It's Festival Season! Love it. I played my first festival of the season with Lydia Persaud at Burlington's wonderful and free Sound Of Music Festival this past weekend. Many more coming up over the summer with Donovan Woods at Skeleton Park Festival (Kingston ON), Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Home County Festival (London ON), Elora River Fest, Cultivate Festival (Port Hope ON).
I'll be returning for my 4th time to Pelee Island Unplugged festival with Ron Leary - a highlight of the summer for me. Having grown up in the area (Essex County, Windsor ON) I'd never been to the island. It's a peaceful paradise and I look forward to this special festival every year.
Also a couple more shows with stunning R&B singer/songwriter Lydia Persaud at TD Toronto Jazz Festival and Home County Festival (London ON) with Rose Cousins. Got a new straw hat. I'm all set. See ya there.
2018 started quietly, at least in terms of live playing. A couple albums I produced last year were recently released: Emma Cook's Living Proof is making some waves as is Sarah Cripps' eponymous release. I've been in the studio, helping out 60s-inspired/western swing artist Lily Frost with some demos for an upcoming release while working away on some of strange music of my own.
The bulk of my live playing this year will be with Donovan Woods whose new album is going to turn heads that he hasn't already managed to turn. Looking forward to hitting the road with my good friends and playing this music. Donovan is a songwriters songwriter, crafting words that reach into your chest to have a little squeeze. The album is bold and gorgeous. Ironically, my first gig with Donovan was for the CBC for a series called Junos365 which has artists play music from past Juno-nominated artists. Donovan chose Alanis Morrissette's Ironic. Here it is...
I've not been very good at keeping this part of the website up-to-date. As I write this in the last minutes of 2017 I am reminded of a fun and productive year I had. Much of my work shifted to producing and session playing over touring but I did manage to cross the country a few times with national tours alongside songwriters Rose Cousins, Amelia Curran and Matthew & Jill Barber. I also had a great time getting to play throughout the northwestern United States with Great Lake Swimmers where northern Michigan was particularly beautiful. And thank you to these fine and talented people for inviting me to share the stage with them this past year: Megan Bonnell, Ron Leary, Sarah Cripps, Michelle Willis.
Jeffery Straker released his album Dirt Road Confessional that I produced and mixed a couple songs on. I enjoyed exploring pop/R&B with Luke Maxim. Most of my creative time was spent producing two ambitious albums for two very different singer/songwriters. Both of these will see their release in 2018: Emma Cook (Living Proof) and Suzanne DeBussac (Shiver Stories).
And dear to my heart was releasing my solo album Flood in March, which took me in all kinds of musical directions and having me figure out how to fit them together onto one album. It was a challenge to bring so many seemingly disparate musical elements together but ultimately it feels honest and personal.
A rich and productive year.
Found and finished this holiday tune in my 2014 folder.
A couple weeks ago we visited the CBC music studio in Toronto with Amelia Curran to play some songs from her new album in front of a small audience. I'm excited for people to finally get to hear Amelia's new album "Watershed" (released March 10). The songs, as always are very strong with commitment to a deep message. I'll leave it to you to interpret and engage with the message.
We spent a lot of time last summer as a band in pre-production - working out the songs - their direction and arrangement, before entering the studio with producer Chris Stringer and his studio Union Sound. For this album the same core band from her previous (Michael Philip-Wojewoda produced "They Promised You Mercy") album was assembled including Joshua Van Tassel (drums), Devon Henderson (bass) and myself on guitar.Amelia's melodies are at their most memorable here and the band sounds like a unit of musicians and friends.
Here's a live video from the CBC music studio in Toronto of the title track Watershed.
I finished an album (maybe more accurately, a collection of songs) a couple months ago and am excited to get it out to other people's ears. It is called "Flood" and feels like a bit of a departure from my recent releases but really it is a cumulation of many of the styles I have worked in over the years. There's melodic pop, moody post-rock, avant-garde and ambient and some fuzzed-out guitar rock and some great musical features from people I admire and respect - Joshua Van Tassel on drums, Devon Henderson on bass, Drew Jurecka on violin, Mike Olsen on Cello and Andy Magoffin (Two-Minute Miracles) on brass. The album started with nearly 30 songs being recorded. Along the way most were abandoned or incorporated into other pieces. Perhaps one day I'll get around to finishing those, but what was ultimately most important was that all of the tracks, however disparate they may initially seem, felt like they belonged together in a collection. The final 10 songs represent what has been of most interest musically to me lately.
At this point there is no firm release date though I am in the process of getting everything together for a late March release.
Here's a video I put together last night while trying to figure out how to work iMovie (I'm no video creator but I have to admit the potential of it seems like a lot of fun - and time.)
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of performing the music of Rose Cousins' new album Natural Conclusion in front of a live studio audience at the CBC building in Toronto. It was the first time these songs had been performed live and the first appearance of this band put together for the Canadian tour about to begin (see the LIVE page for upcoming dates). Rose writes some devastatingly gorgeous music and this album, produced by Joe Henry is among her finest. Looking forward to breaking some hearts with this fine team of folks this winter. The Rose Cousins band features Joshua Van Tassel (drums), Asa Brosius (pedal steel), Zachariah Hickman (bass) and myself on guitar.
The current website is in transition as I prepare to launch my new album "Flood". I'm excited to get this record out into people's ears. Sorry that it's incomplete and a bit of a mess around here at the moment. In March I hope to launch the album, new website and have music for you to listen to and purchase from here.
Adam Fox - a longtime friend and collaborator (on the album Narco by his previous project Field Assembly) originally from my hometown (Windsor ON) has an exciting new musical project called Carbolizer. The music makes heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines to create beautifully dark music that are emotionally and sonically unique even when the sounds occasionally evoke elements of the 80s. Here is a video of the first single "exe" that I enjoyed mixing this past December.