Nfld. & Labrador·First Listen

Musician Kyle Gryphon was in isolation long before COVID-19 — and named his new album for it

Isolation is something the folk musician has grown to know over the past few years, calling it a theme of Newfoundland and Labrador. It's something he lives with every day, off the grid as a homesteader in Mobile on the Southern Shore.

Have a First Listen to Isolation by Kyle Gryphon

Kyle Gryphon, left, performs with his partner, Kady Meaney. Gryphon lives off the grid in Mobile, saying the isolation helped inspire his latest album. (O'Brien's Music/YouTube)

When musician Kyle Gryphon came up with the name for his latest album, Isolation, he had never even heard of COVID-19.

But it wasn't long after the album was ready to go that he had.

"We went to go send it off to get it pressed," he told CBC Radio's Weekend AM in a recent interview. "And as it was coming back, it was actually held up in customs because of the COVID.

"I don't know if it was a good coincidence or a bad coincidence that the album already happened to be named Isolation, and it got trapped in isolation on the way over."

Isolation is something the folk musician has grown to know over the past few years, calling it a theme of Newfoundland and Labrador. It's something he lives with every day, off the grid as a homesteader in Mobile on the Southern Shore.

"I'm pretty much tucked away in isolation pretty much all the time," he said.

"Up here, I could literally play music, do whatever you want until X in the morning. It's almost like you can take the clock off the wall…. The sun is the only thing that you can tell if it's day. When you're here and you don't have to leave, that's the best part."

LISTEN| Kyle Gryphon chats to Weekend AM about his new album:

Paula Gale speaks with Kyle Gryphon about his debut album, Isolation 24:05

Living the homestead life

Living off the grid does come with challenges for a musician, like trying to find enough electricity to record an album.

"I've had experience with recording with analog gear. But it takes so much power that I couldn't do it on an off-grid setting," Gryphon said.

"I pretty much had all the songs, and I just wanted to get out off the house enough to go do something. So my friend Chris Hamlyn, from Secret East Media, he gave me a gracious hand on helping me record the album. 'Cause I don't know much about recording with computers."

Folk musician Kyle Gryphon came up with the title of his newest album, Isolation, months before the beginning of the pandemic. (Kyle Gryphon/Bandcamp)

In his spare time, Gryphon spends time caring for his six chickens, which he calls some of the toughest birds on the Southern Shore, after a scrap with a hawk in their coop.

"I heard the screams, then I ran outside and actually discovered the hawk is being bludgeoned by six chickens," he said. "One chicken was on the hawk, and there was two chickens jumping up on it almost like Mario, jumping really high and jumping right back down on it."

He wrestled the hawk away so it wouldn't hurt itself or the chickens, he said.

"It had me trapped in a little tiny wrestling cage with a full-size hawk," he said, laughing.

"I've seen him circling around since … and he won't bother going in the coop anymore. He knows."

Do you have a new album of music that Weekend AM should know about for First Listen? Email us, wam@cbc.ca, and tell us about it. 

You can hear First Listen on Sundays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in Labrador) on CBC Radio One.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Kennedy works for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.

With files from Weekend AM

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