Category Archives: Uncategorized

Announcements

There is much to announce.

Firstly, a new record has been completed.  A full length.  More exciting and lovely details to come.

Secondly, another, secret release will find it’s way to you at some point in August.

Thirdly, a new batch of duets is nearly completed.

Fourthly, it’s summer.

Let’s keep it all a little mysterious for now…

 

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Soundtrack

I am proud to announce that I’ll be heard on the soundtrack for the upcoming Ben Stiller film, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas and I recorded this little cover of ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ in a dream studio near Paris, France.

The song can be heard at the halfway mark in the video below.  It was also mentioned in USA Today.

All fall, I had the honour of traveling across Europe and America singing with Bahamas and, sometimes, Jack Johnson as well.   A few photographic highlights.

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Socan Songwriting Prize

I am honoured to be nominated for the Socan Songwriting Prize for my duet with Steven Lambke.   The Socan Prize is a nationwide contest to determine the year’s best song.  The nominees are juried, but it is now up to the voting public.  If the spirit moves you, go vote.  You can vote once a day from now till July 3rd.

VOTE HERE

Thank you, perhaps.

Arabaki

Whilst in Japan, we stood on a stage in the cold by the mountains and lakes of Miyagi Prefecture, in the beautiful Michinoku Park, and played and sang some songs amidst wild wind, rain, and a warm, receptive crowd.
Here are some pictures of this moment:

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Japan

Japan.

Only one word.  So strange.  So infinitely far away.  Calling up visions of strange foods and temples and beautiful, impenetrable writing.   And somehow, we went.  Played music.  Getting to play music in Japan was one of the most beautiful experiences I have been fortunate to experience so far in my musical life.  We played beneath mountains at Arabaki Rock Festival, the only western band amid a dizzying array of unbelievable musical offerings, walking around at dusk soaking in the wild sounds and the warm crowds which managed to be wildly enthusiastic and beautifully peaceful at the same time.  Much like our experience of Japan itself, the cities, the people.  Always warm.  Always vivid.  But calm, somehow.  Kyoto in particular was a highlight, stumbling upon ancient Zen Temples and stunning gardens, roads so narrow they could only be walked down, and everywhere the quiet hospitality and kindness of strangers who gave us umbrellas, smiled, and, inevitably, bowed.

I loved it.  I was incredibly grateful to get to go.  I thought Japan was utterly beautiful.  Thank you to everyone who saw us play, sold us convenience store treats, and especially, Yasushi, Takeshi, and Jun.

Especially Yasushi.

 

The Duets of Our Lives…

I have begun a duets project.  Writing and recording duets with friends and compatriots.  The first three of them, featuring Daniel Romano, Baby Eagle, and Marine Dreams, will be released February 15th at The Dakota Tavern.  The evening will be a beautiful show featuring Baby Eagle, Marine Dreams, Ryan Driver, Simone Schmidt (Fiver/$100), Misha Bower, Matt Cully (Bruce Peninsula), Felicity Williams, Carleigh Aikins (Bahamas), and more yet to be announced.

In the meantime, I sat down to write on why I have undertaken this project….

Writing songs is a strange thing.  Lonely in its own way, so often done in a bedroom, in stolen moments of introspection.   Could change your life a little, or simply keep you dreaming all day long, staring out the window, moving around words in your head.  And then, once you’ve written songs, you gotta spend your money or someone else’s to record them, and then suddenly you’re driving around the cold snowy country, playing shows to no-one, sometimes you aren’t understood, sometimes you are and then you’re wondering how you can hang on to that somehow.  And so it is always a comfort to think of my friends.  All these people, geniuses in their own ways, who do this thing that I do, this strange thing that is at once so ephemeral, and so deeply important.
Hell, it is always just a comfort to think of friends, their lives, conversations, moments we have shared.  And then too, to think on their music, how it illuminates and shapes them, rising above and out of strange flows and eddies of their own peculiar hearts, a possession of theirs, and yet also ours to know and hear.  A whole aspect of that person that there could be no other way of knowing.  A creation of will and also a little compulsion, or maybe of no reason at all.  A funny thing sometimes, somebody’s music.  You get used to it, almost, but you forget that not everybody has this thing, trailing them around.  Like a shadow, or maybe the opposite of a shadow…
And so when I travel, and people compliment what I do, I always want to introduce them to my friends, to their music.  And I began this project in part to make those introductions.  I also began it to simply to have fun, to learn from those I consider to be the best, to make less lonely that lonely process of writing songs.  To allow other people to enter them, to change them.  To go into other people’s songs and change them myself.  A duet is a dynamic thing.  You see it one way, but what about the way I see it?  What happens if someone else walks into the room?  Who are they, and what have they got to say?  To who?  What does it mean, this conversation?  Isn’t that everything?
Or perhaps I am doing this simply to sit at the kitchen table with these people that I care for, with a sheet of paper, and try to create something, simply because we can, and it would be fun to do, and because we’ve got guitars, and a little recording setup in the basement…

Friends, perhaps it has been forever.  Record making is a strange and all consuming process.  A process.  In good news though, I went to go see Leonard Cohen recently and have been on an all Cohen diet ever since.  Not a bad life.

I’m playing two miraculous shows.  One is a collaborative set with my Welland brothers, the Marine Dreamers, at the Great Hall as part of Fucked Up’s Long Winter.  It’s a celebration of all things fucked up and wintery with a long list of star spangled guests.  Friday, December 14th.  The Great Hall.

Secondly I am honoured to be the quiet opener for The Wooden Sky at their annual Holiday Revue.  At the hallowed Music Gallery.  December 17th.

Then January will be given over to the snowy east, as I hit up both Stereophonic and In The Dead Of Winter.  That will be awesome.

 

America and Bahamas

It is nearly impossible to speak of all the incredible things that have happened this summer.  Among them, Dawson City Music Festival, Wolfe Island with all the You’ve Changed Crew, Sappy with the Dreamers…

But for the moment, let’s look ahead.  Tomorrow, I leave quiet Canada for my very first American tour.  New York, then down the Eastern Seaboard via lovely Maryland and Virginia, to Hopscotch Music Festival, where I will open for the Mountain Goats in Raleigh, NC’s beautiful Fletcher Opera Theatre.  Here are the dates:

August 29 – New York, NY – Union Hall w/ Will Stratton
August 30 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
August 31 – Frederick, MD – Cafe Nola
September 1 – Charlottesville, VA – Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
September 2 – Hillsborough, NC – The Farm
September 5 – Wilmington, NC – Satellite Bar
September 7 – Raleigh, NC – Fletcher Opera Theatre w/ The Mountain Goats – Hopscotch Music Festival
Tell your friends!

Secondly, I will be playing more shows with Bahamas.  This is more than exciting.  Nearly all churches… Check it out…
September 12 – Guelph, ON – Folkways Music w/ Afie Jurvanen
September 13 – Montreal, QC – Cabaret Lion D’Or w/ Bahamas
September 14 – Kingston, ON – Chalmers United w/ Bahamas
September 15 – Ottawa, ON – First Baptist Church w/ Bahamas

Bahamas and beyond.

This past week, I had the enormous pleasure of opening up for Bahamas as they swept through Ontario, selling out all their shows and basically teaching the world that musicianship, songcraft, and class matter.   It is a truly special band, at the peak of their powers, and it was a truly special moment to have been a part of.  Not to mention, I had the absurd pleasure of playing with Afie, the best guitar player I have ever heard, and having him join me on stage at every show.  Felicity Williams, whose voice is a fountain of purity and light, joined me on stage as well, and I was honoured.  Finally, I got to hang with the coolest and most generous gang of humans.  Even though the audiences were incredible, sometimes it feels as though nobody can appreciate a band so much as somebody who has been even briefly riding around in a van with them, and knows that their awesomeness extends from musicality deep into personhood.

But I was even luckier than this.  Danny Romano came to Hamilton and Toronto to play some beautiful fingerpicking guitar and some wild drums with me.  Naturally, it was awesome.  For the Mod Club, I surrounded myself with a small party of my favourite people and musicians.  My dear Bruce Peninsulans, Misha Bower and Matt Cully sang, and Andrew Barker was on lapsteel.  They were incredible.  Danny and Afie both on guitar and drums.   To understate the matter, it was a special night.  Colin Medley, of all this awesomeness, was on hand to document.