Family, Fiddles and Flying with Tim Chaisson

By Annette Dawm, Workstory Ambassador 

Simply put, Tim Chaisson says that his job is “to write songs and tunes, then perform them in front of people!” but his talent and work schedule is quite complex. In fact, he responded to this interview request while on a plane to Vancouver, BC. At the time, he was heading out to play at some Canada Day festivities! Far from his home on Prince Edward Island, Tim says he loves “almost everything” about his job: “I love traveling, meeting people and most of all, being on stage almost every night.”

Chaisson is from one of Canada’s largest and most prominent musical families: “My family has influenced me so much”, says Tim. “My father is a piano and fiddle player, my brothers and sister were all musicians, and almost all of my first cousins (there's 55 of them!) could play an instrument, sing or dance. There was music all around me, so I consider myself so lucky to have had an abundance of music in my life from an early age. I started playing music when I was 6 years old. I started off with the fiddle then moved over to guitar, singing and song writing. The path involved a lot of practicing as well as performing wherever I could!” In both his touring band and Celtic group, The East Pointers, Tim is accompanied by one of his 55 cousins, Koady Chaisson, who is also a multi-instrumentalist.

As for Tim, he says “it’s hard to pick a favourite” instrument. “Since the fiddle was my first instrument and has such a family connection, I may pick that. I'm by no means a master at all—far from it—but I play fiddle, guitar, bass, mandolin, drums and piano.” With such a wide range of musical abilities, Tim’s music is able to fit into many genres like pop, country, and folk. This means that Tim has found himself amongst some incredibly diverse and amazing tour mates. He has performed with country acts like The Stellas (parents of Lennon and Maisy from the TV series, Nashville) and Johnny Reid. On the other side of the spectrum, he has also hit the road with rock acts like The Trews and The Goo Goo Dolls; all of which have a different sound and a different audience. When asked if he changes his set list based on who he tours with, Tim responded as follows:

“Great question! I love that I'm able to tour with such different acts, but sometimes you do have to change things a little bit here and there. For example, I toured with Johnny Reid solo, so I picked songs that work well when I'm on stage by myself. With the Goo Goo Dolls and The Trews, I had my full band so it was a bit louder – you have to keep up! The fans were different at each show, but what was really cool is that they're all music lovers, so I had a great time.”

Earlier this year, Tim released Lost in Light which was the follow up to The Other Side. Both albums were made possible by donations through Pledge Music, a crowdfunding website. In return for his fans’ generosity, Tim offered some amazing rewards, which made the experience more interactive for everyone involved. “I think getting to meet and interact with the Pledgers was the coolest part [about releasing the album via crowdfunding]. I'm still in the process of doing some house concerts and co-writing some [songs] and it's awesome. I've crowdfunded a few projects myself. It feels good to be a part of the album making process.”  For a few lucky people, Tim even acted as a tour guide of Charlottetown, complete with Anne of Green Gables’ hat and braids. (There’s a photo on Twitter!)

In 2011, Chaisson also acted as a guide on a greater scale when The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate) visited the Island:  “I was the musical director for the event” Chaisson recalls. “Basically, I organized a few numbers that they watched that afternoon. I also performed.” Tim is very proud of Prince Edward Island and he continues to make the province proud as well. At the release party for Lost in Light, he performed for a sold-out crowd of almost 600 people, his biggest audience to date as a headliner!

Tim Chaisson understands that not everyone gets to do what he does, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. According to Tim, “if you love playing music, keep doing it! I have a lot of friends who gave up on their dream of being a touring musician because they felt pressure to take a more conventional work path. If you have a passion for it, don't give up. Keep working at it, music is good for the soul!”

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You can also follow Tim on Twitter and like him on Facebook.