Vancouver Island’s Lion Bear Fox is bringing its coast to coast tour home this week and with it a message of hope that despite some of challenges life throws our way we all still have an opportunity to shine.
“I think we’re in a time of shiny,” said Ladysmith’s Ryan McMahon, referring specifically to social media. “We’re in a time of glossing over a lot of things. Good art used to communicate and speak on the tough issues. Very rarely do we see that now. All of us as writers, aspire to be good artists and good art comments on the difficulties of the human experience.”
McMahon lost a friend to suicide when he was in Grade 10 at LSS. The tragedy marked a turning point in his life where he grew up overnight and started putting pen to paper.
“When I hear about hardships, and speak to them,” he said. “It makes me feel more human. It’s okay to feel this way. I feel this way too. We’re trying to start a dialogue, and that’s important to us.”
Christopher Arruda (Lion), Cory Woodward (Bear) and McMahon (Fox) formed together as Lion Bear Fox in 2012 after successful careers as singer-songwriters.
While Shine is the name of their current tour, it’s also the six track off of their latest self-titled LP and written by McMahon.
Arruda also reflects on the word ‘shine’ as a means to live to your purpose and to experience the myriad of human emotions.
“When I was a kid…it was hearing music that made me feel like I was part of something. I crave being on stage. It’s just you and the people who are there. The moment exists only at that time, and it’s magical. When it hits and works, I don’t think there’s anything better,” he said.
Whether it’s struggles with self-judgments, abuse, addictions or mental illness, Lion Bear Fox’s music and lyrics takes listeners to a place that peels back the layers and let’s them shine.
For Woodward, he describes being ‘at risk’ during his youth and developing coping mechanism that didn’t benefit his physical or mental well-being.
Music continues to be his emotional release, something he shares with other bandmates.
“I have a brand-new life every morning when I wake up,” said Woodward. “Life is nothing but existence, nothing but one continuous learning opportunity. There’s no manual or booklet for your own life. The vulnerability is the ingredient in life that will save us all.”
Lion Bear Fox has performances at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney (Oct. 3rd), Cowichan Performing Arts Centre i Duncan (Oct. 4th), Port Theatre in Nanaimo (Oct, 5th) and The Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River (Oct. 6th).
Arruda also points out that when he was a kid, men weren’t talking like this.
“There’s a big sea change in our culture,” he says. “For the men out there, there’s a different way of being, especially with the #MeToo movement. There’s a different way of being masculine. It doesn’t have to be the jock or the geek. We can get rid of the stigma of having to be the tough guy. We can shine.”
For tickets and more on the band visit www.thelionthebearthefox.com.