistic success, but he isn’t interested in simply staying the course and repeating a tested formula. Instead, Stewart gives himself over to experimentation and improvisation, even if it means not always being in tune with an audience. “It’s more important to me to make music than it is to never be disappointed,” he said. Poetry was an element of nurture for Stewart, who was surprised to find out as he left childhood behind that not everyone’s family were prone to reciting Romantic verses from memory when they gathered.

“It turns out poetry is sort of a minor concern in a lot of society,” he mused. But music and eventually songwriting was in Stewart’s nature, which he came into in his early teens, going to shows and playing in a variety of bands. “Even when I was in metal bands, it was very song-writing based,” Stewart recalled. “That’s the thread that’s run through everything I’ve done. That was actually why I first started playing guitar.” Stewart’s musical back catalogue runs the gamut from folksier stylings with Cottonwoods co-pilot Raghu Lokanathan to his solo work he describes as his “Leonard Cohen-ish, grungy thing.”

His taste for the avant-garde will go further with the second edition of Casse-Tete: A Festival of Experimental Music in June. The inaugural Exploration Place-based two-day event garnered more interest than Stewart had expected, with artists from the United Kingdom and United States expressing interest in attending. If he could go back and give his younger self a piece of advice, Stewart says it would be to relax – something he’s not been able to live up to just yet.

“Probably 20 years from now or 15 years from now I’ll think that again and say ‘what would I say to myself now?’ Relax. Sometimes it seems hard to put wisdom into practice on that score.” Subscribe to Stewart’s goings-on at tinyletter.com/JeremyStewart.

CHARELLE EVELYN

REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

Website: pgcitizen.ca

M2013, MusiciansNorm Coyne