With the help of some music industry heavy weights, Sand Point, Guysborough County native and former St. F.X. student, Andrea England, has released her second CD.
England, based out of Toronto, is following up 2005’s Lemonade with Hope and Other Sins which was released in June.
She credits the late Richard Bell, a key board player who was a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and played with such legendary musicians as Janis Joplin and the Band, with introducing her to noted Canadian musician and record producer Colin Linden.
The meeting took place in Woodstock, New York where Linden was performing in the Levon Helm and the Midnight Ramble Show.
“At the time he [Linden] asked me about making another album which sparked my interest,” England told the Casket during a telephone interview last week.
“That was like five years ago and I was so busy writing for other people at the time, the timing just wasn’t right for me,” she said. “That was until about a year and a half ago. In the fall  I contacted Colin and asked him if he was still interested. I sent him some demos and he said he was in. So we started recording in March of last year in Nashville and we finished the recording process probably mid-June  and mixed over the summer.”
England added the finishing up details, due to prior work commitments of different people working on the record as well as varied locations, took some time but that she “wasn’t in any great hurry.”
“I had waited seven years so a few more months didn’t hurt,” England said.
She said early feedback has been “fantastic’ with positive reviews and good early sale numbers.
In talking about a few of the songs on the CD, England noted The Thought of You, the first selection on the CD, is the first release. England described the song as an up-tempo tune fitting for the summer months.
She said Laundry is another song receiving a strong reception.
“It’s a ballad that is getting a lot of attention,” she said.
Trying is a song described as being semi-autobiographical. England talked about writing and performing personal pieces.
“Nothing is ever 100 percent autobiographical but I definitely drew upon my Maritime roots, things that have happened to friends and family there and to me personally,” she said about the song.
“I’m emphatic and sensitive to others’ feelings so I hope I get it right and characterize the situation in an empathetic way,” she added. “It’s not telling stories for the sake of telling them, it’s more healing through story telling… bringing life to issues and so forth. That song means a lot to me and the reaction has been really good. I think if you handle something with care, it can be received with care.”
Overall the CD is described as an eclectic collection of styles with the term “roots meet pop” used in one review.
England, who has written songs for former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and popular TV shows such as Dawson’s Creek and Party of Five, talked about her different writing styles.
“When I record for myself, I try to make my songs as honest as possible,” she said. “That’s the only reason I do it, to try and be honest and that is translated into a musical journey.
“When I write the pop stuff, and I love pop music too, if I’m writing a song I’m going to pitch to some big pop star, that writing process doesn’t have to be as organic. You’re not making their record you’re just putting across the song itself.”
England said she grew up in Sand Point listening to “old school” country music like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline as well as Nova Scotians Carroll Baker and Anne Murray. She enjoyed listening to local radio stations and noted how CJFX (now XFM), in particular, influenced her varied musical styles with their wide ranging play list.
“They had a real combination of pop music and roots,” she said. “You could be listening to Madonna one minute and to John Allan Cameron the next. That was the primary radio station I grew up with, it and CIGO (now the Hawk), and they always had a real combination of pop, roots, folk, country and traditional Celtic music which you can kind of hear in my music a bit. So I definitely would attribute my varied musical roots to listening to that radio station.”
More on England and her new CD, Hope and Other Sins, can be found on her website www.andreaengland.com.