As someone who has been writing songs for many years, I've always been fascinated by the mystery of pulling songs out of the air. If you read Paul Zollo's book, "Songwriters On Songwriting", you'll hear this described in many different ways by the songwriting greats over the years. One of the things I love to do is listen to a group of "songwriters in the round" - 4 on stage at one time - take turns talking about that beautiful struggle of how they danced with the song before it came together, and then, hear them play it. On November 1st, it was my turn. I was honoured to be a part of the Bluebird North Show at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto with Lawrence Gowan (aka Gowan, now frontman for Styx), Gord Deppe (The Spoons) and Blair Packham (The Jitters). This is the northern version of the Bluebird Café in Nashville, where songwriters in the round first began. An evening of "sing and tell" in an inspiring and intimate performance space. Magic.
Alberta, Alberta what a trip you were! Big thanks to all the kind folks who hosted my concerts and looked after us. Steve & Karen Gosse & the Uptown Folk Club in Edmonton, the Blayones in the Big Red House in Peace River and Vic Close and the amazing crew at Fish Creek Concerts. Thanks to Andy Donnelly's Celtic Show at CKUA and Neil & Jerad @ CIXM in Whitecourt. I traveled home with many fond memories and three special souvenir songs written with the inspiring and talented Erin Haley, Dana Blayone & Sherry Crawford. The province never looked more beautiful and I couldn't resist jumping out the car just north of Jasper after a long day's drive through the Rocky Mountains for a spontaneous performance of my tune "River Of Time" on the banks of the Athabasca River.
I recently returned from another action-packed Canadian Country Music Weekend in Edmonton where I am always happy to reconnect with my fun and friendly dysfunctional family:) I performed at the Songwriters Series out there for my fourth time. It's one of my favourite things - to be in the round with other writers as we swap songs and stories in front of such an attentive audience.
When I get the chance to travel across Canada, sometimes different provinces can feel like entering another country with its own geography, history and culture and I love the adventure of it all. Naturally you'd think with my accent I would be drawn to the east. However, over the years I have actually been to western Canada a lot more than the east. Indeed, next month my road leads me back to Alberta for some dates.
I'll be playing the Uptown Folk Club in Edmonton on October 3rd, a house concert in Peace River and the Fish Creek Concert Series in Calgary on October 10th, with some inspiring songwriting dates sprinkled along the way. If you're in the vicinity of any of these shows, please come on out and say hello.
Thanks as always for listening and reading. See you down the road.
Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you with these pictures. There's no hiding what I actually look like when I'm diving into the music :)
I feel very fortunate to have had opportunities to do just that in many different places already this summer, including a mini-tour of the East Coast in July, re-uniting with my old guitar pal Troy McLaggan. Thanks to all the presenters, hosts & agents that have given me the chance to sing my songs over the past few months and make new friends along the way.
While I have loads of things I'm continually grateful for, I have to admit that being a musician is a strange and difficult choice. The music world I inhabit has been constantly changing over the last decade and despite the romantic notion of having a career in the music business, my experience has seen it go from a good old "shindig" to a regular dig in the shins! Apart from the challenges of the digital landscape that all artists face, it's also an exercise in the thickening of one's skin to parade your new baby songs on the stage, & hustle radio stations & other media in the hope they all love your new baby as much as you do! However, having said that, I still enjoy the wrestlemania of it all, whether it's hunting down the song, taming it in the studio or getting to know it well enough that you can lose yourself to the point that time stands still when you are singing it on stage. What's my point, I hear you asking? Well, after all these years and despite those funny contorted facial expressions, I can honestly say I am enjoying singing and playing more than ever. They say that a career as a musician chooses you. For that, I'm grateful.
If you want to check out what this looks and sounds like, I have a couple of cool local concerts with talented sideman Justin Abedin coming up in and around the Greater Toronto Area and some exciting performances in Western Canada this fall. Check out the SHOWS PAGE for details.
"One Second Look" - a song I refer to as three chords and an epiphany - is going out to radioland today. I hope the radio folks will take one second listen & have that epiphany to add it to their playlist! Have a listen on the player at the bottom of the page and click here to read about the story behind this deceptively simple little song in my previous blog. I'll keep you posted on where it's being played on a radio near you.