As the old saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end.’
A very good music story came to an end Sunday (Aug. 2) evening as the Fourth Well, the Halifax-based band with Antigonish County and StFX roots, wrapped up their roughly five-year run by opening for the legendary Steve Earle at the Riverfront Jubilee in New Glasgow.
The six-member band also played a late-night gig, later that night, also part of the Jubilee.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re pretty much locking up shop,” bassist Dillan Tate said following their early show at the Jubilee.
“It’s getting to a point where guys were trying to balance work, life … that’s mostly what it has come down to and you need everyone on the same page.”
Guitarist Josh MacGrath and drummer Daniel Fougere echoed Tate’s statements.
“Six separate lives, it’s hard to organize,” MacGrath said.
“Everyone had a different place in their lives set aside for music; where I want music to be in my life is different than …,” Fougere added, naming each of his soon-to-be former bandmates.
Joining the Stanfields
And while their Fourth Well days may be ending, for two members, Tate and violinist Calen Kinney, both Antigonish County natives, the musical journey will continue as the two have officially joined the successful Nova Scotia rock band the Stanfields.
“It’s all official, it’s on the books, we played our first legit gig with them last night (Aug. 1) in P.E.I., opening for Tom Cochrane and Matt Anderson, which was great,” Tate said.
“We’re getting ready to go full-tilt with those guys.
“They took us under their wing and now we’re kind of brothers-in-arms … it’s nice to see it come full-circle.”
Bailey’s Brook’s Kinney, along with MacGrath, joined the Fourth Well later in their run – in late 2013.
“It’s one of those things, as cheesy as it is to say, it’s a dream come true,” Kinney said.
“For Dillan and I, the Stanfields are a pretty important band in our lives. Coming into the music scene, when we first started, they’re one of those bands where we really appreciated their music but, outside of that, we were also very good friends with them.”
He added a tight bond is a big part of what the Stanfields are about.
“The Stanfields are known for that camaraderie in the group,” he said.
“The musician part for them was 50 per cent of it, the other part is they need to be able to get along … that can’t just have anyone playing with them. So, in that regard, it’s quite an honour to get that call.”
In talking about the dissolving of the Fourth Well, Kinney noted it’s completely on “amicable” terms with the guys remaining close friends.
“There is no animosity; we’re still best friends,” he said, noting they’ll still be talking music with each other.
MacGrath picked on the notion, adding seeing Tate and Kinney get the chance to move on with their music actually makes the break-up of the band a little easier to accept.
“Not only amicable I think it was almost prefect,” he said.
“At the end of the day, and I don’t want to speak for everyone, but there were six guys in the band and four of us were trying to balance careers outside of the band and the band itself. Calen and Dillan, they were the two guys who said music was ‘it’ – this is what they were going to do. The rest of us all wanted that, we had the same dream, but at the end of the day, we were trying to balance our careers with it whereas Calen and Dillan were focused on making it (music) their careers.
“And, as it turns out, as we collapsed they had the opportunity come in front of them to move from junior ‘A’ to the pro leagues (the Stanfields). We’ll all stay musically active – that’s the main thing. While maybe not in a formal setting for four of us, everyone is going to remain musically active.”
Tate also talked about continuing to bounce musical ideas off of each other.
“That’s the beauty of it … Calen and I are in a position if we have ideas, or these guys have ideas and we want to push them, we have a great outlet,” he said. “Tools which are at our disposal to use to push ideas a little further.”
MacGrath added that the fact it’s the Stanfields his former bandmates are moving onto is a big plus too.
“That helps with no animosity too because the Stanfields were so integral in what the Fourth Well was up to,” he said.
“It’s like; when the band breaks up you expect people to move in different directions musically, move on to new bands. And much like when you’re in a relationship where you were serious, you wonder ‘is the new person going to take care of them?’ Well there is no question of that so it’s easy to be excited for Calen and Dillan because not only do we love them, we love all the guys in the Stanfields, they’re awesome and it was the right place for them to go.”
Joining the interview a little late, lead vocalist and bodhrán player John Bennett talked about some of the highlights for the band noting there are “many” and the “list goes on-and-on.”
“The first time we went to Toronto was pretty wise,” Bennett said. “Out in the big open road, our first road trip of sorts. And just the camaraderie of the boys, it always struck through.
“It’s home … these fellows are brothers,” he said, gesturing around to his fellow bandmates.
“I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the old Ceilidh Trail tours we used to do … down in Inverness and that way,” Fougere added.
Asked about support from home, Tate and Bennett noted Antigonish town and county were always good to the band. Their performances in the area included sets at Piper’s Pub, the Split Crow, Music on Main and the Antigonish Highland Games, to name a few.
“There are a lot of people who had their hand in the Fourth Well starting out,” Tate said.
“It was a community effort pushing us forward,” Bennett added. “People did everything they could to push us along and we appreciated everything single thing that was done for us.”
Coming in just as the conversation was wrapping up, Josh Bennett, who played guitar, mandolin and sang back-up vocals, was asked if he wanted to add anything as the band was saying goodbye.
“I think these guys probably covered it,” Josh quipped, eliciting a chuckle from the other members.
And with that, the Fourth Well retreated to their Jubilee trailer to rest for their late night set. Their last gig.