Romancing the Philosopher Kings 

Philosopher Kings in town for free Paralympics concert

Saturday, September 16, Philosopher Kings bring love, romance  to Whistler Golf Course Driving Range
  • Saturday, September 16, Philosopher Kings bring love, romance
    to Whistler Golf Course Driving Range

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: 2010 Paralympic logo launch

Who: The Philosopher Kings

When: Saturday, Sept. 16, 3 p.m.

Where: Whistler Golf Course Driving Range

Admission: Free

The Philosopher Kings most recent album, Castles in the Sand , is full of romance, love lost, love found — much like the journey of the band.

Canada’s most beloved band broke up for a short time, with band members stepping in new directions as solo artists. But time spent apart only drew the Juno-Award winning group back together again — and the band is stronger this time round. Like their song Give Back the Love, which is about love never being lost, the band members’ love of music returned Plato’s idealism to its rightful place — on a stage with more albums to come.

“To me the topic of relationships is so endless,” said Philosopher King frontman Gerald Eaton, who changed his name to Jarvis Church after establishing himself as a solo artist. “The subtleties and themes that go on between people is never ending. I don’t think when a relationship ends it dies. I don’t believe that. I think a relationship is a success even after it is over.”

Only there is no ending for The Philosopher Kings, who are touring their music once again with Castles in the Sand .

The album is as easy listening as ever with pop sensibilities rooted in soulful vocals. The band, which spanned genres with Juno nominations ranging from Best Pop Album to Best R&B/Soul Recording, hooks listeners with catchy refrains, but as their name suggests, reflects more depth with poetic lyrics.

“The name is tongue in cheek,” Church said. “The basic idea (of Plato’s Philosopher Kings) is that philosophers should rule. We are pretty smart, but not that smart. We are not ready for actual power and control just yet.”

So in the meantime, while Castles in the Sand is translated to constitution, the band focuses on what they can control: their work as band members and solo artists.

Side projects kept the band busy on The Philosopher Kings hiatus: Church released a solo project and joined former King guitarist Brian West to form the production team Track, who have produced albums for Grammy Award-winner Nelly Furtado.

Current guitarist James McCollum also changed his name, becoming James Bryan for a solo album and teaming with Philosopher keyboardist Jay Levin to form the band Prozzak and Lefthook Productions.

Drummer Denton Whited also toured with other artists.

While collaborating on releases for artists such as K’Naan, the group realized how much they missed the chemistry of sharing a stage together. They reconnected and a love child — Castles in the Sand — was the result.

“Playing with this band, there is nothing like it,” Church said. “It is really a magical experience. It’s something we have together. We are having as much fun as the audience is.”

The album builds on the three successful albums that came before it, including the inaugural self-titled album, Famous Rich and Beautiful , and One Night Stand , which all contained multiple Top 10 radio hits, including Charms, Hurts To Love You and If I Ever Lose This Heaven.

The band can also be credited with many Top 10 hits for other artists, including Tina Turner, Ricky Martin, Divine Brown and K’Naan. Church is finishing K’Naan’s album for an American release in the new year.

“I love being on stage, but the thing about producing is that you get to make music you normally couldn’t do yourself,” Church said. “I love hip hop and rap, but I can’t rap. As a producer, I get to make them though. It’s a away to be a part of another aspect of music you normally couldn’t do yourself.”

The Philosopher Kings is one of five Canadian acts performing at a free concert Saturday, Sept. 16 to celebrate the Paralympic movement and the unveiling of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games emblem. Other stars sharing the stage include three-time Juno-Award winner Chantal Kreviazuk, Jeremy Fisher, Spirit of the West and Juno-Award winner Jim Byrnes. The free outdoor concert and unveiling begins at 3 p.m. at the Whistler Golf Course Driving Range.

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