Wrapping up their 20th anniversary year, Vancouver Canadian musician Tom Landa, is looking back on the legacy of his much-loved folk rock band The Paperboys. For two decades, The Paperboys have been touring the world and lighting up stages with their free-wheeling blend of influences from Celtic and bluegrass, to Mexican son jarocho, brass bands, and Canadian roots. They’ve been called everything from Cajun slamgrass to worldbeat, they’ve received a Juno award (Canadian Grammy), plus two Juno nominations, released nine albums, and regularly play two-night bills in the Pacific Northwest. But that’s not what matters to Landa now.
“What means more to me than anything else is to receive letters, emails, or hear stories from people who tell me that our songs helped them through a tough time, or that they used one of our songs for their wedding, or that an album of ours was the soundtrack of their summer. At the end of the day, accolades are nice, but they are nothing compared to connecting with people,” he says.
It’s a remarkably grounded perspective from a bandleader who’s been through it all, but Landa’s an open-book kind of songwriter, a Canadian grassroots poet who loves to infuse his songs with dance hooks. Even the title of their new album, At Peace With One’s Ghosts – the first new Paperboys album in six years – speaks to Landa’s approach. It’s full of The Paperboys’ signature sounds: Spanish-language songs that reflect Landa’s Mexican heritage, explosive brass lines from their extended 8-piece ensemble, Celtic fiddle and pennywhistle blazing through an old reel, English rock songs with strong pop influences, and a kind of melting pot sound that reflects not only the diversity of the band’s home city, Vancouver, BC, but also a larger vision of what modern Canadian roots music should sound like.
Glide Magazine is excited to premiere one of the tracks off At Peace With One’s Ghosts, “City of Chains”.
Speaking on the song’s origins, lead singer and songwriter Tom Landa says, “Vancouver, British Columbia is now the most expensive city in North America, and the second most unaffordable in the world. The real estate development over the last 15 years has been fast and furious. Little by little, they’ve torn down building after building to make room for new cookie cutter condos that no one can afford. One of the places this has been felt the most is in the artistic community. Musicians and artists can no longer afford the steep rent and have been forced out. In addition we’ve lost over 20 music venues and places that bring community together. ‘City of Chains’ is a song about that.”
Give a listen to our exclusive premiere of “City of Chains”…
At Peace With One’s Ghosts comes out December 8th. For more on The Paperboys check out paperboys.com.