Parkland is a place of contrast and a place of adaptation. The debut self-titled album of Parkland, pieced together inside the heads of six musicians across Treaty 6 and Treaty 4 territories in western Canada, negotiates the space between personal discovery and cooperative writing. Aspen parkland, as a biome, breaks the tension between prairie and boreal forests with dense brush and river valleys. Parkland, as both an album and a project, breaks the tension of songwriting and collaborating, clean production and honest sound, strategic instrumentation, and open lyrics. Both the biome and the band merely exist as transitions between two different places. Prairie and forest. Before Parkland and after.
Starting with a solo project in mind, Will Quiring (vocals/guitars/keys) made the most of an abundance of spare time to form sturdy skeletons of songs. He eventually came to realize that these songs could reach new places by incorporating the vision of some of his favorite musicians spanning the parklands. He spanned the biome, selecting collaborators naturally but with intention: the types of people you wouldn’t mind (hell, might even enjoy) being snowed in with.
Set for release tomorrow November 4, Parkland’s debut album is being to listeners early here. Quiring says, “At the end of 2019, after almost 7 years of grinding it out with my band Close Talker, I finally convinced myself that I needed a change and hit the reset button. I had been doing the same thing for most of my 20’s and I felt like it was time to start a new course, which led me into writing this album. I had ideas that I wanted to record and things that I wanted to say, but I felt like they needed a new vessel to come across in the clearest way. That vessel started as a solo project, but maybe it’s because I’ve only ever played in bands, or maybe because I was insecure in what I was creating, but I came to realize that these songs needed a band. I sent the ideas out to a few friends and almost a year later, Parkland was born. To start something new has felt inspiring, overwhelming, exciting, depressing, and everything in between. But over the course of almost 2 years, making this record with this band reminded me why I still want to be doing this.”
Coming from bands such as Close Talker and Rah Rah, each musician wrote independently. Each performance was recorded in basements and friends’ home studios in figurative (and at times literal) isolation, yet the album has the warm feel of a band playing together. Given the freedom to write the parts they envisioned, Jerms Olson (bass), Janelle Moskalyk (guitar/vocals), Ian Cameron (pedal steel), Jeffrey Romanyk (drums), and Steve Schneider (keys/vocals) each added to Quiring’s lyrical and musical exploration. Together, they crafted a record spanning folk, country, emo, and indie rock; never fully committing to one but giving a respectful nod to them all.
Photo Courtesy: Nicole Ens