Local songwriter Allan Wilson has his eyes set on the silver screen. Since departing from local band Dory and the Weatherman, he has been focusing on writing original material.
Wilson, who is going by Allan Roy for this project, has since released five songs on a variety of platforms and streaming services including cdBaby, iTunes, Spotify and Facebook. But he has registered with TAXI, https://www.taxi.com/, an organization which helps songwriters get their music to record labels, music supervisors and music library plus placement in song and television.
“You pay your $150 fee per year and they tell you exactly what kind of songs people are looking for and how to contact them,” he said.
Nothing has come of that yet, but he is getting response from all over the world, especially on “I Just Want You to Come Home,” a moving folkish number he wrote about grief and loss, which has resonated with a lot of people.
“I was playing in cover bands for a lot of years. It’s becoming harder to get gigs, though there are a lot of places you can play for free. But more people are hiring DJs now. And I started asking myself what I really want to do,” Wilson said.
“And I decided I want to have music in television and films,” he said, adding each song is different, though they have folk origins.
So he wrote some songs and hired a lot of local talent to flesh out the songs including James Oldenburg, who recorded the songs and who also plays on several of the tracks. He also got Gerald Rogers from Hippodrome to add trombone, Gerry Clewes to add bass and Jill McNally adds piano on “What Are You Doing Now (America, America).” Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra cellist Mark Rodgers plays on “I Just Want to You To Come Home.” Jason Gibson plays drums on “What Are You Doing now,” “Always at Night,” “Music Makes Me Fly” and “The Roadhouse.”
Local opera singer Megan Wittig adds extra vocals and piano to “The Roadhouse” and “Music Makes Me Fly.” Steve Keenan adds a guitar solo to “Music Makes Me Fly.” Hippodrome saxophonist and Raymond music teacher Ryan Heseltine also plays sax on “The Roadhouse.”
“He sounds just like Eric Clapton on it. And he recorded his solo in two takes,” Wilson enthused.
“I recorded the core of the songs and hired specialists to come in and add what they thought the songs needed. I just let them do it. The Beatles used to record like that after they broke up. Songwriting is like painting that way. With digital recording, you can just erase a track and do it again. I decided that was the best possible thing for the songs,” said Wilson, a retired teacher and painter, who also painted the artwork featured on a couple of the videos for a couple of the songs. His paintings date back to the early 1990s when he took painting classes from Herb Hicks.
He noted some of the songs, like “Always At Night,” go back a few years.
“A broken heart in 1971 turned into a song in 1976 which I didn’t record until 2018. I started out playing folk music, but in the ’70s there wasn’t much interest in that,” he said.
“I started playing these songs just for fun and decided to see where they go,” he said, indicating a diary where he has carefully written all of the comments and thumbs up he has received on Facebook and YouTube about his music, especially on “I Just Want You to Come Home,” which has struck a chord with people.
“I’ve received comments from people in 42 countries for ‘I Just Want You To Come Home.’ It’s about grief and people really relate to that,” he said, adding the video for it has 2,500 hits. His favourite comment is “Beautiful,” from James Hood, a Top 3 Billboard charting songwriter who has played with the Pretenders and Jeff Beck. He has also received comments from Bruce Good of the Good Brothers, Christine Newland, principal cello of London (Ontario) Symphonia, who liked the cello playing and even Alannah Myles gave him a thumbs up.
He contacts a lot of people randomly through Facebook for their response.
“You just go through Facebook and find a picture of anybody with a guitar and send it to them and see what they think. And then they share it with their friends. We did a similar thing with Dory and the Weathermen when we recorded ‘Hit The Road Jack,’” he said, adding surprisingly he only received one negative comment from a person who wasn’t impressed by being contacted randomly.
He noted he has no illusions of becoming rich off steaming.
“Ed Sheeran got a like a billion streams, and he gets a tenth of a cent for each of them,” Wilson said.
“But he’s already famous and popular.” Wilson is also aiming for radio play. He noted CKUA played his protest song “What Are you Doing Now (America, America).”
He noted mainstream radio stations are programmed from major centres.
“But there’s always college and university radio.”
He has no plans to releases his songs in CD form unless there is a demand for them.