Premiere: Opeongo’s Expansive Single “Less of Me” Gives Us More

Opeongo © 2019
Opeongo’s “Less of Me” is a journey through the mind of an uprooted empath as he howls, existentially along his way.
Stream: “Less of Me” – Opeongo

Opeongo’s debut single may be called “Less of Me,” however, less of anything it certainly is not. In fact, it leaves us wanting more.

Atwood Magazine is proud to premiere Opeongo’s “Less of Me” off his forthcoming debut LP, Miasma. Officially out Friday, August 2nd, “Less of Me” offers a refreshingly honest and raw journey through the exasperated mind of an uprooted empath as he traverses the trepidatious narrows of his life.

Less of Me - Opeongo

Less of Me – Opeongo

The spirit filled voice and searching soul behind Opeongo’s “Less of Me” belongs to a 26-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter named Keegan Trumpour and a few of his heroes. The first on the scene, guitarist Aaron Goldstein (of City and Colour, Daniel Romano & The Trilliums, Lee Harvey Osmond, Bry Webb (of the Constantines), Elliott Brood, Cowboy Junkies, and Matt Mays, to name a few) also produced all tracks on Miasma in his studio, Baldwin Street Sound. Next, Trumpour explains to Atwood Magazine, “a long-time musical hero of mine, ‪Daniel Romano, popped in by some great providence, and ultimately ended up playing on a few of these songs,” he continues. “That was surreal for me, and having incredibly talented folks like [Daniel] and Aaron playing alongside me solidified the notion that these songs had more life to them than the simple recordings I had earlier envisioned.” At first, Trumpour’s vision for “Less of Me” and the rest of Miasma was simple. All he needed was a piano and his voice. However, like a true artist, Trumpour was curiously along for the ride. He trusted his heroes and allowed them to lead him and his intricate lyrics in a dance to tunes with considerably more slide and twang. His trust was well placed.

Having recently joined the 20-somethings army of life-livers, Trumpour moved from his small hometown (Midland, Ontario) to the big city (Toronto) to try his hand at, well, living his best life. The name of Trumpour’s band, Opeongo, makes particular sense in this case. Along with being the name of a lake in Midland, tethering Trumpour to his roots, Opeongo is also a derivative of the Algonquian word opeauwingauk meaning “sandy narrows.” Quite literally a watery passage between a smaller body of water and a larger one. In this case, a sandy passage, offering the traveler a place to stop, rest, asses their journey, and ponder what’s left of the way. However, while an Opeongo offers a passage from confined to vast, it also poses the potential threat of getting stuck. One must traverse the narrows of both water and life with skill and care, in order to ensure safe passage and continued adventure. For such an important task, it’s good that there are, at least, maritime courses for training. The life part, we’ll all just hafta wing it…

“Less of Me” not only sheds light on Opeongo’s thoughtful trek through life’s narrows, but also reveals the possible pits that may cause us to fall along the way. Trumpour pulls back the veil to explain a bit about the genesis of “Less of Me.”

“This song, like most of my music, “ he explains, “was inspired simply by my need to make sense of a lot of inward negativity, feelings of deep-seeded inadequacy,” Trumpour candidly elucidates. “Moving from my hometown into the unknown helped catalyze a great unsurfacing of a lot of things within myself I had long-since neglected, and the change that these new experiences signified helped me make slightly more sense of these questions I had of myself.” This is a prime example of why the experience of moving is included in every “Top 10 Biggest Stressors” articles. Moving, quite literally, kicks up a lot of dust, especially when point A is your comfortable hometown and point B is a big, unfamiliar city.

“This city (Toronto),” Trumpour continues, “for a small-town guy like me, can be either very humbling, or very overwhelming…” or both at the same time and then some. Understandably, when a highly intelligent and deeply feeling singer-songwriter like Trumpour, processes high levels of stress the “result is a song like this (best case scenario)” he explains. And you do not need to be a singer-songwriter to relate to that. Not at all.

By exploring “Less of Me’s” lyrics we get a chance to take a break from our own internal struggles and realizations. We get a chance to feel in-good-company with another deep thoughts thinker.

Used to think of myself as a book on a shelf.
Now it’s plain to see
I’m just a circled phrase on a dog-eared page.
Drinking to my health’s so paradoxical
When I always feel so much more
diseased when I get to being this way.
Sometimes I want to dissolve right unto myself,
A cremation pre-meditated,
patient in the molecules that are swaying.
Opeongo © 2019

Opeongo © 2019

Growing up surrounded by a tight knit, or even just small community tends to create a litter who share many similarities. They may share taste in music, food and even dialectic turns of phrase. Exactly like books on a shelf, small town folks are individuals with all their own particularities, while at the same time, existing in the same space with similar reference (numbers) points. And as comforting as that may be, anyone with a healthy amount of wanderlust could begin to wonder what it would be like, on the outside.

That wonder is a powerful catalyst for life change. And as with any life change, it forces the live-e to redefine themselves based on their new circumstances and surroundings.

Are they still the same person they once were? Simply an archetypal representation of their hometown?

Have they lost themselves? Is this change sincere and believable? Are they losing their mind? Yes, probably, a little of all. But it’s this kind of shake-em-up that eventually has the ability to bring us to a more colorful, understanding and whole version of ourselves. That is to say, as long as the response to change is writing a lyrically expressive song and not, well, anything else more tragically permanent.

That’s why we life livers and change wranglers get it, when Opeongo sings:

I’m not well mentally, I guess it’s time I told you,
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you,
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you –
But the less of me there is to hold.

It makes sense.

When a small town boy who is working hard to carve his own unique nich from the potential filled block of life, he may feel lost in the newness of it all.

I’ll dance on your demand, laugh on your command.
Cry into my hands, I’ll take a gowpenful of anything.
There’s a church where Adelaide
ends that recalls me of my home.
No, I ain’t saying that I know God.
I ain’t saying there’s a god to know.

At certain points we all try on new personas and life philosophies that are not defined by familiar surroundings. A person in this chapter of life, humbled and vulnerable as they are, may feel out of control, depressed, crazy, unsure of all their life decisions and the cherry on top… the bad kind of alone.

I was raised in a padded room;
brought to maturation in a salted womb,
With my head against the wall,
hence my bitter thoughts
hence my doom self-taught.
Opeongo © 2019

Opeongo © 2019

Changing based on our new surroundings may seem to be a move born of desperation. In truth, counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s much more for self preservation. It’s called living a live life, as opposed to a stagnant dead one. And, as we journey through each different Opeongo, each of our live’s sandy narrows, we life-livers will always look back in order to figure out how we can proceed even stronger.

Then I was born an award recipient
and I’d make my speech until the music played,
But I kept on talking and the music
kept going so I
singSingSING ‘til the end of my days.
See, I’m as old as my tongue,
a little younger than my teeth.
Why is it that the last thing
that grows will be the first that goes on me?

When a songwriter like Trumpour is in flux and doesn’t trust his surroundings or even his own appearance, there is something on which he can rely. “I can rely on my tongue,” he says, “that which allows me to orate my thoughts and feelings. My tongue has always been on my side.” And for one song, to so intriguingly explain such a familiar yet complex life experience is evidence towards Trumpour’s eloquence.

Opeongo © 2019

Opeongo © 2019

I’m not well mentally, I guess it’s time I told you.
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you.
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you.
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you.
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you.
I’ve so much misery, I just need to hold you.
The less there is of me, the closer I can hold you.
But the less of me there is to hold.

With that, and a perfectly dissonant strum, we are left feeling the weight of Trumpour’s unanswered questions. And the truth is, the only real answer is that there will never be one. Even if there were answers, they’d always be changing… subject to the ever oscillating circumstances of life. So the only accurate way to end a song of such existential wondering as “Less of Me” is with no ending at all. You cannot put a period on the back of a never ending sentence. But luckily for us, we can look forward to the release of Miasma, in order to continue this conversation.

Stream: “Less of Me” – Opeongo

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Less of Me - Opeongo

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Ilana Kalish was a jazz fed baby, pop-synched child, emo-soaked teenager and indie-rocked coed. Between working at the friendly corner record store, singing in a garage (sometimes with a band) and sitting under trees while writing short fiction, Ilana also got her degrees in modern dance and creative writing from the University of MD in College Park. All of these adventures eventually resulted in www.skiptothis.com where she shares her adventures down the rabbit hole of the musiverse. A self-proclaimed neologista, Ilana is always dancing with words to music, usually while drinking coffee and smirking. As a writer for Atwood Magazine, Ilana hopes to make you smile and nod happily with her whimsy and impeccable (smirk) taste in music.