James Favron, Life in Verse.
“The hardest part of being an artist is being alive...” Meet James. James to me is somebody who’s been doing this long before he was even doing this. I was surprised when he told me that the first time he heard his (singing) voice played back to him was in 2011. Because along with the standard criteria that makes James a singer-songwriter, he possesses the soul of a troubadour. One who is right now serenading some heavy truth to the balcony. Then cracking a dad joke. (#dadjokeswithjames) “I feel like, as an artist I’ve been given a really special platform to say things that people might actually listen to and I say what I believe in.” I had the pleasure of watching James perform at Silversmith Brewery in Virgil a couple weeks ago. I went with my sister whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and it was a chance for us to catch up. But it was also a chance for our ears to take in some new music. After a few sips of our ciders, we shifted our focus from each other to the artist propped in the corner. He introduced himself. Pause. He briefly explained the song he was about to play and with that a loud brewery settled to a listening audience. “There are 2 kinds of audiences. I’m very fortunate to have a pretty easy time connecting to my audience in a performance environment. I get people, so talking to and connecting with a group of them in a room is easy, and fun! The audience I struggle with is the day to day audience of the world. The billion+ folks on facebook, instagram, spotify and all of the other social media platforms that could be at the next show if they knew about it. I’m not a big ‘internet friends’ person so this is somewhere I’m working to learn how to navigate better for sure!” Who doesn't struggle with the vastness of the internet despite all of its advantages? The world as we know it is digital. But I would argue that the more we squeeze into ones and zeros, the more precious the tangible becomes. Like going to a concert. No live-feed video will ever replace the feeling of your boots on the vibrating floor. “The absolute best part of being an artist is the moments of connection with people. Nothing is more exhilarating for me than being up on stage, telling a story or singing a song and having a room full of people who feel like this moment is about them, or us, understanding each other better.” James and his wife Victoria are parents to three beautiful boys ages 5, 3 and 1. And along with the day-to-day efforts of raising a family, the Favrons seem to make a point of keeping creativity at the top of their list. (Check out Victoria’s clothing line Roaming Mama.) But creativity is messy. It’s an un-straight line. It can’t often be scheduled-in like a trip to the gym and the inspiration for the best songs often come at the worst times (in my experience.) So I asked James, why. Why do you do it?
“I make music because without doing this, I’d be another empty shell wandering through the days until I finally became useful as compost. Art takes my life from a pointless killing of time, to a creative adventure of connection and experiencing what it means to LIVE.” Part 2 Of all places I met James at the birth of his third son. Actually, that’s not true. I serendipitously met him and his family one month prior to that at a pumpkin patch.
Around that time I was working with midwives as an assistant at home-births. I got the call one hot October day around lunchtime and flew in my car to the house. I climbed the stairs on which two little boys were playing with their auntie. I entered the bedroom where our client had already endured 15 or so hours of labour. I quietly greeted the couple and realized that I knew them. I saw a guitar on the wall and felt not only in the company of like-minded souls, but also ready to share a pretty special life moment with them too. The birth of a song and the birth of a person have many parallels, weaving their spiralled path outward to lay in the newness of the world. Then what? What hands reach for them? Who and what will they become? “... I feel like being an artist, and being all of the other things in my life that I’m responsible to be, is like living two lives at once. I want to encourage humanity, raise my kids to be respectful and kind, be spiritually balanced, bring peace and light to the world. But sometimes the artist in me wants to set fire to society and turn the sounds of the burning buildings into songs.” James is not afraid to tackle the heavy topics and not that he goes searching for them, I think he simply wants to shed light on what’s being left out. Because there in an old church-turned-brewery he sang a song about what it might feel like to be transgender; at first uncomfortable in your own skin then ultimately stepping into your true identity. Some people have a way of just putting it out there and James is one of them. We can thank him for that. So while the troubadours of the Middle Ages sang their poetry in pursuit of love, James’ music seems to be in pursuit of understanding.
“Telling stories, encouraging love, empathy, kindness, and making people laugh and feel for 30-40 minutes, that the world is a beautiful place is what keeps me going!”
You can catch James perform live on CBC television on Sunday April 7th as part of the Easter Seals Telethon. The organization works to provide opportunities for children and teens with physical disabilities.
James, how do you carry an amplifier?
"Always use two hands. haha!"