Central Alberta singer Ryan Langlois is raring to hit the West Stettler Park stage for the final installment of this year’s Entertainment in the Park series.
Having recently released the compelling new single Just a Word, the gifted and acclaimed vocalist performs Aug. 25.
Langlois is no stranger to accolades and recognition, having landed the ACMA for Group/Duo of the Year, Video of the Year and Songwriter of the Year during his stint with the Boom Chucka Boys. And as a solo artist, he’s been nominated for ACMAs in the Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year categories.
He was also part of the much sought after ‘Project Wild Country Artist Development Program’ in 2017 and the following year he landed second place in the program taking home $75,000.
From that program came the CD It Was a Song – released in May of 2019 which also netted an array of nominations.
Last November, he released his first Christmas single Glory Hallelujah and to top it off, he was nominated for Roots Artist and Video of the year in this past February’s Country Music Alberta awards.
”My most recent single, Just a Word, was written during COVID,” he explained, adding that besides the stresses of dealing with fallout from the pandemic, it proved a rather challenging time creatively.
“There was a lot of life stress, and that can rob you of creativity. But I did have a couple of wonderful stretches – where it was just flowing,” said Langlois, whose unique style has been described as country-rock and folk.
One of those times was the penning of Just a Word with fellow artist Hannah Gazso. “I met her years ago through my son, and she just blew my mind as a writer,” he explained. “For her age – it’s just astonishing.”
They chose a handful of words that would have different meanings to both, and went from there.
“We thought of ‘forever’ words – faith, fear and love. Things everyone has in one way or another. So the song is about the power of words, and how they shift and change with experience and time. It’s a tender song, and I haven’t done many of those in my recordings over the years,” he added with a laugh. “But it was just a joy to write and record.”
Not being able to hit the stage during the pandemic was hard, but it did offer a bit of a reprieve from what has been an exceptionally busy season in his life. “It was actually really rejuvenating for me,” he explained of just being able to step away from the hectic pace for a time.
“And as an artist, even when you aren’t tangibly busy on the road, you are always working.”
As to 2019’s It Was a Song, as mentioned,the project was created following his Project Wild experience.
The team actually launched pre-production the week after he won, and they headed into the studio in early 2019.
“I had this very specific vision for this big, kind of grand, full-band album. So the Project Wild grant allowed me to go into the studio and create this thing that was in my head.
“It was songs that I had written over a long period of time, and I am so proud of it. I truly believe that 20 years down the road it will still be relevant, and will still sound really good,” he explained. “The studio, for me, is the greatest creative outlet that I have ever had. I love to write and I love to perform, but there is something so incredible about going into a room with five or six other people, and taking this idea that you have, and watching it take shape and come to life.
“We captured what we wanted – it’s a moment in time. And I believe that it is, in its own way, timeless.”
Heath West handled the production duties. “He’s brilliant, and he’s one of my very best friends as well. He also allowed me to have a lot of input, which was super amazing, because I had never really had that before,” he said. “So that was a great joy, too.
“For me, music is the only thing in my life that I’ve ever found that fully fills my spirit,” he said. “It’s sort of undefinable. It just fills me in a way that nothing else does. It’s the thing I was born to do.”