For Fred Lavery, home has always been filled with music—and today his Nova Scotian home is also the location for a music business that reaches out across Canada and beyond.
“My parents always made music available to us,” he says, recalling his childhood in tiny Point Aconi on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. “My dad brought home instruments like guitars, a mandolin and a piano, and he and mom sang a lot. There was always music in our house.”
Lavery followed the musical path laid before him and picked up the guitar, piano, bass and other stringed instruments along the way. By his second year in university, he had decided to sing, write and play music full time. He reached a respectable level of success in those early years, working with Canada’s godfather of Celtic music, John Allan Cameron, and landing a hit on regional radio in 1977 with the band Road. Lavery collaborated with other musicians, and performed and recorded his own material as well.
By the mid-1980s, however, his career trajectory changed. He was diagnosed with spastic dysphonia, a rare vocal condition that ended his singing ambitions.
“That led me to the production end of the industry,” says Lavery. “I started doing freelance music production with CBC Sydney and independent record production in the local area, as well as in Halifax and Toronto. It gave me a lot of valuable work experience with some of the best engineers and producers in the country, like Paul Mills, Daniel Lanois and Chad Irshick.”
Today, Lavery co-owns and co-operates Lakewind Sound Studios, a state-of-the-art facility standing behind the musical household where he grew up. The idea came about as a result of Lavery and his friend and musical collaborator Gordie Sampson wanting to build a recording studio together in the mid-1990s.