Loyola dynamic duo “The Canarys” releases new album


The Canarys play at The Howlin’ Wolf. The band will be dropping a new album in early 2021. Courtesy of The Canarys.

Gabby Barre

Popular and Commercial Music seniors Alexander Hollins and Marco Saah are hoping to make an impact in the music scene with the release of their album “Butch Cassidy and Sundance.”The music for this album is representative of an ongoing harmonious relationship between the two musicians.

“The name is based on my dad’s favorite Western; it’s a buddy cop movie. The album is also about the story of Marco and I coming together as a band,” said Hollins.

The local rock duo known as The Canarys has spent their time working in the Loyola recording studio to prepare for this album, which aims to embrace each of their personal preferences and backgrounds.

For Saah, growing up in the Baltimore area and his father helped to inspire his fundamental understanding of rock music, and has continued to shape his playing.

“In D.C., my dad was heavily involved in the punk scene in the 90s as a photographer. I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock and went to punk shows all throughout high school,” said Saah.

Hollins also hopes to pay homage to his musical past in this album, which is heavily influenced by his personal experience. He wants the songs to be an expression of “emotion; a piece of truth within everything he writes.”

Both Hollins and Saah have been performing as The Canarys since 2017, playing the stages of venues such as Gasa Gasa and Tipitina’s pre-quarantine. Hollins, vocalist and guitarist, and Saah, lead drummer, combine their musical backgrounds to craft their sound. They describe their music as “Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age, with some Kendrick Lamar around the edges.”

The two artists came together after Hollins decided to invite Saah to collaborate with him, after watching his solo performance, during their freshman year. Neither was expecting to become part of a rock duo, but they said they feel their music and chemistry was undeniable from the start. With songs written by Hollins and Saah’s drums incorporated into the sound, they feel they are making a contribution to the rock scene that each inspired their musical careers.

“The Canarys is meaningful to me because, between Marco and I, we get to try and make songs that push music forward. The band is the opportunity to give it a shot and take rock and make it better. The other part is an opportunity to express myself and the way that I see the world and communicate it in song form,” said Hollins.

The duo says that their work ethic is best encapsulated by their song “Gemini,” which was previously released but they have reworked it for the upcoming album as its meaning has changed over time.

“The song Gemini is very much about being separated and the idea that no one person can be everything. It relates to Marco and me because we both support and balance each out through our music. ‘Open Out’ is another song featured on the album about the power of human connection and speaking with others. The lyric ‘I can’t get from one place without you. I need somebody by my side’ is built around and inspired by the energy between Marco and I,” said Hollins.

For Saah, this band has been impactful on his career and friendship as well.

“I enjoy the way that Alexander tells a story through the songs. This band has been the most enduring project I have been in since college started toward the end of freshman year. I have been building a powerful and valuable experience as a musician. My favorite part of being in the band is only having two people in the band; it makes it a lot more efficient when you have two people who get along together,” said Saah.

Even though this album holds a personal attachment to their experience as individual artists and band members, the duo wants their listeners to connect with the music in their own way.

“Once the music leaves us, it belongs to the audience,” said Hollins.

Both Saah and Hollins hope the music conveys the power of human connection and bringing people together.

“Music is a form of escapism, playing music, listening to music, it forces you to be present in a very unique way. I believe that the music we are making is valuable. I hope it makes everyone feel present and let go of the anxieties of the world when they listen to it. I want the people that listen to our music to be in a better place than when they started, ” said Saah.

The duo expects the album “Butch Cassidy and Sundance” to be released early next year and will be made available on streaming services.