By Chris Tait
Chameleon of the local music scene, Kris Demeanor has a more varied repertoire than freaks at a circus. Praised across the country for his originality and ability to make extraordinary music from the ordinary happenings of life, Demeanor is a musician able to do anything.
It’s impossible to describe Demeanor’s sound without the words “varied” and “diverse”. It’s what happens when you mix rap, country, blues and folk-rock into an eclectic mix.
Demeanor, on an early Monday morning, ruminates on the eccentricity of his music: “It’s a combination of being a fan of many different things, and realizing they’re not that different. People realize that it’s still the same person talking.”
This year, his name’s on the bill for the Calgary Blues and Roots Festival at McMahon Stadium, an honour he has reservations about, but he’s worked through it.
“It’s problematic calling yourself the Blues and Roots Festival, because I don’t categorize us like that,” admits Demeanor. “I think people’s first impression is that it’s going to be Taj Mahal and Colin James.”
Though many of his lyrics deal with universal themes, others reveal Demeanor’s Calgarian roots. The song “One of Two Things,” for instance, recalls the bookmobiles that once roamed the local streets distributing books to young boys and girls and were eventually converted into mobile clinics for street teens.
“It’s a little easier to get with other musicians here. I think that’s what makes Calgary good. If someone’s going to write, they’re going to find things to write about and get turned on by.
“I’m inspired by the people who have made [music] a lifestyle,” he says, immediately naming locals such as the Codependents, as well as his bandmates, Chantal Vitalis, Diane Kooch and Peter Moller. “They’ve been playing for so long, it’s not an issue of whether they’re going to play, it’s in what configuration.”
His future remains bright. When asked what he has on the stovetop for the next couple of months, he answers simply. “Planning upcoming tours,” he said, explaining that they’re setting up to hit Scandinavia in November and a return trip to Australia in December.
Since going solo in 1999 Demeanor’s released three albums and another one sounds as if another album is in the planning stages.
“In the midst of planning tours, I’ll have to block off time to deal with the new album. I’ll probably start recording in the fall,” he says.
In the mean time, Demeanor is taking it easy. You can almost hear the grin across the phone lines, as he says, “I try to drink wine and watch movies and stuff, too. I do need something to write about.”
After all he’s done and what promises to be a stunning performance at the festival, this is something nobody will begrudge him. After all, Demeanor’s the type of musician who can do anything.