Fortunate Ones show a maturation well beyond their career age on the successor to their award winning debut, Hold Fast
The term hold fast, while commonly associated with nautical terminology, is a universal language to weather the storm. Hold on. Keep breathing.
For Andrew O’Brien and Catherine Allan, the fantastic duo known to fans and audiences as Fortunate Ones, Hold Fast is not only the name of their long-awaited sophomore album, but a mantra to stay true to their goals and aspirations.
Relief & Anxiety
Catching up with The Herald after touching down from a lengthy tour with Captain Newfoundland himself, Alan Doyle, O’Brien and Allan express their excitement and admitted nervousness ahead of the release of the long-awaited successor to their nationally adored, The Bliss.
“It’s an interesting combination of feelings,” says O’Brien. “One is excitement and an element of excited nervousness to finally be able to share this full thing that we’ve been working on for a year. To be able to share that with people is a really profound feeling. It’s also, in a way, a bit of relief. You let the inertia of the thing take over and you can step back and in a way it’s no longer yours, it’s everyone’s now. There’s a duality to that, a relief and an anxiety. The relief for me is seeing the end of this particular chapter, and now a new chapter begins with it being out in the world and sharing this with people. It’s pretty cool.
“The response has been really positive. Really on the tour with Alan is when we started digging in and play these new songs,” Allan adds. “The reaction was really awesome, especially because we were playing for his fans, essentially, and hoping they’d also like us.”
Growing Little Seedlings
For The Bliss, Allan admits to being less than her full creative self, with a mixture of nerves and inexperience to blame. On Hold Fast, the now seasoned industry vet puts both feet forward in style, resulting in a noticeably more cohesive and polished sound.
“The last record I was thrilled to be a part of, but it was almost like I didn’t have the confidence to really be the performer and writer that I could be,” Allan says. “It sort of feels like, on this record, I tried to step up into the role I believed I could have. I have to say, it adds a level of investment, a whole new level for me, to be able to see the ideas and songs as little seedlings and watch them grow. It’s really fulfilling.”
Sonically and thematically, Hold Fast furthers Fortunate One’s reputation for crafting slick and addictive folk tunes with a modern twist.
“I think typically the songs are dealing with scenarios and situations that everyone can relate to, whether it’s the passage of time, concerns about where you are and where you’ve been and are going in your life and relationships,” O’Brien says. “For us, the title track specifically is about maintaining a vision and perspective on goals and hopes you have for yourself and bring true to those in the face of uncertainty or conflict or trial. These are not new topics in music, but it’s certainly our spin on them. It’s themes we have dealt with before, but now we’re dealing with them as people who have lived three and a half years from the last record. Perspective can change from day to day, week to week and year to year. I think our perspectives have both broadened and ideally matured in that time.”
As for special guests, the list of notable names attached reads like a proverbial who’s who of Newfoundland’s greats. The likes of Doyle, Hey Rosetta!’s Tim Baker and Repartee’s Meg Warren all lend their talents to Hold Fast. “Never underestimate the power of relentless texting, emailing and begging,” O’Brien laughs. “It really really does work.”
“This record we had more confidence to collaborate with people, bring people in and make it a little bigger than the last record,” Allan adds. “It added a little more interest for us, having so many special pals come in and record on the album. It’s a more collaborative album.”
Hold Fast is the physical embodiment of the growth O’Brien and Allan have made as both professionals, personalities and individuals. They have goals and are determined and steadfast in achieving them.
“Any record is a snapshot of time, where we were when we recorded it, who we were and what we were trying to say,” O’Brien says. “I think that message is not static, it’s always evolving. I’m sure Hold Fast will take on different meanings as we go out and tour it for the next couple of years. For us we’re really proud of it. I think we stretched ourselves a lot more than we did on the first record. The Bliss had a purpose and we believe that it served it and we’re really proud of it for sure. But this record we wanted to take more chances and be a little more bold. I feel like it’s going to be a metamorphosis and that’s what any artist would want. Any type of laurel that you might have, you don’t want to be resting on that. It’s about growth and exploration and hopefully our audience will feel compelled to grow and explore with it.”
Hold Fast is available everywhere now. For tour dates and more on Fortunate Ones visit fortunateones.ca