There is no one in St. John’s who writes music like AE Bridger.

AE Bridger, winner of this year’s People’s Choice Award for Most Original Songwriter, bends genres with an idiosyncratic and creative sound unlike anyone else. He cites everything from free jazz and psychedelic rock to Newfoundland traditional music and Gregorian chant among his vast influences, and combines them with a creative approach to instrumentation fuelled by his self-taught musical background.

Since 2008, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has released five independently released solo albums. The most recent of these, 2015’s Sculpin XO, is grand, cinematic, dark and twisted, equal parts broken Nintendo game and French New Wave. The album received a nomination for Alternative Album of the Year at this past year’s MusicNL awards.

Bridger also fronted the 2015 Borealis Music Prize long listed psychedelic rock act People on Pause during a five-year stint in Montreal, and currently provides lead guitar work for local troubadour Steve Maloney.

Recently, Bridger has started a new group called The Bridesmaids to cover some of the more rock-based material in his extensive and wide ranging catalogue, as well as improvising some more experimental music.

Bridger is also finishing work on a new record that moves in to richer, more organic sonic territory, leaning on viola and trumpet to carry his lyrical antics. AE Bridger’s music is definitely weird, but it’s shot through with a haunting, demented brilliance and simplicity that prevents his songwriting from veering too far into the avant-garde. There should be little argument that he is St. John’s most original songwriter.

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