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Interview:
Unplugging has been a triumph for Rik Emmett
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

It was 25 years go that Rik Emmett stepped out of the band Triumph and started his solo career with the album "Absolutely."

And he's confident his own identity has only grown and fortified during the time since.

"I've felt that way for a long time," says the Toronto-born Emmett, 61, who still resides in Ontario. "Let's be honest here. Why did I leave the band? Because I probably felt like I was more of a solo artist trapped in a situation where there was this business partnership -- arts and crafts by democratic committee.

"Somebody asked me the other day if I was motivated by wanting to prove something as a solo artist as opposed to being in a band. I said that the longer it runs, you're really, truly seeing who this person is, who this person even was. This evolution is happening because you're more relaxed in your own sink as an artist. I don't have anything to really prove other than what I want to try and accomplish as a writer. Any limitations I have are my own."

Emmett's creative dynamic, which has included some reunions with Triumph over the years, has also taken him in an acoustic direction. He and guitarist Dave Dunlop perform as the Strung-Out Troubadours and have released two albums, winning a pair of Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards in the process. Emmett was also nominated for a Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year for 2009's "Trifecta" with Pavlo and Oscar Lopez.

Emmett says that playing acoustically is "the more natural kind of thing for me the older I get. I think that's true of the audience, too. The graying of my audience makes them go, 'Yeah, I dunno about the snare drum on two and four hammered away at me for two hours. Can we have something more laid-back, perhaps?' I don't mind the fact."

Emmett, meanwhile, is working on new material -- he estimates he has 14 or 15 songs ready at the moment -- but has no timetable for an album. Triumph, for now, remains in active, though Emmett says "there's always chit-chat and talk. We're on very friendly terms now." The latest discussion is about a documentary, but the guitarist says, "There's no talk of touring or gigs. From time to time they decide to put something out on 180-gram vinyl. It's more the other guys than me, but I'm happy to participate and help make decisions when they ask."

Rik Emmett with Dave Dunlop

Saturday, June 13. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $25

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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