Ian Foster
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Ian Foster

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | SELF

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos




“Excellent…anyone who enjoys good songwriting and performance should enjoy The Evening Light”
--Keith Collier - The Independent

"Best Kept Secret"

“Ian Foster is Canada’s best kept secret.”

-Gianni Zuretti - Mescalina (Italy)

"A Keeper"

“Spread the word – Ian Foster is a good’un…a lovely discovery for me. The Evening Light is a keeper. Check it out.”
--Les Siemieniuk
- Penguin Eggs

"Reason to take Notice"

When an artist makes enormous progress in the quality of their work from one recording to the next, one is likely to take notice and pay attention. Certainly one ought to and Ian Foster is a prime example of such an accomplishment.
He raised the bar substantially on the follow up to his 2006 debut, "Through The Wires" with "Room In the City" released in 2008. I was immediately struck by his growth as a singer/songwriter/musician displaying genuine promise with his various skills and the quality therein.

Already a proven talent and still in his twenties, Foster's route as an emerging artist has seen him pass thought the labyrinth and onto a clear trail propelled by his narrative skills.

Imagistic and reflective to the point of examination, Foster is a romantic indeed. But his growth as a writer has birthed degrees of poignancy. His use of metaphor is astute, a ponderous writer whose curiosity produces realizations smattered with whimsy and emotional yearnings. In the face of loss, a significant theme, he is part pensive and part philosophical. Indeed Foster is very perspective, and there is much sober soul-searching upon which his poetic lyrics are unveiled. But when circumstances appear dire, an injection of optimism pours forth. Some songs are like inspired eulogies.

Musically Foster also continues to expand his compositions, his sensibilities and dexterity evident by the use of viola, cello, violin and piano. The simple and lovely third release, "We Begin Here" is a fine example: mostly guitar/piano driven rounded out superbly with delightful cello on four songs, harmonica and a smattering of strings.

Furthermore, a predominantly instrumental album, "Found: Music From The Unmade Film", released in 2009 enhances his repertoire. Shades of Mark Knopfler's film compositions come to mind, and generally the work of a young Bruce Cockburn in the early 1970's permeates his best work to date.

Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne... all great, legendary songwriters started with an idea to express, a story to tell, a song to sing. As the great master, Bob Dylan once said, "an artist is always in a state of becoming." Ian Foster continues his journey.

For those who appreciate, embrace and applaud artistic quality, commitment, drive, and the fruits of a laborious creative process, Ian Foster is reason to take notice.
- Tony Plougman, Fred's Records

"An Amazing Album"

“Straightforward, pure, and deeply emotional without ever verging on sappiness…an amazing album.” –Karla Hayward, The Telegram - The Telegram

"Confidently crafted"

“Confidently crafted, romantic and reaching in its stories” –Stephanie Porter, The Independent - The Independent

""A Stayer""

“This is a man who has all the potential to become a stayer in the music scene. Soon he might earn his own spot next too his own idols Ron Sexsmith, Josh Ritter and Ryan Adams, where–according to us–he blongs.”–Valsam, Rootstime Magazine (Belgium) - Rootstime, Belgium

"Deserves to be heard"

“Room In The City is an album that deserves to be heard and appreciated.”–Kevin Kelly, The Newfoundland Herald - The Newfoundland Herald

"From "The Newfoundland Herald""

Consistency of Sound
After working the local club scene, The Ian Foster Band ready to release new CD

by Kevin Kelly

Ian Foster loves songwriting. The St. John’s native has been plying his songs with his band, The Ian Foster Band for over three years, playing gigs to both full bars and empty ones. He was He’s assembled other local songwriters together for shows in the past and he is very much a thinking man’s rocker, tackling issues within his songs on occasion.
Joined by Derm Carberry (drums), Allan Locke (bass and harmonies), and Kurt Moyst (electric guitar), the band is ready to hit the next level of their career.
Their new album, Through The Wires, will be released soon and it’s an album that is very much a band project.
“They're all stellar musicians, and without their talents and time, this record would not have been possible,” Foster admits over a downtown coffee.
The 12-song CD (which includes the hidden track, Stop Bringin’ Me Down)was co-produced by Foster and Carberry, while Carberry and Moyst engineered the project. The album is expected in stores by next month.
“His expertise made it what it is in terms of quality and performance,” Foster says of Carberry’s production skills.
Most of the album was recorded at Wavelight Productions, with some work being done at Raindrop Recording, The Music Box, and Record Time Productions.
Now that the album is completed, Foster is looking forward to seeing how fans will respond to the “new” songs, some of which he has been performing since the beginning of his career.
“Frames is a really old song,” he says, stating he actually wrote it while working with another band. “This Silence was the newest, as it fits nicely with the rest of the record. It’s one of my favourites, actually.”
The band has been chosen for an upcoming showcase at the MUSIC NL conference in Stephenville in November, the second time the group has showcased (they also showcased in 2004).
Foster says the main difference this time around for their showcase gig is that they will have an actual album to promote, giving the band a real focus to make an impact with industry watchers.
He’ already earned accolades for his songwriting, as he was named a finalist in the International Songwriting Contest three years ago.
He likes to call himself a singer/songwriter, because like most bands, The Ian Foster Band they are hard to label as just rock or pop. Foster also likes that term for another reason.
“When you call yourself a singer/songwriter, there tends to be more of a focus on lyrics,” Foster says. “That’s something personally I love to focus on.”
Foster’s musical influences are diverse. His political songs could have been influenced by one his favourite bands, U2. He mentions albums like Achtung Baby and Zooropa as influences on his new album, as it deals with communication and the breakdown of that communication.
“The theme of the record is of distance,” Foster states. “Distance from a lover, distance from yourself, and kind of dealing with that.”
But the rockers from Ireland aren’t his only influence at play. He also mentions a lot of Canadian songwriters during our interview, people such as Matthew Good, Sarah Slean, Daniel Lanois and Ron Sexsmith, songwriters that delve deep to come up with their unique musical identity. Foster likes to follow that mode and isn’t afraid to tackle big themes. They come into play in songs such as Urban Sprawl and Physical Space, the latter inspired by a Milan Kudera novel called Immortality.
“The album contains a kind of cautious optimism about the future,” he states.
The songs on the album range from an acoustic feel to all out rock. A tune like Soul conjures up Dave Matthews comparisons while Get It Back is an all out rocker.
When you hear Foster speak, you can sense that his music is like his own type of literature, where the song is his own creative expression.
“Literature is a huge inspiration for me,” he says. “I was an English major at university, and I read a lot and I found novelists who’ve been a real influence for me, whether Kudera, Salman Rushdie or Robertson Davies. Some of the themes I’ve taken from these novels, and developed them in a completely different fashion.”
It may be philosphical, but The Ian Foster Band hope that “thinking man’s rock” will make an impact with local music fans.
One of the songs on the album, Consistency of Sound could almost be a rallying cry for the group’s music.
Take your passion, take your strength up in song
Or just like beauty, they will very soon be gone.
For Ian Foster and his bandmates, those are words to live by in the intricate world of the music business. - Kevin Kelly

"Room in the City"

“Ian Foster’s Room in the City is an accomplished collection of songs about dark nights in bright places, long drives and longer conversations. Some astute observations (”A Lesson in Geography”), melodic sensibilities (”If the Weather Holds”), and cool delivery (”Sodium”) should get this Canadian singer-songwriter noticed.”

- Rock N' Reel Magazine, UK

"Review: Room in the City"

“Beautifully accented by strings, piano, and at times, the less than common sounds of marimba, glockenspiel, and xylophone, the album tugs at the heart strings…I know everyone and their dog says, “there’s a little something for everyone” but this is one of those albums where I believe it to be true.” - On Reel Magazine (East Coast Canada)

"Review: Room in the City"

“Teeming with folk, rock, and blues flavors, this album is brilliantly produced…Room In The City is by far one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year. Creative, dark, rocky, and altogether brilliant, this record has a little of everything. - The Muse

"Review from Italy: Room in the City"

from Roots Highway (Italy)

By: Gianni Zuretti

How much I love this country, Canada! Such a cold land for its climate, majestic for its natural splendors and so warm for the quality of its singers, which, for almost half a century, follow each other, great and small, each of them having in common a sensibility and fine taste that has become legendary. Ian Foster, author and singer, short story and poetry writer…confirms that rule and proposes a second most interesting CD.

Foster, multi-instrumentalist (except for the rhythmical part he plays everything, glockenspiel included), with his delicate smokey voice (recalls Tim Hardin) gives us warm melodies that are as comforting as a cashmere sweater, melodies included in songs that jump from “A Lesson In Geography” ‘s folk, to the acoustic blues of the fascinating “No Fool For You,” Foster is able to unexpectedly change the course of its songs; to make them pleasantly disorienting at the end, and that’s the reason why Room in the city is a well varied disc; captivating and flawless. I’m referring to “Sodium,” which almost starts like a Tom Waits song, dark and spoiled, and evolves until it becomes a musical piece with lots of orchestral arrangements. Then to the lazy minimalism of “If The Weather Holds,” Jack Johnson style. Then there is “Berlin,” an evocative song that makes you shiver, and is supported by the beautiful Melanie O’Brien’s soprano voice; finally the fascinating and electrical dancing song Without a Mark almost seems to be written by Cohen, except for the very Springsteenian refrain.

A small contribution to the disk from the legendary Ron Hynes, co-author and second voice on the hidden track which closes the album, Decisions, a folk song like few we can hear nowadays. Obviously the CD is a bit difficult to find, but thanks to the deserving Cdbaby, everything is easier to find and the hunting becomes an almost-too-easy game. Folk lovers -music signed with pop and blues that gets its inspiration from Ron Sexmith, Josh Ritter, etc.- be advised: Room In The City is a wealthy room filled with surprises, waiting to be opened, and to pass that frontier will allow you to meet a character which we will surely hear about in the future. With 2008 almost over, to me, it’s the men’s folk disc of the year. - Rootshighway

"A Serious Songwriter, and a Seriously Good One"

Ian Foster is a serious songwriter and a seriously good one, having cut his teeth
on the local folk and pop music scene. A storyteller and character sketch lyricist,
comparisons can be drawn with David Gray, Hayden, Conor Oberst, and pioneers
of the sub genre like Jackson Browne and Paul Simon. A talent to watch for.
- Fred's Records


The Evening Light (2011)
We Begin Here (2009)
Found: Music From the Unmade Film (2009)
Room in the City (2008)
Through the Wires (2006)



Ian Foster is familiar with the cycle of a song. Since 2006, the Newfoundland-based songwriter has been writing, recording and touring his work around Canada and Europe. His latest release, The Evening Light, showcases songs inspired by the road, and by an examination of home that can only be made from the distance of travel.

His music combines many of the classic elements of folk songwriting and storytelling with newer approaches to the genre. His albums contain a mix of traditional instruments (banjo, upright bass, accordion, violin and cello all appear on his newest release) and modern instruments and effects. He regularly plays both electric and acoustic live, making tasteful use of looping and delay effects to create a bigger sound than one would expect from a solo player.

A road warrior, Ian spends about half of every year playing shows, festivals, and conferences abroad, and regular shows all year long in his home province. His music has been played on radio internationally, from Newfoundland to the Netherlands. He has been nominated for multiple MusicNL (Newfoundland) and ECMA (East Coast Music Awards) over the last few years (including SOCAN Songwriter of the Year), and has been a finalist in the ISC (International Songwriting Competition), based out of Nashville, TN. He also has numerous co-writing credits, including one with the legendary folk songwriter Ron Hynes.
One can expect a dynamic live show, with regular stories interspersed throughout a set, adding a level of insight into the songs that can only come from an "in the flesh" performance.

Popular to fans and critics alike, Ian's music resonates. Glenn Meisner, long time producer at CBC Radio in Halifax has this to say: "Ian is special - There are those special things about he and his music that you cannot quite put your finger on - hard to express qualities that allow him to creep into your consciousness and superimpose his imagination on yours - rare qualities that separate the wheat from the chaff in this business." Tony Ploughman, chief music purchaser at Fred's Records in St. John's, notes, "For those who appreciate, embrace and applaud artistic quality, commitment, drive, and the fruits of a laborious creative process, Ian Foster is reason to take notice.”