Not Guilty was recorded in early June 2013, over a six-day period, at The Hip's Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario. Bathouse engineers Aaron Holmberg and Nyles Spencer recorded and mixed the album, which was produced by Langlois. According to Langlois it was a far different experience for The Tragically Hip guitarist to record than was his first solo effort Fix This Head.
Why was the experience so different?
‚ÄúWell, for one thing," says Langlois, "I recorded this one with a band instead of all by myself. It was a lot more fun to make because of that ‚Äì better playing, more energy, more laughs doing it, lots of creative help and ideas from all of them.‚Äù
So, who‚Äôs in the band?
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre all good friends of mine. Mauro Sepe played drums ‚Äì we grew up together (since the age of 5) and we still hang out when we can. Jeff Montgomery played bass ‚Äì he and I are pretty tight, and I also produced his album Songs From The Middle a few years back. And, Rob Baker played guitar ‚Äì obviously Robbie and I have been close friends for 30 years, inside and outside of The Hip. He was also very encouraging when I was recording my first solo project. So much so that when I decided I wanted to record another album, he was a natural choice for me ‚Äì and thankfully he said yes!"
And, as the saying goes, it was done ‚Äòlive off the floor‚Äô:
‚ÄúIt seemed to be the most natural and the most true, fun way for us to go. We‚Äôd all learned the songs pretty well beforehand, and we felt good about that going in. Once we were set-up with some good sounds, we rolled through the tunes and picked the best takes. We started recording on a Monday, and by Thursday we had finished the basic band tracks and were moving onto a few overdubs. Kept it all pretty simple!‚Äù
On first listen, a few of the highlights on the album are the hard-driving "Watching You", a slow-burning song called "Waiting On My Train" and the album's title track "Not Guilty", a rocker that seems to tell the story of some kind of tragic bar fight.
The song "Table‚Äôs Been Set" was inspired by Paul going permanently deaf in his right ear on the morning of December 9, 2011. Sudden hearing loss is a very rare condition that is not in any way related to repeated exposure to loud music.
Has that been a difficult adjustment?
‚ÄúSorry, I didn‚Äôt quite hear the question.‚Äù
Will there be a tour? Any live shows?
‚ÄúYeah, I didn‚Äôt tour at all on my first album, so I was pretty determined to set up some kind of tour with this one. And, the guys in the band were into it too. So, we‚Äôre going to do it. We‚Äôll be in pretty small to medium-sized clubs, from east to west, coast to coast across Canada, from mid-November until mid-December."
"I‚Äôm bringing Greg Ball and his band to play at all of the shows. Greg's on my Ching Music record label, which put out his most recent album, Mr Rightplace. I may be a little biased, because I produced it, but I think it‚Äôs really good! Greg‚Äôs a great songwriter and he‚Äôs got a lot of other cool tunes, and I know they‚Äôll put on a great show."
"We‚Äôre also going to have a singer-songwriter from Australia, Pete Murray, join us on the road. He does really well in Australia and a lot of other countries. He also just happens to be friends with Jeff Montgomery, and Pete wants to get out and play some shows in Canada."
"We know we‚Äôre all going to have a blast for that month of shows, and we‚Äôre going to try to make sure the audience does too!"