Wade Fehr's Of Ghosts and Graveyards: The Complete and Unabridged Story

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

-By Scott Roos


Prince Albert folkster Wade Fehr’s sophomore outing, Of Ghosts and Graveyards, is a bluesy affair. Recorded at the home studio of local music impressario Joel Rohs, Fehr's latest, at times, is a mixed bag stylistically, but the overarching theme holds true. It’s a “Halloween” e.p. - spooky but also enlightening. It’s also chock full of high end musicianship from a collective of friends and musical peers and even in some cases talented family members of Fehr. Here, in his own, and their own, words is the complete story of the making of the e.p. Call it a companion piece. Call it liner notes. But, as you work through each track, read what these talented artists and musicians have to say about their process to gain insight into how this brilliant concept work came to be.


Part 1


“My last record I had an instrumental to start it off and kinda set a tone I guess. I wanted something for this record and I just love that piece so much I thought why don’t we try it on the piano. I have a piano at home so I worked it out and knew it was going to sound good. I tried laying down the track in the studio but I’m not a piano player so we had someone come in and lay it down for me.” - Wade Fehr


I was in with Joel (Rohs at his studio) to lay the scratch for my (new) album and he asked me to record the keys part for one of Wade’s tunes. I appreciate what Wade has to say as an artist and a parent, and a member of my community. I also think us ‘little guys’ need to stick together. It takes a lot of risk to put yourself out there as a songwriter. I think it’s easier to take the jump if you know your community is going to catch you,” -Kayleigh Skomorowski (piano)


Valley Is My Grave


“One of the two songs I played the jazz brushes on! I’ve been slowly learning how to play this style of music for a couple of years now thanks to Wade Fehr!” -Zachary Kerr (drums)


“Me and my wife (TanMarie) have been singing together since we were dating. It’s not something we necessarily do all the time. She has a great voice and she always knows my songs. So when I was going to the studio with this song she just said I have to do some harmonies on this chorus and she could kind of hear them ahead of time kind of thing.” -Wade Fehr


“We are always working on music from sun up to sun down.It’s a constant in our house. We collaborate on everything. He’s always running new stuff by me. We have songs in the works that we have written together as well.” -TanMarie Fehr


“My son Chord didn’t play on my last record but he played with me at a couple of shows and I know what he can do with the bass clarinet and knew he would be perfect.” - Wade Fehr


“It’s really fun because I’m just always having a good time playing music with my dad. We wrote my part together. Sometimes I got nervous, but it was all worth it in the end to be a part of it.”

- Chord Fehr (bass clarinet)


“We double tracked Chord’s parts to thicken it up a bit. Wade also played a wicked solo on his 1940's archtop he had just restored.” -Joel Rohs (producer)


“Last winter Wade and his Dad brought over the old archtop guitar that belonged to Wade's grandfather, which was in very rough shape and asked if I could repair it, which I did.” - Pete Laflamme


Scarecrow


“We read a lot of stories to our kids. Storytime is always big at bedtime and one of my favourites is called “the lonely scarecrow” . It's about this scarecrow that’s lonely in the field. All the animals are scared of him but when the snow comes winter he turns into the jolly snowman because he’s covered in snow and all the animals are friendly to him and enjoy being around him and then when the snow melts he’s scared they are all going to leave but they realize it’s the same guy as the snowman so happy ending where everybody gets along which inspired me to write this song of what if the animals left again and he kinda lost it.” - Wade Fehr


“Musically, I had been listening to a lot of Ben Powell who is a dobro style guitar player down in California who is just a small town player who plays bars all the time but I love his sound. He really inspired the guitar work on this track The harmonica came in the studio. We wanted to keep it simple enough that it wasn’t too far away from the way I play it live with the guitar that kick drum and kick drum that I use but make it a bigger sound for the recording so we threw in the harmonica and it fit so well.” - Wade Fehr


“This is probably the only tune on the release Wade didn't let me alter too much. That being said, he had it all figured out pretty well perfectly before we even started recording. My favourite part of the album is the electric guitar on this track.” - Joel Rohs


St. Louis Blues


“It was probably ten years ago that I wrote this song and I’m pretty sure it was this time of year: October. I was just trying to think of what would be a good theme for a song and it just hit me ‘why haven't i thought of that before. The St. Louis ghost light. It's a perfect idea for a song ’. The sound just came because I kinda had that sound in my head I guess when I went and saw it for the first time. Just a dark, gloomy and uneasy feeling.


(The first time I saw the St. Louis Ghost light)I might have been 19 or 20. Somewhere in there. I think I have only made the trip once but I saw it when I went. It doesn’t always show up but I saw it.” -Wade Fehr


“This is the other track I used jazz brushes on. This one was a challenge, but lots of fun. Such a mix of light and heavy playing I offered to the song. After a couple takes, I finally had a specific pattern down, but I had to focus hard due to playing triplet like patterns on the snare while clicking the hi hat on the 2 and 4 of every bar as well as hitting the kick on the 1 of every bar. This would be the heaviest song I play using jazz brushes. Dynamics were everywhere for me on this track, and loved it.” - Zachary Kerr (drums)


Excellent brushwork on this tune by Zachary Kerr. He played all the percussion/kit on the album. Zach and I have played this one live with wade a few times so it came together pretty quick. -Joel Rohs


The Reaper


This was a song I always played acoustically but when I brought it to Joel at the studio I played it for him and he said, ‘ya this can go one or two ways.’ That’s what I had in mind going in, we either go electric and rock this thing out like ZZ Top or we go acoustic, But I laid down the vocals and the scratch track and Joel had a little bit fun with some electric guitar and had the drummer in there and sent me kinda where the sound was going and and I said ‘yup, let’s go in that direction for sure. It was way to much fun not to’” -Wade Fehr


“What I will say is I’m a metalhead more than anything, so besides loving complicated beats and playing fast, I love to play heavy, with control of course. This blues rock tune got a taste of my heavy hitting style! The dynamics in this song were a lot of fun. I hope to play this one live with Wade Fehr at some point when live music picks up again.” -Zachary Kerr (drums)


“We had a load of fun recording this tune. I don't think it's what Wade had planned it all but I think we're both happy with the outcome of it.” -Joel Rohs


The troublesome tale of...


“It’s a song I’ve been working on for probably five years. This song is over the top spaghetti western.” -Wade Fehr


“This is actually my favourite off his E.P All I’m gonna say is my favourite part from my playing is the snare roll. The rest is just laid back, playing for the song, that sort of deal. Wade’s a great musician, has songs that hit the heart, he’s kind and humble, and I’m very happy to have played drums on his EP! ” -Zachary Kerr (drums)


“Wade had a great vision for this song, with the intro and outro. We we're fortunate to have Pete Laflamme play some guitar in both the intro and outro, along with trumpet by Scott Roos. Wade's acoustic (also built by Laflamme) sounds fantastic on this tune as well. A great ender.” -Joe Rohs


“I got an email from Joel asking if I could play on the track. I had kind of been feeling a little down due to Covid. So it took me a while to get off my butt, learn the part, and head over to Joel’s to lay it down. It took me about 15 mins to play the part. I’m glad I got to be a part of this whole thing. It sort of woke me from a musical slumber. ” -Scott Roos (trumpet)


“Wade and Joel wanted a nylon string guitar on that track and asked me to play the intro. Very quick and easy; as they knew exactly what they wanted. Dropped by Joel's studio and was in and out in 20 minutes. I am very impressed with Wade as an artist. He has a winning combination of integrity, work ethic and genuine artistic ability. ” -Pete Laflamme (guitar)

“Wade's super awesome to work with. I think it helps being the second time around also ( I produced/recorded/played on his 2019 release as well). We've grown fairly comfortable with each other in the studio setting which usually means Wade agreeing to my crazy ideas, but I think it worked out really well this time.” -Joel Rohs



- photos by Scott Roos

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