Arts·Following Folk

After bandmate Koady Chaisson passed away, The East Pointers find comfort in music

The band layered tracks previously recorded with Koady into their Juno-nominated album House of Dreams. Discover the artists redefining folk music in new CBC Arts series Following Folk.

The band layered tracks previously recorded with Koady into their Juno-nominated album House of Dreams

Streaming now on CBC Gem, Following Folk takes us on a journey to discover the artists who are redefining folk music today. Featuring in-depth interviews and intimate performances, this series is a treat for all music lovers.

"Before Koad passed away it was like the best we've ever seen him — mentally and physically," says The East Pointers' Tim Chaisson.

In January of 2022, his cousin and fellow member of The East Pointers Koady Chaisson passed away from a previously unknown health condition. As a driving force in the band, and as a friend and as family, his loss weighs heavily. But Koady's spirit is still felt significantly in their music and in their community.

"He was definitely the driving force behind the band," says band member Jake Charron. "We all were in it together, but a lot of the success we had is because of Koad's ambition. He'd be spending an extra two hours in the studio trying to write the next song. He put everything into it."

"I think that's keeping me going with the band — all of these ideas that we developed with Koady that we still want to share, that Koady still would want to share with everybody."

In this episode of Following Folk, band members Tim Chaisson and Jake Charron beautifully speak of their friend and band mate, discuss how a foundational part of the band has always been mental health and working through difficult times, and swim in freezing cold water — something Koady liked to do.

Tim and Jake also work on a new version of their song "Stronger Than You Know," which was written with Koady and also appears on their Juno-nominated album House of Dreams. The abum features tracks recorded with Koady before he passed away — including a banjo track heard in this episode. The episode culminates with a performance of the song for their community in Charlottetown.

"Stronger Than You Know" was written after a big storm where Koady thought his house on a cliff was going to blow down. Tim Chaisson says that the next day they were talking about that as a metaphor for "digging deeper when the times are tough" and weathering the storm. "We just pictured that winter storm on the east coast."

Three fiddle players gather around a man at a piano and play music together.
Tim Chaisson (centre left) and his family playing music together. (CBC Arts)
Koady and are first cousins and we have a big family. For some reason the tradition fiddle music really stuck. Eight generations apparently of fiddle players. With all 50-some first cousins, I think everyone can either sing or dance or play fiddle. We pulled Jake into the fold.- Tim Chaisson
A man in a toque swims in water amid ice.
The East Pointer's Jake Charron swimming amid the ice, something band member Koady Chaisson liked to do and found helped him. (CBC Arts)
I think there were a few years there where Koady gave the band credit for saving his life. And he put everything into the band because that was the thing he thought saved his life. It was pretty cool this last year I think he realized that it wasn't the band that saved him — he did it.- Jake Charron

Follow The East Pointers at @theeastpointers on Instagram. Stream Following Folk now on CBC Gem.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now