Views / Halifax / Backstage Pass Halifax

Substance over style at no frills boutique label

When YouTube launched in February 2005 it forever shifted not only the way fans experienced music, but also how artists reached their fans.

One of the first videos to go viral on YouTube belonged to an acoustic guitar musician named Andy McKee, one of the prides and joy of CandyRat Records. It’s an independent American record label and online music store that, according to owner Rob Poland, takes advantage of the Internet era to combat the challenges faced by traditional record companies.

“Record sales industry-wide have been declining every year since 1997, so a low overhead model was key to our survival in this new music industry,” Poland said. “Our focus is on great, original composition primarily composed on the acoustic and electric guitars.”

Enter Trevor Gordon Hall. A Philadelphia-based acoustic guitar player, Hall’s innovation is testament to the calibre of artists that play under CandyRat’s label. Hall will be joined by fellow CandyRat guitarists Owen Van Larkins and Maneli Jamal on Sunday night at The Carleton for CandyRat’s Guitar Night tour stop in Halifax.

“In recent years I’ve been trying to mix finger-style guitar with an African instrument called a Kalimba. It’s been an exploration that’s always evolving,” Hall said in a recent interview.

Hall has successfully expanded his audience and online presence with the help of CandyRat.

“This is the place to be for acoustic guitar so it was nice to land here,” he said. Though the “boutique-style” approach to the business may seem barebones and shady, Hall says the flare and flash that other labels put into image, at CandyRat  that goes to the artists.

“It’s all about keeping the focus on the musicianship – there are high quality artists on the roster so I feel absolutely privileged to be with them.”


•    CandyRat Guitar Night is taking place Sunday at The Carleton at 9 p.m. Tickets are $17.50.

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