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Home » Rock n Rolla

Casual smoker takes time to remember good and bad

Submitted by on November 20, 2011 – 4:29 pmNo Comment

When I asked Ben Caplan during the Southern Ontario stop on the Canadian leg of his recent tour, how it’s been going since his new album came out, his response was curt: “I’ve been touring like a mother fucker!”

Seated across from the Halifax product at Supermarket pub in downtown Toronto on a mild mid-November day, the heavy tour schedule – “since September first,he adds, emphatically – doesn’t seem to have taken its toll on the vivacious Maritimer.

Since returning from a European tour, Caplan and his band, The Casual Smokers, have kicked off the release of In the Time of the Great Remembering on Oct. 20 with a performance at Halifax Pop Explosion in Nova Scotia.

They’ve been on the road since. This month alone the band plays 12 gigs, a schedule that demands a certain can-do attitude – something Caplan said served as one of the underlying themes of his new record.

“This album is about remembering what we go through and dealing with the things we do. I thought the title was relative to every song,” he said, explaining the album.

“It’s about reflecting on how it went down and what it all means. When I first heard the phrase, it occurred to me that I strongly believe that humankind in general is in a time of great remembering. It’s in a time of great forgetting, of our relationship with the earth and civilization.”

Caplan said the inspiration for In the Time of the Great Remembering came in many and myriad forms – some deriving from past experiences and some metaphorical with created characters and fictional plots.

“Some of the songs are definitely autobiographical, very personal, like “Drift Apart” is clearly about a past relationship that ended and wondering what the fuck happened. Whereas others, like “Southbound,” are imagined scenarios that make you think,” said Caplan, a pint of dark ale moving from his hand to bearded lip.

“Down to the River” recounts the fictional tale of a man who has lost all hope, but when he decides to drown himself, realizes in his last breath the sanctity of life.

“What I had in mind writing that tune was a guy who’s just burdened by the act of living, and decides to throw it away with bricks tied to his feet. In that moment, while he’s drowning in the river, he finally realizes taking his last breath how precious it really is, and he finally embraces life before fading away.”

While serious in theme, the tune, much like the album, is set to an upbeat rhythm. Much like the album, its creator – an ex-philosophy major with a Socrates-like beard – is positive and embodies a hedonistic outlook on life, even in the face of adversity.

Story by Devin Size

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