Welcome Back, Cotter

It is easy to hear that the natural world inspires Andy Cotter. The evidence is in his music. He sings about the leaves changing colour in “Concentrate,” a track off his solo album. He even has a song called “Baby Tree.” It’s also easy to see; the photos on his MySpace page tell the story of a day in the woods, catching zees in the mists of a raging waterfall. He has a thing for the Rockies. He likes the fact that even in his hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick, he’s never very far away from the forest.

Oh yeah—he also loves skiing. And he wasn’t at all bothered by Fernie’s snow situation when he was here last February, performing acoustically at the Brickhouse.

“I did get to ski three days there a month ago. You were quite covered when I was there. I’m an East Coast skier, so we take the best of what’s around and really make use of it!” he says over the phone from his HQ in Fredericton. “I had a lot of fun. For me, it’s not so much the deep snow, because I worked for two years in Lake Louise at the ski hill there, so I’ve definitely skied that stuff before, but it’s the long runs that I enjoy.”

It’s a long run from New Brunswick to British Columbia, but singer and guitarist Cotter and his band—rounded out by Richard Gloade on bass and Scotty Sampson on drums—are on a mission to push Cotter’s debut solo album, Time for Everything. It’s an album with moments both earthy and ethereal. It plucks an acoustic feeling from some of its electricity, switching between graceful melodies and funky basslines. You can hear Cotter’s varied influences, from folk to bluegrass to hip hop, but he and his band fully own the sound they create. Because Time for Everything was released last July, however, the guys are also road testing new songs.

“At the end of the tour,” Cotter says, “we’re going to go right into the studio—after we play the 30 shows in a row—so we can really nail down a very efficient studio session.”

Efficiency is probably an important trait to keep honed when you have as much on the go as Cotter—between longboarding, ultimate Frisbee, making music … and working … there isn’t a lot of spare time. He just finished recording an album with one of his other bands, the Shapes, and recorded an acoustic EP he’ll have on tour with him. Then there’s the second Scotty and the Stars album—Making Music—that he and drummer Sampson released fresh on the heels of a 2009 East Coast Music Award nomination for Children’s Recording of the Year.

Despite any jokes you might be able to make about the maturity of a bar crowd, however, Cotter says that playing in school auditoriums for kids is quite different than playing for adults.

“Kids are very enthusiastic right off the bat,” he explains. “You’ve got the whole school in front of you, they’re all sitting down and they’re just kind of, like, whoah! What’s going to happen right now? Who are these guys? And with kids, they’re just quick to jump on the ball right away. Whereas playing bar or café shows, you really have to work with the older crowd and ease them into it a little bit.”