The Critchleys – Five Questions With

The Critchleys

The Critchleys share their single, “Nova Scotia’s Lonely”

The Critchleys have unveiled their new single (and love letter to the province), “Nova Scotia’s Lonely.”

The Critchleys are brothers Owen and Spencer Critchley, born in Canada, raised in Bermuda, and now living in Nova Scotia (Owen) and California (Spencer). They first worked together in the band Aceboy, where they were signed to a publishing and artist development contract with Warner-Chappell Music.  They gained national airplay with their single “Let It Be Love” – and wrote and recorded music for CBC shows and other projects, while Spencer contributed to some of those shows as a writer-broadcaster.

They’ve paired up again for “Nova Scotia’s Lonely” – lamenting about leaving a place you can’t leave behind. They began recording the song at Joel Plaskett’s Fang Studio in Dartmouth.

“I was far away from Nova Scotia when ‘Nova Scotia’s Lonely’ began,” says Spencer. “I was writing with Bob Rea (Southbound), who’s from there, and he asked me if anything was on my mind. ‘Nova Scotia,’ I said, and as I started to explain what those words meant to me, the song appeared — or much of it did.”

Learn more about the making of “Nova Scotia’s Lonely” here.

The renewed collaboration felt so good that the brothers decided to keep going as The Critchleys. “Nova Scotia’s Lonely” is the first of many new releases to come.

Listen to “Nova Scotia’s Lonely” below and learn more about The Critchleys via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Spencer: We’re brothers who also became songwriting partners after growing up in Canada and Bermuda and then working together in Toronto under a contract with Warner-Chappell Music. We’ve always been close, and it seems like music has always kept us connected, whether we’re actually in the same place or not. I’m in California now, and Owen’s in Nova Scotia, but it doesn’t make much difference when we’re working on something together.

Owen: We’re children of Canada and Bermuda through our mother and father, respectively — and we were raised in both places. Looking back, it really does feel very much like both places were conspiring to lead us into music. Like the deck was stacked. I can’t even conjure an image of either one of us without the music and influences of Canada and Bermuda running so strong in our veins.

Tell us a bit about your most recent release.

Spencer: It’s about leaving a place you just can’t leave behind. Nova Scotia is like that for both of us, but I think it’s about any place that’s in your soul, no matter where you go. And it began far from Nova Scotia, in Durango, Colorado. I started it there with Bob Rea, a great songwriter, and singer based in Nashville, and later on, I sent Owen a sketch. He recorded a demo of his own arrangement, which I loved, so I suggested we record a full version.

Owen: We found ourselves back in the studio together at Fang, Joel Plaskett’s facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which in its own way felt like coming home. We recorded basic tracks with two great musicians: Don Ross, who’s an amazing fingerstyle guitarist, and Leith Fleming-Smith, the terrific keyboard player for Matt Mays and others. Then we finished it in our home studios, Spencer’s in Monterey Bay, California, and mine in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

Where do you tend to pull inspiration from when writing?

Spencer: I know many people equate writing with expressing yourself, but for me, it’s more about finding my way into the presence of something else. So what usually works best is to get myself out of the way — to in effect listen for the song instead of writing it. Most of “Nova Scotia’s Lonely” came that way, very quickly. A few lines in the second verse took a long time, but that turned out to be because we were trying too hard to write them instead of discovering what they just needed to be.

Owen: For me, I think writing a song comes from wanting to give words and sound to otherwise silent, wordless feelings.

Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to tell us about?

Spencer: We played together for the first time in a long time last summer, outdoors on the shore in Nova Scotia, which was wonderful, but it may be a while before we can do that again in person. Meanwhile we’re busy producing more new songs, and we’ll keep connecting with people online.

What’s your goal for 2023?

Spencer: We’ll be releasing more songs, and really the goal is to make each of those songs the goal in itself — to just surrender our full attention to it, and trust that if it feels like we found something good that way, other people will feel it too.

Owen: I just find myself really looking forward to recording more songs together.

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