PORT HAWKESBURY: A local band has released a new single off their new album and have plans for a performance in the town later this month.
Andre Pettipas and The Giants have released their new single “Sympathy Card” from their second album No Fools No Fun.
Pettipas explained that the album was supposed to be released last spring, but the global pandemic put the brakes on those plans.
“We’ve had this album tracked for about a year-and-a-half and were ready to release it in the spring,” Pettipas noted. “We’re supposed to be touring across Canada, we’re supposed to be in Japan showcasing but the world kind of got shut down so we delayed releasing the material but it seems like the world is not going to open up anytime soon and we’re just going to try and find a new way to promote it.”
As part of this promotion, Andre Pettipas and The Giants will be performing at the Carriage House in Port Hawkesbury on November 21, then in Halifax, Bridgewater, Truro, and some holiday gigs. Depending on how things go in the winter, Pettipas said they are considering playing in other parts of Atlantic Canada.
“It’s going to a small-seated venue, because it’s only allowed to fit 70,” Pettipas said of the Port Hawkesbury date. “We have to be safe, you have to follow the protocols, so we just try not to overcrowd a certain place and make sure we’re following the rules.”
Pettipas said the band is lucky to be in Nova Scotia, which is one of the few provinces in Canada allowing crowds of any size.
“All of the venues that we’ve played in so far have been great,” he said. “Everyone is distancing, masks are on.”
The song, which has been dubbed a throwback rocker, was produced by The Trews guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, who lent his guitar abilities on the track.
MacDonald met up with Pettipas at Canadian Music Week earlier in the year and they discussed working on a song together since The Trews are a huge musical influence on the band.
“These guys from our hometown actually made something from themselves,” Pettipas said. “They’re from just up the road and they’ve done really well for themselves; they’ve had a couple of number ones and travelled the world. It just gives you hope of being able to branch out from small communities. Your market might be smaller but your fan base more loyal than any you’d find.”
After sending a batch of demos, “Sympathy Card” stuck out to MacDonald. He heard a Credence Clearwater Revival meets Led Zeppelin vibe and wanted to simplify the song into a three chord song.
“This is the one he picked,” Pettipas said. “He’s got a great musical mind. We got there around 11 o’clock that morning and didn’t leave until 2 a.m. We finished off the last vocal takes in the morning, an hour after we had to leave.”
Dubbed by Pettipas as “a song about pointing the finger back at yourself and owning up to your own mistakes,” the single was mixed by Brian Moncarz (Alice Cooper, Our Lady Peace, The Tea Party), mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Green Day, Arctic Monkeys) and features the soulful backing vocals of Jessie Brown.
Recorded live off the floor in the fall of 2019 at Chalet Studio in Uxbridge, Ontario, this track brings a raw sense of what to expect from an AP and The Giants concert. The band set out to capture the emotion of their live show in a recording and with a little help from their friends (new and old) they did just that.
The band, consisting of brothers Andre and Travis Pettipas, along with long-time friends Mark Cosh and John MacDonald, made “Sympathy Card” the final track on the album.
Andre Pettipas said the band has improved on the production side of things.
“We’ve improved musically, but in the production sense too,” he stated. “We’ve been more aware of how listeners listen to songs, and for us, if we don’t like a song, we scrap it. There were probably 40 songs to pick and we figured out our top 13.”
The band has been together for five years, with members boasting between 10-20 years of musical experience.
Thus far Andre Pettipas and The Giants have achieved number one on East Coast Countdown with a “Long Way From Home,” featuring Ashley MacIsaac and The Swedish Motel.
They were also a 2016 Casino Nova Scotia Artist in Residence Finalist, as well as a Q104 Homegrown Champion in 2017.
In 2019, they were crowned champions of the Jim Beam National Talent Search.
As for tour highlights, the band opened for Meghan Trainor in 2016; they were showcased at Indie Week in 2017; they were showcased at Live at Heart, in Sweden back in 2018; then in 2019, they were showcased at Canadian Music Week. The band also toured across Canada for “The Swedish Motel” single release in 2018.
In this time on stage, Andre Pettipas and The Giants have shared the stage with Kim Mitchell, The Trews, Big Sugar, Sass Jordan, The Sheepdogs, One Bad Son, Monster Truck, Matt Mays, and Joel Plaskett.
Because of COVID-19, Pettipas added that the past summer was much slower, with the band playing only three performances, but now they are now rolling with the punches.
“As a musician you have to be on your toes all the time and I think that’s part of the thrill for me,” he added. “I like problem-solving so this COVID thing threw a major wrench in the plan, but I think it helped a lot of people come down to earth and focus on working together.”