CTV presents the latest in hard-hitting, behind-the-scenes music journalism with LIVE AT RIVER & SKY! Watch as Shotgun Jimmie, Julie Doiron, Daniel Romano’s Outfit, Status/Non-Status and Julianna Riolino descend/ascend at River & Sky Festival (in Field, ON) to new states of musical excellence, friendship, summer-fun, and practical magic: How to pitch a tent, soundcheck, those aren’t hotdogs those are sausages, just a few dabs of relish, flutes, foghorns, and snare drums. And get exclusive info on YC’s newest signing! Be the first to know. Be the last to leave. Clean up after yourself. Lend a hand.
As witnessed by Colin “The Eye” Medley in the heart of the summer.
Welcome to the New Year with NEW MUSIC from Status/Non-Status!
The January 3rd EP offers 3 beautiful reflections on the search for home, those left behind when we leave, and those lost far too early, highlighted by a title track calling to a more natural way of existing but trapped within the busy people, streets and lights of a broken city. January 3rd follows up the critically acclaimed Surely Travel LP with a selection of additional material drawn from the same fruitful sessions. Collected together these songs document a sentimental journey that sounds just right on the cold winds of winter.
Notes on the songs from Adam Sturgeon:
“January 3rd is a song of reflection; a call to a more natural way of existing but trapped within the busy people, streets and lights of a broken city. I wrote this while living in Flint, Michigan and it was the first song we recorded for Surely Travel, where in a song we are all just trying to be free.
Johnny’s Song could be about any kid, anywhere. In this case a specific kid – Johnny, who was trying his best to persevere despite a harsh reality at home, each day bringing a new challenge but finding hope within the cold terrain of the Arctic tundra and being on the land.
Glide is a dedication to our dear mother, mentor and friend who slipped into the ice and never came home. Emotions got the better of me through tracking so I walked away from the song and left it unfinished. Still can’t listen to it to this day.”
Announcing the highly anticipated release of the brand-new Status/Non-Status full-length album “Surely Travel”, coming September 23rd from You’ve Changed Records! Watch the beautiful animated video for the single Mainly Crows now!
What’s revealed when you archive the quiet moments during time spent on the road? For Adam Sturgeon, the result is a crystalline glimpse into the unseen — and gratifying — moments of personal renovation we rarely pay attention to; where a blown out tire incites calm rather than rage, and moments of frustration invite grace instead of judgment. This is the vantage of Surely Travel, the newest album by Status/Non-Status, the evolving musical project of the Anishinaabe artist and community worker, and a close-knit group of collaborators.
Exploring their expansive, sky-sweeping folk rock from a fresh angle, Status/Non-Status drive head-on into a natural complement to the earth-shaking sonic landscapes they’re known for. A loose concept album written as a travel log of animals in flight, the record brims with open air reflections, while gazing out of a blurry window and acknowledging what it can’t see clearly. Blending the melted psychedelic gauze of distorted Americana, with thundering flashes of post rock, Sturgeon implements softness generously. At the core, remembering that lyrics that break through universally sing with clarity about experiences that “chop at the knees.”
Recorded over 10 days at Deadpan Studios in Sudbury, the goal was to chisel things down down to the bone. Where past records built atmosphere out of heavy swaths of sound, overlaid with harmonies, the band opted for a single vocal take, a Wurlitzer, and ran a $100 classical guitar through an amp. Written in the company of others, whether from the back of a van, or with a baby on the other side of the door, Sturgeon wrote sections of the record in near silence — whispered lyrics and muted bass riffs that started as lullabies, only to be blown out later. It interlaces the album’s material composition with its central inspiration: the inconsistent perception of glamorous associated with life on the road, and the reality of over-indexing on time spent in an unreliable, stuffy van; the wrenching sacrifice of time away from loved ones, in favour of only seeing a gas station and vacant roads for hours on end.
Where the acclaimed, Polaris Prize Long Listed album Warrior Down (2019), and its celebrated follow-up the 1,2,3,4,500 Years EP (2020) required a mighty sonic landscape to fit its lofty reckonings of nationhood, trauma and familial memory, Surely Travel tightens its scope, but not its ambition. Instead, peering inward to examine the self within its surroundings, and to underscore identity and indigeneity from the smallest spaces or ordinary experiences. Conjuring the awe of sunshowers through the rearview mirror, Surely Travel intentionally doesn’t over-promise optimism, but rather celebrates the small wins of a human-sized approach to resilience and healing.
Status/Non-Status – Surely Travel
September 23, 2022
“The crown skull of existence is consumption while genocide seeps into the cracks of our everyday. We’re beginning to see beyond the veil….”
Status Non Status present a new video for Genocidio in collaboration with director Travis Welowszky.
“From atop the makeshift mountain, a grim presence looms above the life below. A meditation on the endless, encroaching empire. The creatures traversing this plane are plastic and placeless; conjoined to their terrain as playthings in the tableaus of glorious exploiters. The understudies of colonial rule, silhouetted across a hill, obscure serenity by way of simulation; scrambling signals. Colonial esoterica. Banal evil in list form. Silence: the cause to the resounding pain.”
Genocidio appears on the Status/Non-Status 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years release
Status/Non-Status is the new name for the ongoing musical work of Anishinaabe community worker Adam Sturgeon (Nme’) and his longtime collaborators (fka Whoop-Szo). The band spent a decade carving a path through Canada’s DIY scene before leveling up thanks to 2019’s acclaimed long player Warrior Down (You’ve Changed Records). This album confronted Sturgeon’s complex family history and identity and was long listed for the Polaris Music Prize among numerous other accolades. Now, the band emerges renewed, with more stories to share …
Adam is ‘non-status’ as defined by the Canadian government. Adam’s grandfather Ralph made the difficult decision to enfranchise in order to support himself and his family by joining the Armed Forces. Enfranchisement was the government’s term for the legal process of turning in one’s Status Card, terminating one’s Indian Status, and becoming instead a Canadian citizen. It was a pillar of the government’s assimilation policy and a requirement for any Indigenous person who wished to enlist.
In the name of providing a better life for himself and his family, Ralph was required to forsake his Anishinaabe roots, an all-too-common experience for Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. Acts of colonial violence such as enfranchisement, the residential school system, and the Indian Act have resulted in disconnection amongst generations of Indigenous people from their communities, languages, land, and identities. Today, new voices are rising up and — through acts of reclamation via art, language, music, and community — taking back spaces that have been dominated by settler culture for so many years.
Who is native enough? Who ‘counts’ as Indigenous, and who does not? These questions swirl through the Canadian arts discourse today, impacting every medium and revealing fundamental inadequacies within our current identity-defining systems. For Adam, the proof is in the work; his commitment to telling his family’s story with integrity and truth informs every aspect of his music and his life. Now a father to his own young son, it is the future that allows Adam to dig further into his roots.
“When we tell stories, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. Do the necessary work to earn trust. Share your experience as one voice within a greater circle … and find a home.”
The 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years Limited Edition 12″ EP features musical program on Side A and graphic etching on Side B. Released in collaboration with Grizzlar Records. The EP will be released in full May 28, 2021.
“Find A Home” is the first song on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP. The video was created remotely by the Olde Nightrifter (aka Eiyn Sof, recent collaborator of Rick White). On “Find A Home”, Sturgeon says:
“It is within the small and simple things that we find ourselves. On a long drive, a quick walk down to the river, or cooped up in silence at home. It is in our language and in our names. When I started making this music, I didn’t know a whole lot about myself or who I was. Métis, they would call me. Part Ojibwe. Part this or that. Which part? Same old story for the mixed breeds. Never saw my true reflection staring back at me.
On those long and lonely drives between tour stops, you can see life move but you only get a dusty windshield of a view. The occasional flat lets ya stop to peak the landscape. A snowstorm lets you know its history. These things shape you, give you ‘experience’. I’ve seen a lot of gas stations, no doubts there: informed.
Giving the time and reflection to do my best is what it comes down to. That, and driving overnight. Sometimes our best hurts. Hurts ourselves, hurts others. It always hurts you when it hurts someone else by the way. And so at night, out there … nowhere, I’ve touched down and untangled the black roots of this strawberry heart. There were things I couldn’t see around the corner, not on this dark road. Not even on the brightest prairie day. At night, on the road, on and off stage I fill myself. Wake up new, on a floor, on the move, anywhere.
Music has helped me when I can’t find answers. For a long time I didn’t know where we were driving, and I mean all of us. This road put my mind together and maybe we all can too. Find a new way. Until then, I keep filling the tank. Reclaimed …”