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The Heavy Blinkers/Orwell

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Lush orchestral pop sensation the Heavy Blinkers began as a 1998 solo project titled Hooray for Everything by Halifax, Nova Scotia-based songwriter Jason MacIsaac. When it came time to perform the record in a live capacity, he required a full band to help him. He enlisted friends Andrew Watt, Trevor Forbes, and Ruth Minnikin, each of whom had contributed to the first Heavy Blinkers album as, respectively, keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist. MacIsaac borrowed another friend, Greg Fry, from local band the Holiday Snaps to sit in the drummer's chair. The album earned strong reviews throughout North America, and the live performances were equally well received, so the five-piece lineup decided to make the Heavy Blinkers an official band. They spent April 1999 in the recording studio recording the basic tracks for the second Heavy Blinkers opus. After months of overdubs and production touches, they emerged at the beginning of 2000 on Brobdingnagian Records with their self-titled sophomore release. A dramatic sonic progression from the first effort with most of the songwriting shared by MacIsaac and Watt, the album garnered raves, and the band played live dates in both Canada and the U.S. to promote it. Their 2002 follow-up, Better Weather, continued their heavily arranged Wilson/Bacharach leanings, with additional forays into jazz and Americana. In 2004, they released their fourth album, and first for their new label Endearing Records, the even lusher and more richly crafted The Night and I Are Still So Young. Soon after, the band began to go their separate ways, leaving only MacIsaac to carry on. After taking some time to work on other projects, he began work on the next Heavy Blinkers album with the help of multi-instrumentalist David Christensen (who had worked with him on the previous album) and new vocalists Jenn Grant and Melanie Stone. Something of a dark and moody concept album revolving around death, war, and unrequited love, Health was released in the summer of 2013.