Fred Eaglesmith will play Club Congress as part of the Rhythm & Roots concert series Saturday.

Shock Ink

Fred Eaglesmith has long been hailed as a master songwriter.

But his talents don’t end there.

Over the years, the Canadian musician has created hundreds of paintings, many of which have been purchased by Eaglesmith fans and collectors.

Of the 100-plus works on his site,, more than 30 are marked sold. The rest — a mix of abstracts, cars, trains and cartoon characters, all brought to fruition using oil paints and a trowel on white canvas — have price tags ranging from $300 to $1,500.

It’s a healthy alternative to the music, Eaglesmith said in a phone interview last week from Houston.

“The paintings give me somewhere else to go creatively,” he added. “It gives my brain a different way to work.”

Eaglesmith will most likely skip the art lesson when he pulls into Club Congress this Saturday with his Traveling Steam Show.

Instead, he’ll focus on the music from his latest album, “Tambourine,” which he released last November on eOne Music.

The project, his 20th recording, keeps in the Eaglesmith tradition of experimentation and sounding vastly different from its predecessors.

“Tambourine” is meant to pay homage to the music of the 1960s, with a soupy blend of rock, Tejano and Motown influences, laid out in a series of original tracks.

Eaglesmith said the songwriting still comes easy.

“I am more creative than I have ever been in my life,” he said. “I have more freedom. The older I get, the less constricted I am about my own opinions or the opinions of others. It leaves me wide open.”

“Tambourine” isn’t the last album for Eaglesmith. He already has concepts and tracks written out for several more, including a blues and a country release.

At least for now, his drive to create music has trumped any desire to become the next Pablo Picasso.

“I probably could retire from the music business, be a full-time painter right now and survive,” he said. “I just don’t want to.”

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at or 807-8430.