Local singer, songwriter and actor Taylor Abrahamse is returning to Peterborough for a show at the Black Horse on April 21, to promote his new album ‘Live in Lockdown Vol. 1,’ which aims to support small businesses in the area and across North America.
Several businesses are featured at the end of the album, in what Abrahamse hopes to become a new trend among artists to help combat monopolies and give small businesses a fighting chance.
“I actually have some small businesses from as far away as Florida, but I did put most of my focus on the Peterborough area,” he said. “So, I’ve got Klusterfork, which provides improv comedy classes and workshops. I have the Black Horse, naturally. Then there’s a custom table company, Pinehill Tables, as well.”
Businesses contributed a small investment to have an advertisement played on the album, noted Abrahamse. Those in the higher tiers also had jingles created for their business, he added.
Abrahamse came up with this idea after Silverthorn Studios, which he and a friend had successfully run since 2016, was torn down in the spring of 2022 when their landlord suddenly decided to sell the building.
“My life savings were tied up in it for many years and we had always planned to purchase the property once we were able, but then COVID happened and prices doubled,” he said.
The pair looked to investors for help, and actually raised the additional funds needed to offer their landlord $1.5 million for the property, only to lose to another offer.
“The landlords went with a different offer that was actually a little bit worse in a lot of ways, which caused the destruction of a whole creative community and really shook our lives up,” he said.
Abrahamse decided to find a positive spin, and started looking into the root cause of these kinds of tragedies.
“To me, it seemed like the root cause was monopolies, in whatever form. Whether it’s giant corporations buying up buildings away from hard-working people, with bullying offers and things like that,” he said. “Or whether it’s a small business just wanting to do their own thing that gets pushed out by a mega corporation that opens up next door.”
With these similarities in mind, Abrahamse buckled down at Silverthorn Studios and recorded more than 120 mostly original songs, before they were forced to close their doors.
Two of the songs are about the experience of dealing with realtors and landlords, explained Abrahamse.
“But most were kind of just songs in my back catalog that I always wanted to record at the studio,” he said.
Abrahamse has also made an agreement with Toronto venue Hugh’s Room Live to secure funds to buy an old Toronto church and to build Silverthorn Studios back as part of a non-profit arts and performance centre.
The songs on the new album cross multiple genres, depending on what a particular song calls for, Abrahamse noted.
“I’d say I’m like a crossbreed of Paul Simon, Michael Jackson, and Jim Carrey all smushed together,” he said.
The release show at the Black Horse will run from 5 pm to 8 pm
“It’s pay-what-you-can at the door, though you’re encouraged to give about $10. Then, with your contribution, you get a download code that can be used for the album on Bandcamp,” he said. “Bandcamp is the small business, in the field of digital streaming, and they really support independent artists.”
The album can be preordered at Abrahamse’s Bandcamp page. His website is taylorabrahamse.ca.
“I’ll make sure everyone has a blast. Peterborough has really helped keep me sane, after the losses I’ve had,” he said. “So, I just want to give back, say thanks, and celebrate Peterborough. That’s really what the show is about.”
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