Life will throw you curve balls - things zooming at you from directions you'd never expect. It's those things that will knock you off kilter or possibly change your life for good, leaving you in need of guidance, direction, something to light the way. It's with that thought in mind that multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearn came up with the title for his forthcoming third album, "Nightlight."
"The title symbolizes the hope and guidance we draw on to help us through tough times," Hearn comments. He speaks from a huge experience, naturally, one that shaped his life completely and called upon every last reserve of hope he had.
Hearn was working with his bandmates in the Barenaked Ladies on the recording of their multi-platinum album "Stunt" in 1998 when he started to have pains and experienced rapid weight loss. Upon completion of the recording process, Kevin flew home for a complete check-up. He was immediately hospitalized and diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, a form of blood cancer.
As "Stunt" was released, Kevin prepared for a bone marrow transplant. He stayed at the H-Wing of the Princess Margaret Hospital, where he fought for his life and began writing what would become his second album, "H-Wing." The album is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, transcending desperate situations, and dealing with one's mortality.
Now completely cancer-free for a number of years, and wanting to put that chapter in his life behind him, Hearn knew that he would make the new album, "Nightlight," lighter in tone, with a "life goes on" mentality streaming throughout its twelve tracks. He called upon the help of his solo backing band, Thin Buckle, to help him achieve this. With Derek Orford (guitar), Chris Gartner (bass), and Great Bob Scott (drums) adding their musicianship and chops to the mix, "Nightlight" became a poignant, captivating, musical ode to hope and light.
Music has always been a part of Kevin Hearn's existence. The Toronto native says, "I cannot remember a time when I was not fascinated by music and those who created it." Studying at St. Michael's choir school afforded Kevin a background in classical piano, guitar, theory, history, improvisation and singing. Immediately after high school, Kevin joined the infamous Look People, a Toronto performance art band that combined energetic, challenging musical arrangements with nursery rhyme lyrics. After six years with the Look People, Kevin exited and subsequently toured with the comedy troupe, Corky and the Juice Pigs. Additionally, he recorded two albums with the Canadian alternative favorites, The Rheostatics. He also performed comedy/music shows with comedian Harland Williams.
An out of the blue encounter in 1995 with Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart changed everything for Kevin Hearn. As founding member Andrew Creeggan was leaving the band, Kevin was asked if he would join The Ladies as their keyboardist and guitarist for a summer tour. He ended up staying quite a bit longer than that, and subsequently became a full-time member shortly thereafter.
During rare moments of time off, in 1997, Kevin was able to record and release his first solo album, "Mothball Mint." And while the BNL album "Stunt" was skyrocketing up the charts in 1998, Kevin fought and won the battle against leukemia and recorded and released "H-Wing." After two very difficult years, Kevin was able to start getting back to his life. A changed man, he joined his band mates to record the Barenaked Ladies' next studio albums, "Maroon" and "Everything To Everyone." Hearn also composed music for Maurice Sendak's ("Where the Wild Things Are") children's television show, "Seven Little Monsters."
And he recorded "Nightlight" with Thin Buckle. He now brings his beacon of hope to listeners everywhere with his new album. Let "Nightlight" shine for all to see (and hear).