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Evan Cheadle
Photo: Hannah Ross

Evan Cheadle’s “Ice Water” Will Give You The Shivers

The laid back indie-folk songwriter will make you nostalgic for simpler times.

by Glenn Alderson

There’s a certain comfort that can be found in nostalgia and Victoria-based indie-folk songwriter Evan Cheadle has a knack for channeling this very feeling into his music in a unique and powerful way. His beautiful folk melodies strum and hum with an aesthetic that harkens back to simpler times while creating something refreshingly new in the process. A student of the pure analog production sounds of the 60s and 70s, his music reverberates through to the now with a modern day sound. 

Cheadle recently released a fantastic album called Fault Line Serenade, a collection of 12 well-crafted songs that were written in between several years of touring as a member of The Deep Dark Woods. The first video single from the album is “Ice Water,” a chilling and broken-hearted lullaby of love gone wrong. Shot in one take on 8mm film in Cheadle’s living room, surrounded by lush plants, collaborators David Parry (Loving) and Riley King capture the laid-back vibe of the song as Cheadle croons in his signature nasally falsetto. If you’re a fan of modern day folk heroes like Kurt Vile and Kevin Morby, take a sip of Cheadle’s new single. We guarantee it will quench your thirst. 

How would you describe your sound and approach to songwriting? 

From production to instrumentation I am guided by what gets me excited about music, which is all records from the 60s and 70s or older. I’d say it’s a trans-Atlantic blend of music from the British Isles with a myriad of North American influences, filtered through my own sensibilities and lyrical writing style that just might come from the Welsh in me. 

How did you get into writing and recording music? 

There’s a certain all-encompassing aspect to a song when it’s delivered just right that has always enthralled me. As a youngster, I fell head over heels for Bob Dylan’s music and from there I kept delving deeper into song forms and players, which launched me on a great trajectory. During my early music exploration, I was working at writing songs and studying how songs that I loved were structured, as well as how they were emotionally delivered. The best songs I’ve heard have laid a patchwork of wisdom that you’d be hard pressed to come by in our modern world. That goes for the recording process as well. I’ve never lost the excitement for the studio and the magic that can come from an inspired group of musicians crafting something together. 

What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

My parents have great taste in music. We listened to a lot of amazing soul albums. I most clearly remember Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin. As a teenager, I listened to all kinds of music and went through long periods of listening to and learning guitar off old records from Skip James & Rev Gary Davis to Bert Jansch & John Fahey. Those four are my big guitar influences; I did a lot of transposing off of their records. 

If you had to choose one person to go for dinner with, who would you choose: Bob Dylan, Neil Young or Harry Nilsson? 

I’d have to choose Harry Nilsson. He knew how to have a good time. I’d like to get on his level, and maybe not come home for a few days. 

The video has an undeniable old-time feel to it. How much of a role does nostalgia play into your songwriting?

You could call me nostalgic but I think songs are a distillation of the human condition and of a life lived, and our awareness of that condition dates back as far as we have written text. I listen almost exclusively to older music, but I think of music as one long continuum. Artists have always been influenced by what came before them, as am I.  And as much as I am inspired by artists from the past, I write about moments in my days that spark my imagination. 

What is life for you like in Victoria these days? What does an average day consist of?

Wake up, drink about 40 cups of coffee, listen to some records, pick some songs.  If the weather is right, I do field surveys for a wildlife biology firm I’ve been working for. Then I’ll come home, make dinner, maybe watch some dark horrible documentary, then hit the hay, have a couple nightmares, rinse and repeat. 

Any plans for any live streams or touring this summer once restrictions lift? 

There’s some tentative plans for sure, but it’s still a little up in the air. I’m doing a session for a video and music production crew here in Victoria called Chinatown Sessions, which is coming up soon and will be airing on July 3.