One of the most loved songwriters to have emerged from the burgeoning local indie rock scene of the 1990’s, Tom Fidgen has released his first recorded collection of music since 2002’s independent release Beyond Before.
Recorded in Toronto and featuring a who’s who of that city’s finest studio musicians, a boy called fish is an atmospheric take on Fidgen’s rootsy storytelling style. The album sees Fidgen reunited with longtime collaborator, friend and former bandmate, Juno-award winner and in demand studio guitarist, Stuart Cameron. Cameron produced the new album, a role he also played during the recording of Sunfish’s 1993 demo which, by popular demand, became their cassette only, self-titled debut.
Sunfish rose to prominence beyond the local bar scene after a win in 1994’s CJCB Music Spirit East contest enabled the band to record the single “Find the Time”, produced by friend and fellow songwriter Gordie Sampson. The buzz from this recording gave the band the momentum to gather the resources needed to record their now classic CD Mola Mola. Mola Mola was a hit locally and beyond, with the song “Difference“ winning Best Indie Video at the Much Music Video Awards in 1995 and receiving national rotation on popular radio. In ’96, the album was released in Australia to more critical praise. (Dave Mahalik does a great job of exploring the band’s impact on local mid-’90s zeitgeist in this article from October 1995.)
Despite this early success, by 1997 the members of Sunfish had gone their separate ways and Fidgen began splitting his time between Toronto, where he continued to write and record music–including 1998’s Lupins Records release Human by Trade–and a house in Belle Cote where he began building traditional style wooden boats in his one man boat shop. As skilled at the craft of boat building as he is at songwriting, Fidgen won the Peoples Choice Award two consecutive years at the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Show. Boat building quickly developed into custom furniture design and by 2009 Fidgen began to write Made by Hand – Furniture Projects from the Unplugged Woodshop which became a top selling wood working book of 2010.
With his two young children becoming more independent and his woodworking career developing a solid foundation, Fidgen recently found the time and energy to return to music making. a boy called fish was recorded during the fall and winter months of 2010 and saw its official release in January with two packed nights at the Carleton. Fidgen has scheduled a hometown release for the album at The Upstairs Club on Saturday, March 19th where he’ll be backed by a band featuring Scott Brown on bass, Jay Smith on guitar and Matt Thauvette on drums. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door.