Ray Lemelin unveils album, Dark/Out of Phase (Interview)

Ray Lemelin

Calgary-Based Folk and Roots Artist Ray Lemelin Releases Dark/Out of Phase

There are some things in music that all the technological advancements can’t recreate. And live recording an entire album is something from the past that Calgary roots artist Ray Lemelin embraced on his new release Dark/Out of Phase.

Lemelin’s new album is a laidback exploration of love and life lost through smooth trailing acoustic guitar backed by accordion, banjo, and mandolin. Dark/Out of Phase is a collection of songs that are as immersive as a lazy Sunday afternoon.

“Playing the whole album as they did way back in history, where four guys set up in a circle, put up a few mics and just let the songs tell their story. Up close and personal Dark/Out of Phase is a work of the heart about love and life lost and starting over,” says Lemelin about the album, which includes Tim Williams on 6 different stringed instruments, Howard Schmenge Chapman on accordion and of course Bob Richardson on bass.

The lead single, “It Really Isn’t Just About Me,” is a jangly roots throwback that explores a mental shift to understand that the world is not all about yourself. To break the song out of its traditional roots mold, Lemelin adds a unique spoken word element that his son, Ray Hyphen, contributed that connects the listener to the song’s narrator.

Lemelin has been a touring and performing guitarist for a variety of artists, such as Wes MacKay, Lowell Fulson, and Pinetop Perkins. Dark/ Out of Phase is Lemelin’s first solo effort away from being a touring guitarist and leading the full-time band the Manitee Kings. Inspiration for the album came from living in British Columbia and playing out some of the thoughts in his head with long-time friend and collaborator Bob Richardson at Slaughterhouse Studios.

Listen to “Really Isn’t Just About Me” below and learn more about Ray Lemelin via our mini-interview.

Care to introduce yourself?

My name is Ray Lemelin. Growing up my friends called me Brother Ray, and it stuck!.. So now and for a while I’ve been known as Brother Ray Lemelin. I am French Acadian and Scottish Heritage. Everyone on both sides of my family are musicians, so my love for music and love for performing music started at an early age.

Tell us about the process of writing “Really Isn’t Just About Me.”

Really isn’t just about me came from observing folks around, doing their own thing, and not being aware of anyone or anything around them. Bulldozing through life without awareness of anyone else’s journey and no one listening to hear what is being said but only to respond! I am very proud and happy to have my son RayHyphen collaborate with me on this song.

What’s it like being a musician in Calgary?

Calgary has always been good to me! I’ve lived in 6 different cities in 5 provinces during the last 40 years, and I have always returned to Calgary to a warm welcome. I know tons of musicians here, and they seem to know me. The great clubs in Calgary keep hiring me, too, lol. Most importantly, my kids and grandkids live here, and being near them is important to me!

Who was the first Canadian artist to blow you away?

The first Canadian artist to knock me out was Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, as they played at my high school twice! I followed them around every chance I got!

You’ve been making music for a while now. What’s one piece of advice you can offer to those starting out?

Well, if I was to advise someone, it would be to never limit your listening to one style of music or artist and do it for love, don’t pay attention to what others may think, the process should be enough…then do it like it was your first and last time you may get to do this!

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