Home Hear Now Hear This: Brendan Scott Friel | 2021

Now Hear This: Brendan Scott Friel | 2021

The Windsor singer-songwriter moves forward by looking back on his latest album.

Brendan Scott Friel relives a hard year on his moving and magnificent third studio album 2021 — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

An emotional, cathartic offering written after the loss of his father, the striking 2021 is undeniably anchored by the emotional intimacy and earthy tenderness of timeless indie-folk. But that’s just the jumping-off point for this ambitious and multi-faceted work. These eight songs boldly and unfailingly set Friel’s soul-baring lyrics and dusky vocals at the center of a gorgeously rendered, artfully produced mix of instruments and electronic sonics, ushering you into a unique musical experience that simultaneously squeezes your heart and tantalizes your ears.

It all came together in the dead of that melancholy winter, when Friel reunited and retreated with Juno-winning producer James Bunton to a small, cabin studio in Northern Ontario to write and record. One highlight of the sessions, the focus single Resolutions, captures a crisp, New Year’s Eve in the midst of grief and Covid. Technicoloured, explosive synths meet nuanced, Nick Drake-like guitar work in what is a unique, genre-defying sound that Friel has adopted as his own musical signature.

It’s not the only life-changing winter the Windsor singer-songwriter had recently. In the late months of 2016, Friel ran away when the long-term relationship he was in came to a messy end. At the same time, the band he had just spent most of his life’s savings on disintegrated.Confused and depressed, Friel spent what little money he had left to go to Holland, toting only his beat-up acoustic guitar and a backpack. He spent the next several months busking across Europe and rediscovering what excited him about being a musician.

Friel came back the next summer with a new determination and has since released two full length albums — 2017’s self-produced Quiet Cars and 2021’s Summer Moons, his first collaboration with Bunton (Donovan Woods, Joey Landereth, David Myles). Both releases garnered playlist spots, reviews, radio play and media attention across Canada, Europe and the United States. His last singles Piece of You and Through the Rain landed on Apple Music’s New in Singer-Songwriter playlist.

Listen to 2021 and buy it below, and make Brendan Scott Friel’s year by heading over to his website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.