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U.K. singer-songwriter’s latest single celebrates Langford, late friend

Nate Silas plans to donate proceeds to The Compassionate Friends

The first single by a fellow living in the U.K. is inspired by memories made on the playgrounds of Langford and halls of the old Belmont school.

Specifically, singer/songwriter Nate Silas wrote “Wandering Lunacy” about a friend, after learning of her death. Now living in the U.K., he holds fond memories of Langford, which was home from age four through his mid-20s.

West Shore residents may be able to peg the place he took the cover photo for “Wandering Lunacy.”

His first band, joined around age 13, had a pop punk vibe, think Blink 182. When that folded a few of them formed a second band – Rock and Roll Circus or RRC – that performed classic rock covers of bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles right through their teen years at the old Belmont secondary. They played the former Waterwheel Pub and Glen Lake Inn, watering holes that no longer exist.

“We were good, but we were playing other people’s music,” he said in an interview from his home in London.

Silas stepped away from music while studying languages at the University of Victoria. Then in one of those voids of life where one is uncertain about the future, he followed a partner to England. That relationship ended, but he stayed, working as a teacher and exploring his new country.

That’s when music made a return.

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With a background as a bass player – not the most effective solo instrument – he picked up an acoustic guitar. Silas found himself writing songs.

“These stories are inspired by books I read, landscapes of places I visit and people I meet along the way,” Silas said. “Most of my songs are composed on acoustic guitar but I like to incorporate a variety of different sounds into my music to help create an atmosphere for the listener.”

After working with mentor singer/songwriter Polly Scattergood for some time and unwavering support from his wife Daisy, Silas launches the single “Wandering Lunacy” on Jan. 19.

It’s a new version of a song that sprung six years ago, titled after an old friend’s email address and penned in the days after Silas learned of her death the year before.

“I couldn’t believe how acutely I felt the loss. I wanted to create something in her memory. Shaunah was a remarkable person when we were teenagers. Her superb 1970s thrift shop fashion sense was the envy of her peers.”

The song came in that awkward gap at the end of the year, when classes are out for winter break. England is like Greater Victoria, dark and wet with lingering dark nights.

“The ground was fertile for writing that song,” he said.

With a newly recorded version this August, produced by Glenn Kerrigan for the single, musically the tune has made a shift but the “lyrics hold the same rawness of the newness of loss of a friend,” Silas said.

“My lyrics describe a real person from my life but I feel the themes of love and loss are universally relatable.”

A fan of Dallas Green, inspirations lie in the work of City and Colour – specifically “Body in a Box,” with its uptempo energy while dealing in something as deep and potentially dire as grief.

With the approval of Shaunah’s family, Silas will donate proceeds from the single to the international charity The Compassionate Friends which offers support to grieving parents around the world.

“It’s a meaningful group. It resonated with me,” Silas said. “I’m not a parent yet, but I do think that the grief of losing a parent or a grandparent, that’s obviously tremendous as well, but you accept that we we will outlive our elders.

“A parent losing a child … something is out of order.”

Silas plans to release at least one other single early this year and targets an EP by his birthday on April 30.

Presave Wandering Lunacy here.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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