Corey Isenor’s 2011 album The Hunting Party is a record with a folk base. This does not mean though that Isenor sticks just with a folk sound and certainly will not pigeon hole himself into one genre. As heard in the album, The Hunting Party is a fuller band recording, venturing to a more electric sound, a side of him that just comes naturally. “I think I just kind of appreciate experimenting with a lot of different varieties [of sounds] whenever I do record an album,” the Enfield, Nova Scotia native says.
“I’m certainly happy with how this album turned out and I appreciate the way that it comes off as being a full-band sound. I’ve been touring it with a three piece [band] to emphasize that and to add to the whole performance of the music.”
With the ominous wail of an electric guitar and a thunderous drum inclusion, The Hunting Party’s title track is the perfect example of the more rock side of Isenor. Lyrically speaking, the phrase “The Hunting Party” is used to describe a group of teenagers in a rural setting and their various shenanigans, an idea that came from Isenor’s own interaction of sorts with a group of teenagers:
“I was living in Sackville, New Brunswick and I was just biking one day and a group of teenagers were driving by in a truck and started shooting at me with a BB gun. I wasn’t hit fortunately but I was driving over a bridge so I could hear the BBs going across the guard rail and then they turned around did the same thing again,” Isenor discloses.
“It wasn’t necessarily a shocking experience, I guess it would be kind of shocking for anybody but I was just kind of more surprised that that young people in a rural community would be ballsy enough to go out and shoot at people.”
For such an odd experience, one that some could easily be offended by, Isenor turned the event into art, saying, “I didn’t really care too much because I wasn’t injured so I took the circumstances of the event and it ended up coming to me in a good subject matter for a song. Kind of ragging on teenagers and the silliness that comes from being a teenager living in a rural community.”
With an Eastern Canadian tour just finishing up, Isenor was promoting The Hunting Party and got to play with almost a different opening band every night. For his two night stand in Toronto, Isenor teamed up with good friend, fellow Mt. Allison grad, and musician Pat Lepoidevin, a relationship that has become a friendly and supportive rivalry.
“I think we both take a different approach to the way we make our music but we both still have the same mindset in terms of the kind of music we want to make,” Isenor explains.
About the creative drive that comes with such a friendship he says, “Having a friend who’s been making music for song [rather than selling music like a business] is always great because it creates this mini competition where you’re trying to always work at the same level or at least keeping yourself relevant to the music their making and vice-versa.”
In promotion of his summer tour, Isenor decided to release the poppy “Oh Elaine,” a hidden track originally featured at the end of The Hunting Party but a song that he feels didn’t quite fit in with the theme of the album as a whole.
“I’d written it when I’d been playing with a group of friends in Sackville before I recorded The Hunting Party so it came from a different kind of background. I still really like the song and when I recorded The Hunting Party and finished the album, it didn’t seem to fit the general aesthetic or what the whole album sounded like perfectly,” Iesnor says.
“I decided to release it as a free single to showcase that fun side of me because I have a lot of musical interests and I don’t want to necessarily always be billed as a poppier or a folk sort of musician necessarily.”
If you’re familiar with the various works of Isenor, his previous album is entitled Frost and his first one is called Young Squire, you’ll notice that he references rivers in quite a few of his songs – “Riverwoman” and “Bend In The River” are two obvious examples. Though he never grew up near a river or has been profoundly impacted by them in any sort of way, he is continually drawn to them in the writing process saying, “I don’t have a direct influence but part of me enjoys the sort of thematic picture or story they create and they seem like a pretty common metaphor or flexible subject matter for a lot of different songs or points to reference.”
“I never necessarily consciously chose to write about it but for whatever reason it just keeps popping up. I’m making my best effort for this new album to avoid mentioning it,” Isenor laughs.
Though no new album is official in the works, Isenor says that he is always working on new material and that he is the kind of person who doesn’t like stopping in any way.
“I’m always consistently writing and I have been building up a body of work that I eventually want to record into a new album but I haven’t finished most of the songs so it’s been a mildly slow process,” he explains.
“It’s good because I’ve just been thinking about what I want to be writing about and what kind of music I want to play and every year I end up meeting new people and more musicians and I’m always influenced in a different way so it continues to evolve.”