Some go bad. Others turn to drink. Many fall in love. Taiwan can do funny things to expats. While living here last year, Canadian singer/songwriter Shayne Lazarowich penned the sincere and down-to-earth Dance Until the Moon Falls Down.
Although it is a personal love song, “it is also about being here in Taiwan, all the beautiful things that I was blessed with, people I’ve known ... as well as many regrets, things that should have been ... things I should have, or should not have done. But that is life, here or anywhere else.” Lazarowich says. “There ain’t no turning back. In the end you’re just left with the choice to love or not to love. I think it’s always important to try to choose love.”
Come away with me tonight, my love
I’ve got nowhere to hide and I’ve
swallowed my pride
I’ll tell you everything that I’ve ever
I was wrong, but come along, let me
sing you a song
and we’ll dance until the moon falls
These sentiments are much like those on his album Spirit, with its blend of blues, folk and country-influenced songs that are reminiscent of a bygone era but sung in an incredibly powerful, emotive voice.
Lazarowich is back on tour after a year in his hometown of Saskatoon and will be playing his final shows tonight and tomorrow in Taipei.
“I was only back here for a day and I realized why and how much I miss and love this place,” says Lazarowich who learned guitar as a child at his uncle’s knee and as a result was strongly influenced by blues and folk music. “He was from the Bob Dylan generation, which is a time that sometimes I wish I could have been born into,” Lazarowich says of his uncle.
Lazarowich may be new to many in Taipei as he lived in Kaohsiung County for seven years, during which time he performed primarily in southern Taiwan.
He says that while Taiwanese audiences may not always understand his lyrics, “they are not as loud and drunk as foreigners, and are really attentive.” Lazarowich also has “a Chinese song or two” but says “that’s what I mean about spirit. If you can feel it, you can dig it. It’s our spirit that makes us human, makes us real. It’s not about language or religion, it’s about a person’s essence.”
While on an early morning shoot for Spirit with photographer Steven Vigar, he ran into a group of Tibetan monks outside of a temple near Alian Township (阿蓮鄉), Kaohsiung County, which influenced the album’s name.
“It was a really special moment. Some things transcend cultural boundaries, or nations, or what we do for a living, like spirit, like music,” he says. The monks stopped to watch him play, and he was touched when he noticed that some of them “started clapping and moving their feet.”
Lazarowich plays VU Live House tonight with Sons of Homer, who are perhaps more appreciative of a “loud and drunk” crowd, with songs like Good, Good Lovin’ HDAU, which is about “doggie-style sex.” “My intention with the song ... is to completely shock the listener into fits of ‘I can’t believe he just says that!’” says lead singer Brandon Thompson. Like Ween, Sons of Homer play a range of styles, from rock and country to reggae, funk, and soul, with a rocking, energetic show dominated by Thompson’s exuberance.
Pat Reid from the Black Lung Inner City Choir will harmonize with Lazarowich, and The Dana Wylie Band will also be performing tonight.
Tomorrow Lazarowich’s show at Bliss features Tyler Dakin and the Long Naked Bottles. The group does a “roots interpretation of country, R’n’B and ska,” says Dakin. With Russell Picard using brushes on drums, and Roger Smith of The Moneyshot Horns on keyboards, the music has a spacey, down-home appeal.
— ALITA RICKARDS
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