It makes perfect sense for Scott Gossen to hold his vinyl release party on February 24 at Niagara Oast House Brewers. After all, the collection of 10 original songs, credited to his solo music persona Go Son, is entitled February.
The Eden High School graduate wrote the wistful, reflective lyrics and laid down guitar parts in the loft behind his house in Virgil last February. The owner of a lawn care business and father of three kids, now 14, 10 and 8 years old, took the time that month to get back to creating original music after having put the pursuit aside for many years while concentrating on raising his family and his business.
“I came up here every single day,” remembers Gossen of February, 2023. “I didn’t have much work to do for the business, so I recorded a ton of songs. I took them to my friend Derek Elliotson in St. Catharines. He has a great studio, he played the drums and the keyboards and mixed it all together.”
Gossen describes his sound as chill, with heartfelt, introspective lyrics drawing from his own life experiences. The songs are nostalgic, reflecting upon simpler times as well as friends loved and lost and family members no longer with him.
To a gentle acoustic guitar rhythm on opening track Reaching, he recalls hanging out in a friend’s basement, remembers a girl named Marcy who liked to hang out with the boys, and laments about Dave, whose demons Gossen wished he could have helped with.
There’s a 1970s AM radio feel to Used To, with Gossen fiddling with a $50 stylophone that he bought off of Amazon. Raised is his lament about the effects of social media and other influences on a younger generation.
“You learn it like it’s free,” he sings, “who you want to be, it’s so uncanny, not worth a penny.”
Stop Thinking, the first track on side two, is a reminder to himself to stop worrying about the outcomes that he never saw come to light.
“Time to move on, stop staring at the sun and pick up right where I belong,” sings Gossen.
Gossen’s style and lyrical bent reflect his indie folk influences. He credits singer-songwriters such as M. Ward, Michael Nau, Jonathan Wilson, Andy Schauf and Damien Jurado as some of his favourites..
The 41-year-old Gossen fell in love with music at 11 years old, when he began playing the drums. A year later he switched to guitar after his father taught him a few chords. That began a lifelong journey of writing and recording his own music.
He eschewed post-secondary education to help his Dad with the lawn care business, continuing to pursue music while playing in cover bands at places like The Hideaway and the Merchant Ale House in St. Catharines.
In his 20s, Gossen connected with a producer out of Montreal and released two CDs under the name of Scott Normandy, a nod to his grandfather. The Concordian said at the time that his 2007 record My Future My Past boasted “honest lyrics and catchy hook choruses tightly wrapped in pristine pop/rock folk. Just think John Mayer minus the ego”.
He and his wife Brun started their family right around the time Gossen took over his father’s company, and he put music further to the side, other than contributing as both Scott Gossen and Scott Normandy to the soundtrack for the film The Angel Inn, directed by NOTL’s Kirk Schriefer.
Now he’s back, and he’s bouncing with excitement. His loft, a former peach packing shed, is lined wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with music equipment and he has an impressive array of guitar effects pedals that bring a beaming smile to his face.
He has more music in the works, too. He has a single called To You ready to hit streaming services in a couple of weeks as well as a full album of songs with a band yet to be named.
“It’s really spurred on my desire to write, record and complete things,” he says of that month in the loft last February. “Some of these songs I’ve had kicking around for years and years. I’m finally finishing them up.”
After he and Elliotson wrapped February, Gossen uploaded the songs to Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services and had 50 albums pressed on white vinyl. Now he’s itching to get them into the hands of listeners.
For the gig at Oast, he has assembled a band featuring Evan Wiens, who designed February’s album cover, on bass, drummer Al Campopiano and Joel Durksen on rhythm guitar. Durksen will do a short solo set at 7:00 PM before the full band runs through all 10 songs from the new record.
“I’m not selling the records,” Gossen adds. “I’m giving them away. If you come to the show and you want one, grab a vinyl. If there comes a time that I can start selling stuff I will. But right now I just want people to have it, to enjoy it.”
Admission to the all ages vinyl release party, in the Oast Hayloft, is free, as well.