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Theo Tams is back with Beyond the Mountain

Posted on May 8, 2014 by Sunny South News

In 2008, former Coaldale resident singer/pianist Theo Tams won “Canadian Idol.”

Since the win Tams has had his first single “Sing” climb the radio charts, which reached #2 on the iTunes singles charts. Tams also released a co-written holiday hit “Christmas Dream,” which also was an iTunes seasonal bestseller and he donated net profits of sales to the charity Free the Children.

He also toured Canada coast-to-coast, along with fellow “Canadian Idol” runner-ups during “The Top 3 Tour.”

Tams, a self-taught piano player, studied music at the University of Lethbridge and is now a member of the acoustic pop/folk band Beyond the Mountain.

“We’re just a little acoustic trio. I guess more in the vein of indie-folk. We have a guitar player, a cello player and I’m on pianos and the singer, as well,” said Tams, who now lives in Toronto.

The trio has been together since 2012 and the ensemble won “Best Singer-Songwriter” and “Best Song” at Toronto’s Indie Week.

“That was kind of a departure from the more mainstream solo stuff that I’ve been working on the past couple of years.”

Tams will be releasing a solo project entitled, “Back Pocket” in July with an expected solo tour this summer.

Beyond the Mountain will be out on the road in the fall, as the trio is heading into the studio this spring to record an EP of original songs.

Tams noted, solo artist-wise, over the past few years there was bit of a retreat from the stage for a while — a good year, where he wasn’t performing at all.

“I just wanted to hit the piano and just start collaborating with some new people and try to just decide what the new sound of the record was going to be, which I think was great. It was kind of nice. The first couple of years after ‘Idol’ were pretty crazy, so it was just nice to have something that slowed down a little bit to kind of get back to basics and reconnect with who I was before that show ever came around,” said Tams, adding the reflective period allowed the Canadian crooner to make some clearer decisions of the direction, not only of what the trio was going to do, but what direction his solo material was going to take.

“I’m really stoked about the solo project. It’s a lot more fun. It’s a lot less serious than the first project. I just kind of threw my hands in the air this time and said let’s just not take things so seriously and just enjoy the ride and enjoy the journey.”

The mainstream departure for Tams was a way to find a balance in the music industry.

According to Tams, his solo career has been an outlet for a more mainstream and larger audience with the trio — an extremely important aspect to foster the artistic side of things.

“There’s no one to answer to. There’s no label. There’s no agent or anything, we’re completely self-managed. All the songs that we recorded, we’ve done on our own. Creatively, I think we have a lot more control over where things are going. Whereas, in my solo career, even though everything on the new record that is coming out in July I wrote, you’re just trying to hit a different market,” said Tams.

One of the most surprising aspects of Tams’ career was when the trio was trying to figure out if Theo Tams’ fans would also be fans of Beyond the Mountain.

“I think that it just goes to show that people are fans of music, of great music and great stories and I think that regardless of whether I’m doing solo stuff or whether I’m writing songs for the band — that’s always the goal — to just write good music and stuff that people can relate to,” said Tams, adding he has been a resident of Toronto for the past five-and-a-half-years and the band will be performing at the North-By-Northeast (NXNE) music festival in June. NXNE is the sister festival of SXSW and is the largest festival of its kind in Canada.

As for his roots in southern Alberta and his old stomping grounds of Coaldale, Tams said the new record has a big “thank you” to Coaldale for being his hometown and the place where he was raised. “I’m not able to get back as much as I’d like, maybe a couple of times a year, but everytime it’s just amazing. It’s just a reminder of how much support there is there still. It’s always going to be home.”

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