In our ongoing series, we check in with some of the artists performing at the East Coast Music Awards Breakout Stage at the Seahorse Tavern on May 5. Featuring some of “the most promising emerging and developing artists from around Atlantic Canada,” this is the perfect opportunity to discover your next favourite artist.
In this edition, we learn more about folk/country and outlaw country funk artist RG Schaller and his band, the Peacemakers.
This interview has been edited.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Richard Gordon Schaller, but I prefer RG because it’s shorter and separates my music from my home life. A fun little fact is that I failed English in high school because I wrote poetry and short stories in class and ignored the lessons.
How do you describe your music?
We all come from many musical styles and somehow blend them into folk/country and outlaw country funk. Envision Leonard Cohen meets Bobby Womack meets Waylon Jennings set to a pumping 70’s country bass line and beat. That’s RG & the Peacemakers.
How did you get into making music?
I learned to play guitar at a boarding house in my early 20s and started taking old poems, which became songs made of stories. I have lived in Montreal, Calgary, Boston, and Halifax and am currently in Cape Breton.
Everything I write has a personal truth buried somehow within it. I write from my own or observed experiences. I have made some bad choices with good people and have lots to draw from, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the context.
I front and play with the best band on the planet, very experienced road dogs that have become my friends, the Peacemakers consisting of Ben Young, Chuck Smith, Eric Marcotte, Ian Macintyre and myself.
What are you working on musically right now? Do you have a new album?
The songs for a third album are complete. Naturally, I am biased, but I think it is my best work musically, thanks to the Peacemakers and producer Mike Sheppy Shepherd, an award-winning sound engineer and producer at Lakewind Sound. He sees potential in everyone and encourages and lifts them. I believe a song or two on this album may turn some heads. The first single will be a track called Long Gone Daddy Gone, it is playful yet dangerous, and the band kills it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Our goal for the next little while is festivals and award shows and to continue doing what we do, which is playing new and exciting events where the audience is willing (insert Little Feet song of the same name here, if ya know ya know). I also want to align myself with like-minded people who believe in and feel our sound.
What was the best advice someone gave you when starting as a musician?
I often get discouraged, like we all sometimes do, and I think back to my mother’s words about not giving up or being overwhelmed. In particular, she said, “find one person in the room that is tapping their fingers or toes to your music, and play for that person.” So I have taken that and have applied it to day-to-day life. When doubting yourself, second-guessing, or anxious, remember that someone in your life believes you can do anything and looks to you for your strength. Trust in that and conquer your fear.