Can you imagine writing your first EP during a pandemic? Well, meet local Ottawa musician Riley Burns. He did just that.

Burns began crafting his EP, Stirling Ave, in December 2019 before it hit streaming platforms on Nov. 25, 2020.

The project consists of five folk and country tracks—”Gone”, “Drinkin”, “I Knew”, “Getaway Truck”, and “Dark Places”.

His EP was his second ever professionally recorded soundtrack. Burns’ first single was “Gone,” featured on his EP, which he released on Spotify a little over a month prior to the album’s release.

CREDIT: Riley Burns

“Music for me is something I’d probably do no matter what,” Burns says . “I don’t have to have it as a job which is a luxury for me. I have another job that I quite enjoy as well.”

According to Burns, his plan in August of last year was for the EP to premiere onto streaming platforms in September. Instead, he spent the next few months with his producer, Colin Carnegie, “getting things into the spot we want to get them” before the song was ready to be released.”

“I didn’t really wanna rush it,” Burns explains. “It was my first piece of music that I put out to Spotify and to different streaming platforms. For one, I wanted to do it carefully. There was probably a two-week period where we sat on it. When it was realistic that nothing was going to change, we were like ‘let’s take our time, get this done right because there’s no need to rush things'”.

The name of the EP resonates with Burns on a personal level. It came from a house he had lived in with a few roommates when he moved back to Ottawa after completing his studies on the east coast.

“Me and two of my best buddies lived in this place on Stirling Avenue,” Burns explains. “It was a total teardown house, we had a drum kit in the living room, we had a piano in there and we would often spend a bunch of nights sitting around having a beer and writing songs. And I think a lot of the songs I wrote came from my experiences in University, and I put pen to paper in that house.”

Shortly after they moved out of the house, it was quickly demolished. Burns says it’s a place where he can reflect back on the adventures that went on in there and on crafting some of his music.

At the end of the day, it was always about perfecting this EP for Burns along with his counterpart in Carnegie.

Even with the pandemic halting things at certain points along the way, he saw it as a concept that gave them “ample time” to get everything set for when the EP would eventually be available.

Burns’ EP can be found on his Spotify page and Bandcamp along with a Renegade Folk playlist that features his songs too. Enjoy streaming the album below.