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Niagara-on-the-Lake musician Avalon Tassonyi talks new album, connecting with nature and social responsibility – St. Catharines Standard

‘I like to make people think and stimulate them’ with music, says Tassonyi

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By Zahraa Hmood

Wed., March 30, 20223 min. read

Born and raised in Toronto, singer-songwriter Avalon Tassonyi recently spent the last decade living in Montreal before relocating to their maternal family's peach farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

As humans, everyone has an individual obligation to address the myriad of issues plaguing our world today, says Avalon Tassonyi.

A singer-songwriter based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Tassonyi said they hesitate to label themselves as “political” — but, like many of the folk musicians they admire from the ‘60s and ‘70s, they often feel compelled to say something that makes listeners think deeply, whether it’s about climate change, war, the music industry, or life itself.

“I just feel a sense of responsibility,” they said. “We all share a tiny piece of that collective responsibility.”

That desire toward action, along with a connection to nature, to love and friendship, exploring authenticity, and more are the emotional forces behind Tassonyi’s new self-titled album, out March 25.

The album is Tassonyi’s latest full-length record since “Dreamt,” released in 2018 under their solo project name Inland Island.

This self-titled album is a more intimate portrait of Tassonyi as an artist, often following in the footsteps of musical inspirations such as Joni Mitchell, John Prine and Neil Young.

“I think my music overall is pretty positive-sounding,” they said. “I like to make people think and stimulate them … It’s cool when music does that.”

Born and raised in Toronto, Tassonyi recently spent a decade living in Montréal, but in mid-2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Today, Tassonyi lives on the peach farm near the lake, which their grandparents bought after they immigrated to Canada from Hungary. It’s the place Tassonyi’s mother grew up in.

“We spent a lot of time there,” they said, as they visited the farm as a child with their family during the weekends. “It’s the closest thing to home that I know.”

This new record, which has been three years in the making, traverses through a number of sounds and emotions: some songs are calm and reflective, like “Outside,” “Green Light” or “What Love Is;” others, more poignant, like “Morning Song” or “Stillness of the Night.”

“Peace Time,” a standout track from the album for its storytelling, is about reframing the way we look at war and different eras of our history, past or present, as being without violence and disruption to people or the planet.

“Climate change is the pervasive issue that’s sort of underlying everything,” they said. “We’re kind of in this cycle of destruction.”

Since moving to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Tassonyi said they’ve spent a lot of time in solitude, and strengthened their relationship to the earth, often going out on walks and taking care of their garden.

“There’s so much horrible stuff happening all the time,” they said, “but I guess it’s hard to imagine coming up with any solutions if we don’t feel a sense of connection to the planet.”

However, the album’s main goal isn’t to persuade anyone to think or feel a certain way about the environment, politics, or even life: it’s to be something enjoyable and thought-provoking that introduces Avalon Tassonyi to the world.

“I’m pretty goofy,” Tassonyi said, summarizing themselves. “I want to hang out with my friends, grow vegetables, and play music.”

“Avalon Tassonyi” is now available for purchase, either as a vinyl record or a digital album via Bandcamp, and on music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Tassonyi is also playing three album release shows on April 7, 8, and 9 in Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal.