Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: you would be hard pressed to find a more unlikely birthplace for a Progressive Metal act like Widow’s Walk. A city of just barely a million people, with BluesFest and TulipFest as major annual festivals, and an essentially underground heavy music scene, Ottawa (flanked by Montreal and Toronto) is the city that metal forgot. No wonder the odds have been against Widow’s Walk during the past five painstaking years of its conception.
Armed with only a guitar, an electronic drum kit and a computer, Roger Verdon (drums) and Tristan Vaillancourt (guitar) began the recording sessions that would lead to the formation of Widow’s Walk in the fall of 2002. Sharing a passion for progressive and heavy music, the longtime friends quickly created a repertoire of riffs, drum beats and song structures; what they did not have yet was a band. Enter Rick Barkhouse – having only lived in Ottawa for a couple of years, Rick had already established himself in the local music scene, pulling double duty as the keyboardist in the Montreal/Ottawa based Dream Theater tribute act Crimson Sunset, as well as local original melodic metal band Shadow Of Doubt. Any hesitation Rick may have felt about getting involved in yet another project quickly evaporated when he heard the recordings Roger and Tristan had made. Soon after, they would meet Yves Richer, former bassist of Ottawa’s Momentarily Spontaneous. Yves’ 6-string bass skills, coupled with a penchant for tapping and solid song-writing skills, made him the perfect fit. With the instrumental line-up complete, they were ready to start writing and auditioning singers… they had no way of knowing the search would go on for almost 4 years.
Over the next two and a half years the group wrote, rewrote and perfected the instrumental parts for eight original songs as well as learning covers by Enchant, Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation. Each of the four members brought something different to the table musically and they began to develop their own sound, but the fruitless search for a singer was holding them back. Finally, in October of 2005, they decided to play a show instrumentally and would play several more that way, including the first two Progtoberfest festivals in Ottawa. Despite this exposure, by mid-2006, they had still not found a singer, until a chance meeting at a party brought Scott Bailey into the mix.
Veteran of the successful Rush tribute band Limelight, and eager to do original music, Scott aced the audition and was ready to hit the stage with WW only a month later. In December 2006, however, Widow’s Walk was dealt yet another blow when Tristan left suddenly and they were forced to start the search for a replacement guitar player. As in their search for a singer, the auditions were few and frustrating as once again, no one seemed to fit. After a few months, however, they discovered that the last piece of the puzzle was under their noses all along. Steve Milley, alumnus of recording act In And Outas well as a few local tribute acts had been rehearsing in the space next to theirs. Several jams later, nearly five years after the first recording sessions, the final line-up was complete.
Since then, WW has opened for Dutch recording artists After Forever, and has completed the recording, mixing and mastering of their 3-song demo. In some ways a retrospective look at the past five years of this band-in-the-making, the CD is both a look at how they used to sound and a look ahead to how they will. With enough material to complete a full-length CD, Widow’s Walk is ready to bring their unique sound to the world.