Port Cities’ Carleton Stone excited for ‘hometown’ show

ROCKDALE: A local member of the group Port Cities said he is glad to return to the stage.

On June 18, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Bear Head Conference Room will be hosting the award-winning and chart-topping group, and member Carleton Stone – whose family has deep roots in Richmond County – is excited.

“Both of my parent’s families are from Richmond County. Grew up in Sydney, but spent a lot of time up here, and now I live outside of St. Peter’s,” he stated. “I’m sure there’ll be lots of friends and family around. It’s pretty much as hometown as we get, as far as venues go.”

Stone explained that his father’s family is from St. Peter’s and his mother (who was a Frost) is from Grand Anse.

Last year after gigs were cancelled and “life shut-down” due to the global pandemic, Stone moved to Rockdale.

“It seemed like a good time to come be secluded, do some writing and recording, and now definitely looking forward to getting back to normal,” he noted. “I just kind of upgraded my studio and was writing songs on Zoom with people from all over North America, basically. Producing stuff, just trying to stay sane and make the most of the down time.”

After recording three albums as a solo artist, Stone joined forces with musicians Dylan Guthro and Breagh McKinnon to form Port Cities, whose 2018 break-out hit “Montreal” put them on the map.

“It definitely helped raise our profile in a more serious way, especially in Quebec, obviously,” he stated. “We weren’t planning that, we just wrote that song, and were like, ‘this sounds like a nice song.’ Obviously, it got picked up by a bunch of radio stations in Montreal and people were requesting it.”

The end of 2019 marked the amicable departure of McKinnon, who was a founding member.

Stone describes Port Cities as a live band that tried to build positive word of mouth through their shows, but after “Montreal,” they started attracting people who were fans of the hit song.

“We all met as song writers, so I feel like that was always the basis of our relationship, and I think what we all identified with the most,” he noted. “We all just keep that spirit alive, and we all still collaborate with each other, and collaborate with other people. It’s just the nature of our relationship since the beginning.”

Stone noted that Port Cities played at the legion in Antigonish on April 10,

“It was all socially distanced, everyone at tables, but besides that, it felt pretty normal. You can’t go meet everyone after the show, like we usually would, shake hands,” he recalled. “It felt half normal, we were all on stage. People were really excited to be there, you could tell everyone was so happy to be seeing live music again. We were so happy to be performing live music again. It’ll be the same menu in Port Hawkesbury, hopefully.”

While they have performed in the Strait area, and have plans for more performances in and around the region, Stone said they have no plans for any major tours.

“There’s definitely going to be some shows around the east coast,” he noted. “We have a new single that’s going to be mixed and coming out some time in the next few months, but no big international tours in the works, for the time being. We’re just taking it a month at a time.”

Stone said Port Cities recently recorded a new single “Parachute,” and are considering when it will be released.

“We’re always writing four or five days a week, and we all have our own studio, so we’re just writing songs all the time. That’ll probably be the order for the next six to 18 months,” he said. “Everyone just consumes music by a single song now anyway, and we’re all so busy doing other stuff at the same time. I think we’re just more, ‘hey, we wrote a great song, let’s put one song out, and if we write another great one next month, put that one out, and then we’ll figure out everything else later.”

Tickets can be purchased by calling 902-625-2591.