The sideman is a well-worn trope in rock and pop music: the diligent and often mysterious musician playing creative foil to the more celebrated front-person.
With a career spanning two decades, Dean Drouillard has cultivated just such an image in Canadian music, plying his complementary trade for a laundry list of established artists that reads like a CBC radio 2 playlist. Stints with Sarah Harmer, Rose Cousins, Amelia Curran, and Great Lake Swimmers have cemented his reputation as a go-to musician and first-call guitarist who’s as comfortable in studio as he is on the road. He’s also known for his golden ears as a producer, directing recordings for the likes of Royal Wood, Christine Bougie, and Justin Rutledge.
But in between tours and recording sessions, Drouillard has maintained a consistent artistic output, producing a half-dozen releases under his own name since 1998. His recordings bely a curious and artistic imperative but his compositions remain melodic and approachable. From the mid-fi melancholy of Dust, to the cinematic instrumental vistas of The Bear Lake, Drouillard’s catalogue denotes a restless exploration, each release refining his sound without redundancy.
Drouillard’s latest is his rangiest yet, as Teenage Fanclub-inspired melodic sensibilities collide with blown-out shoegaze textures, and slo-core lamentations cruise into 90’s Tom Petty-infused folk-pop. Flood is a dynamic record that surveys the diverse interests of a musical mind still hungry to stake new territory.