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Paper Lions a maritime pride

They’ve played everywhere from Vancouver to China, but this month Paper Lions are getting back to their Maritime roots.

The Charlottetown-based indie rock act will be performing at the Shivering Songs Festival right here in Fredericton this month, sharing the stage with luminaries such as Ron Sexsmith, Wintersleep and Thom Swift.

Originally formed as the Chucky Danger Band in 2004, Paper Lions have received acclaim for their unique brand of indie rock, winning the 2006 East Coast Music Award for Pop Recording of the Year, as well as nominations from the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards and the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

While their musical influences stretch from the Beatles and Beach Boys to modern east coast acts like Joel Plaskett, guitarist Colin Buchanan says that Paper Lions try to avoid being pigeonholed to one genre.

“There’s so many different nuances of pop and rock that fall under the [indie] umbrella, so we try to not get too bogged down in that sort of stuff,” he said. “We like melody and harmony, to sing and mix melodies, to hop onto different instruments. We just like to write stuff that we think is fun and catchy and represents who we are.”

When it comes to songwriting, such as with the band’s 2010 hit Lost the War, Buchanan said it’s very much a group effort.

“We might start with a chord progression, or a riff, maybe a scrap lyric, or just some sort of melody,” he said. “We take it to the studio and we start building around whatever that initial nugget might be. Sometimes it ends up cool, and sometimes it’s something completely different that doesn’t necessarily sound like us – but we try everything.”

Having just finished a tour last fall, Paper Lions are having some down time before beginning to write their next album. Their Fredericton show is a one-off, as they can easily pop over from their home in PEI.

Buchanan says that their days of long, arduous tours are behind them, citing one tour where their bus broke down six times before finally croaking just miles from home.

“We’ve been [touring] for a long time,” he said. “We know how long we can be away from our loved ones and families. We know our limits at this point.”

As for what fans can expect from their Shivering Songs performance, Buchanan promises a great time for their longtime fans.

“We’re always very high energy – we try to involve everybody. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we just like to have fun.”

Paper Lions will be performing as part of the Shivering Songs Festival with Wintersleep and Willie Stratton at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 25. The event will take place at the Boyce Farmer’s Market and tickets are available on the Shivering Songs website.

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