Jeremie Albino left the city of Toronto for a slower paced country life… only to return a decade later with a dream to make it in music. Finding a love for the raw passion of traditional folk and Americana music, he found his own sound by paying tribute to the legends who inspired him. Working on the farms of Prince Edward County, he learned to play instruments; first the harmonica before moving to guitar. On the off seasons, he was heading back to Toronto to make appearances at as many open-mic nights as he could. He soon found a manager and a label who believed in his vision for the soulful Americana music he was creating. Now, Albino is ready to share what he has been working on with the release of his debut album Hard Time.
The process of crafting Hard Time was his first time heading into a recording studio. After years of writing songs on his own, he had the chance to work with a team of professionals who would help shape the direction of the album. Albino’s organic talent and passion for Americana music shine through immediately, capturing the purity of the years of work he put in on his own.
“It’s just kind of a picture of my life,” says Albino of the finished album. “I think that’s what it is. Just stories that I’ve been writing for years.” Storytelling lies in the heart of his passion for the genre, with the album’s title track being inspired in part by his own personal experience with the ending of a relationship, as well as a scene from The Blues Brothers. Even the music video pays tribute to his father, as Albino plays the hardworking mechanic, looking back at every mistake he regrets.
Resonating with the authentic quality present in traditional folk and Americana, Albino pulled inspiration from some of his idols, “With the music, it’s honest in the songs they sing but also it’s honest in the performance. There’s no tricks really,” he says. “They’re just there on a guitar and it’s amazing. It’s just something I’ve always been drawn to.” With a hearty appreciation for the stripped back quality of the craft, he also looked forward to building on his sound with more musicians at his side.
Tracks like “Trouble” and “Storm” highlight the time he put into expanding on his vision, giving them fuller arrangements with a band behind him. “All of these songs had been written by myself, stomping my foot and playing the song on electric or acoustic guitar.” Albino says, “I had all these songs in my pocket and when it came to trying to put this record together, I started thinking it would be great to have a band too.” Grounded in authentic instrumentation, Albino focused on paying tribute to the simplistic yet sophisticated quality of the music of some his idols, Lightening Hopkins and Bob Dylan.
“The music that I’ve always connected with the most was that kind of just really raw, one person just telling a story,” says Albino. “When I was learning to play and all of the music I would listen to back in the day were all these old blues records where it just be one man on a guitar and telling a story.” Paying tribute to his original influences, he does his best to bring the magical quality of his influences that first drew him to Americana to his own music and performances.
“It was a lot of trial and error and it took a long time to work through everything. The thing that I loved about all these influences that I’ve had is that it’s so dynamic in the performances because there’s so many highs and lows and that pull you in,” says Albino. “Playing with the band takes time to get to the point where it’s really locked in and captivating.”
With his debut album out in the world, he will soon head out on the road to bring Hard Time to new audiences. “Playing live is one of my favorite things to do and the challenge is just trying to win people over that don’t know my music,” says Albino. He brings the original enthusiasm that first pushed him to record his songs to every live performance. You can catch Jeremie Albino opening for acts such as Maggie Koerner and St. Paul & The Broken Bones from September until the end of this year.