Here is an intimate moment from the Royal Wood show at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario from last summer. The show’s audio and visuals were recorded and recently released as a live DVD fittingly entitled Royal Wood: Live At The Grand. The band consisted of Mark Mariash (drums), Steve Zsirai (bass), Bryden Baird (horn, keys, percussion) and myself.
Video was directed by Mitch Fillion and the audio was mixed by Tim Abraham.
Nearly a year ago to the day producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda invited me to Revolution Recording for a few days of recording with Canadian-American-Cree singer and songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. Michael was one of three producers to be working on this album, the others being Jon Levine and Chris Birkett. I joined a great team of musicians: Mark Mariash on drums, Maury Lafoy on bass and Aaron Davis on keys. Buffy’s live drummer Michel Bruyere also joined us for the first day of beds tracking.
Buffy appears to mean business when she enters a room and you feel it, but she does so with a smile that brings you an instant connection to her. However it’s also immediately apparent that she is in charge of the gig and the room. What I really enjoyed about working with her was the encouragement and the freedom offered. She wanted to hear everyone’s opinions and ideas, just wanting us to bring the goods and feel part of it. It was an honour and pleasure to work with such a legendary and talented artist and with a passionate creative team.
Power In The Blood is a bold, adventurous and strong piece of work. It is slick and rock and roll at the same time and has an attitude even when it is gentle. Check it.
I’ve had some downtime this year due largely to the fact that the main artists I tour with are also taking some down-time to regroup and write. Rather than sitting around eating chips (though I might still do that) I’ve been experimenting up in the Lab with different styles, sounds and approaches. I always need to be in creative motion so it’s almost not a choice that I do these experiments. They serve as a means of self-expression as much as they do of my own musical education and exploration. One of my greatest fears is having nothing new to say or being fearful of letting it be heard. I worry that if I’m not being pushed into new territory by an artist I’m working with or I fail to push myself that my work will become predictable and stagnant. This relates to production and composing as much as it does to my guitar playing.
Over the past few months I’ve recorded an ambient lap steel piece, a pretty neo-classical waltz featuring baritone ukulele, 60s pop influenced song, repetitive and minimilast synth drones, mellow instrumental guitar and most recently an assaulting noise-pop song.
The music of the new piece entitled Fall Away was conceived much quieter and cleaner than what the recording ultimately became. But sometimes the point of these experiments is to turn ideas inside out and see what might be on the other side. The initial inclination for this tune was to create a lush, mostly acoustic-driven blanket of guitars not unlike some of Tom Petty’s or the Traveling Wilburys work with Jeff Lynne. That idea, though pretty-sounding started to bore me quite early in the process so instead I decided to distort everything near to the point where it seems like it is about to fall apart from vibration. The pulsing layers of fuzzed out guitars makes them individually incoherent but there is a power and emotion I find interesting, especially in contrast to the quiet and plaintive vocals (which are also somewhat difficult to make out). It doesn’t matter that you can’t tell what the lyrics are; they’ll become decipherable in time. Clarity was less important here than was emotional impact.
I enjoyed making this piece a great deal.
- Posted By: firstname.lastname@example.org
- February 5th, 2015
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A couple weeks ago, one day before my Mexican vacation to be exact the Ron Leary Quintet strolled down to Dundas West for an afternoon beer and to play a couple songs in front of a camera. That’s what happened – two songs (one time each) and one camera. Southern Souls is a great website featuring among other things, countless well-shot live videos of artists performing in unique spaces. No extra lighting, no stage, no fancy audio mixing. Just the artists as they are. Each video has its own feeling as there are none of the bells and whistles of big show production present and they are beautifully shot by Mitch Fillion. This is the fourth time I’ve been invited to be part of one of these videos, (if you dig around the site you’ll likely come across at least a couple others) and I really feel this one captures the raw honesty of Ron and the Quintet’s performances. Oh, the Ron Leary Quintet is actually just Ron, Adrian Lawryshyn and myself. Ron doesn’t care for numbers.