Robert Guess warms up to a Cool Heart in his latest single — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Setting the Vancouver singer-songwriter’s sweetly dusty vocal and romantic lyrics against the gently insistent strum of an acoustic guitar, some shimmering arpeggios and even a jazzy saxophone break, Cool Heart is an uplifting folk-pop charmer with echoes of War on Drugs and Marah. And it’s just one example of the beauty and artistry on display on his forthcoming EP British Columbia.
“I called the EP British Columbia for many reasons,” explains the American-born artist, who now calls the province home. “Vancouver has been a lot of getting myself in the right headspace to write and record these songs without all the noise I was hearing in the States. The natural environment here played a big role. There’s just something very peaceful about it here in Vancouver.”
Born in New Jersey, Guess relocated for Florida as a teen and became a staple of the scene, making two solo albums and garnering airplay throughout the U.S. He then fronted Water-Cure, a regionally successful rock band based in Tampa, before moving to Los Angeles, leading the folk-rock band The Letter Green while working in the entertainment industry.
“My time in Los Angeles was so informative to understanding story and character,” Guess says. “I was fortunate to see many of my L.A. friends dream up stories and characters in their heads and see those stories realized on the big and small screen. I’ve tried to bring that screenwriter mindset into my songwriting.”
In the early 2010s, a chance encounter in Monterey led Guess to another relocation, this time to follow his now-wife to her Canadian homeland. He has been in Canada ever since. “Being an American in Canada is a unique experience. I certainly don’t want to get too political, but it’s been a breath of fresh air to find myself in Canada, especially with the chaos that’s been happening down south. I feel like that’s shown up in my music, being in Vancouver, which is a stunning place with fantastic energy.”
While in Vancouver, Robert has amassed a large catalogue of songs in various states of completion. The four selected for British Columbia best represented his time in the Pacific Northwest to date. “These songs are about universal emotions, seen through the lens of cinematic characters seeking peace and truth, but not knowing how to get there”, Robert says. “They’re thematically aligned to what I’ve been writing about for some time, a battle between ego and spirit with spirit ultimately winning.”
Co-produced by Andy Schichter at Park Sound Studios in Vancouver, the four songs are buoyed with string and horn arrangements written by long-time collaborator David Rogers, and performed by the Black Dog String Quartet. The love letter to his adopted homeland brings together nine Vancouver musicians and features singer-songwriter Sydney Warwick on background vocals.