When Sean Isaac isn’t climbing the Rocky Mountains, he’s on his guitar playing songs about them. Earlier this year Isaac and Julie Chang released their debut album, The Raven & The Fox, which is already charting across Canada and has made its way to number four on the National Folk Chart.
“I moved to Canmore 25 years ago from the Maritimes. I quit university and I moved to the mountains. I thought I was just taking a year off but it turned into two and then I became a professional climber for 10 years and an alpine guide for 12,” says Isaac. He had played guitar in high school for fun but he left it for years until he met his future wife.
“I met Julie while she was visiting her sister who lived in Canmore. I met her at an informal jam. I fell in love with her voice and then with her not long after.”
As Chang went back to finish her herbal medicine diploma in Toronto, Isaac wrote songs, sending them to Chang in lieu of love letters.
“It was an inspired time for love,” says Isaac in a phone interview from his home in Canmore. “It’s a natural environment, when I look out my window I’m surrounded by mountains and trees, not skyscrapers.”
On their album, some of the lyrics are Isaac’s, some are Chang’s, and some they wrote together. Some of them were inspired by places Isaac has travelled for his rock climbing.
“One of them – Where the Mountains Meet the Sea – I’m particularly proud of those lyrics. It’s a good love story without ever being too obvious, it’s got a metaphysical component. ‘Where Mountains Meet The Sea’ was inspired by Vancouver Island and ‘Desert Alchemy’ by the landscape in Utah. The magic of the desert has played a big part in shaping my life.”
Chang’s smooth and sultry vocals perfectly complement Isaac’s moody acoustic riffs as they perform their passion-soaked lyrics. Their songs, influenced by the great sounds of the 60s and 70s and Canadian music icons, capture a range of moods and styles from soft ballad to grooving folk rock.
Isaac and Chang are coming to Salmon Arm to play at The Barley Station on Wednesday, Oct. 18 as part of their 20-stop western Canadian album-release tour.
“Despite multiple tours through BC, we have never played in Salmon Arm so we are excited to share our music,” says Isaac. “I really enjoy that part. Every venue is different and exciting. It brings me back to climbing new areas. I like that exciting feeling of new.”
Isaac and Chang will be touring with Kyle Pullan as their opening act.
“Kyle is an incredibly talented instrumental acoustic guitarist who ‘wows audiences wherever he plays,” says Isaac.
To get a preview of their music go to theravenandthefox.com and www.kylepullan.com.