The Last Round

This Tuesday will mark my last week hosting the ABC Songwriters’ Circle. It has been a great ride, and I want to thank first of all Sal Indigo for planting the idea and greasing the wheels. Also a massive thanks to the staff at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, Tim and Chris particularly, for their kindness and support. I hope I did well by them. My gratitude to the friends, fans and family who came to the shows to support me and the 108 guest artists (listed below), without whose generous gift of time and talent this show could not have thrived. Thank you and merci! It’s now time for me to refocus on Félix & the Cats, and our work on an upcoming EP. I happily pass on the torch to Lawrie Ingles and Henry Lees who will be taking the show in a new and exciting direction, and I have the great privilege of being a guest at their first show on July 31.

ABC Songwriters’ Circle Alumnae

Todd Aalgaard, Darrin Baldwin, Julian Battersby Morris, Bryn Besse (The Marwills), Douglas Bichan, Dan Boggs, Brett Bonvie (The Marwills), Fred Boutin, Sandra Bouza,
Boris Buhot, Mike Butcher, James Clark, Daniel Clarke, Finbar Conlon (the Pretty),
Michael Cuddy, Andre Dantas, Lucy Dee, Amber Durette, Gary Edward Allen,
Tyler Ellis, Jody Ferrer, Tim Cameron (T.C. Folkpunk), Kevin Foster, Ash Gallia,
Justine Giles, Rob Greenway. (Brilliant Fish), Elana Harte, Neil Hendry,
Claire Hunter, Robert Hyde, Sal Indigo, Lawrie Ingles, David Israelson, Just Jillian,
Paula Keast, Scott Kv, Kyris, Linda Lavender, m.e. law, James Law (The Marwills),
George Lazarus, K Lee Wilde, Henry Lees, Julie Long, Kayt Lucas, Brent Lunney,
David Macmichael, Neil MacNaughton, Kevan Maddison, David Madras,
John Mahler, Mark Martyre, Lilly Mason, Alex Matthews, Andrew Mazzolin,
Graeme McGillivray (The Marwills), Dean McKinnon, David McLachlan,
Michael Menegon, Fraz Milne, Fraz Milne, Mahta Moattari, Neil Morris,
Jesse Morrissey (The Marwills), John Muirhead, Mimi O’Bonsawin, Jeff Orson,
Blair Packham, Frank Patrick, Jordan Paul, Timothy Prueter, Augusta Ray,
Chelsea Reed, Arch Rockefeller, Shannon Roszell, Matthew Runaway, Jordan Safer,
Soozi Schlanger, Ryan Schmidt, Sarah Siddiqui, Bill Simms, Tara Smylie,
Sabrina Soares, Franck Solo, Eric Sorenson (G3neric), Don Stevenson,
Mary Stewart, David Storey, Jessica Stuart, Steve Taunton,
Daniel Taylor (Cedarstrip Rocketship), Sam Taylor, Hurricane Mike Thompson,
Greg Todd, Chris Topher, Carmen Toth, Jace Traz, Sahel Usin Rojas,
Phillip Vonesh, Veronica Sabah (Vroni), Chloé Watkinson,
Frank
Wilks, Chris Willson, Hugh Wilson, Leanna Yamada


Quaptych?

Another week, another record launch, this time it was the Marwills‘ turn at the Rivoli for the release of their latest album A Mother’s Worry, along with Emilie Mover, and Lenny Bull & The Main Offenders. It was a fun night and a good opportunity to hear full-on the songs from the album (played in its entirety) that the guys previewed when they guested at the songcircle a few weeks ago. The Marwills are now on the first leg of their release tour and I know they will tear it up!

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Graeme, Bryn, James, Brett and Jesse. They were joined by Jenie Thai, Savic Panylyk and Steven “Papa Steve” Falk for that big album sound!

That’s it for this week. Be well!

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TPOH POV

It was a great week for music.

Last Tuesday’s ABC SWC was loads of fun (more below), then Wednesday, Mrs. Félix and the Cats and I met with friends to catch a live performance by The Pursuit of Happiness at East Lynn Park, graciously sponsored by the Danny BIA. Opening for them was Jerry Leger, whom I mentioned just recently as part of my triptych series. Moe Berg and band were in great form, and I was pleasantly reminded of how many hit songs they put out, and what an iconic sound they have, with second guitarist Kris Abbott and vocalist Renee Suchy providing uniquely original female backing vocals that are instantly recognizable as TPOH.

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This past Thursday Leanna Yamada was back at ManCave Studio with violinist Daniela Gassi to add strings to one of her tracks. Despite the hot studio conditions, we managed to put in a solid 5 hour session and the results were impressive. I hope to share the mix with you soon. Daniela added inspired violin and viola tracks to take the song to a whole new level. There were a lot of smiles, some tears of joy, a highly enjoyed gin rickey.

daniela.jpgDaniela plays viola regularly in the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, as well as in semi-professional orchestras in and around Toronto.  She also performs with Brampton Music Theatre, playing violin in the pit orchestra for their musical productions. Outside of the classical realm, Daniela also performs as part of pop rock ensemble Three Seasons and the Move, and plays violin in many other indie bands (whoever needs violin). If you want to hear her live, she will be performing later this month with Ryan Bonner (Tides On Earth) and Leanna at the upcoming Music in the Park festival in Brooklin, Ontario on July 26th.


This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

Where does this talent keep coming from? Well, yeah, Australia in one case but also plenty of homegrown too! Thanks to TC FolkpunkSabina Soares and Ash Gallia for thoughtful and heartfelt songs and beautiful harmonies too this past Tuesday.

This coming week, we will explore more degrees of separation with my guests Cedarstrip Rocketship (aka Daniel Taylor), Phillip Vonesh with Annie Faiella, and late replacement and returning guest Fraz Milne. Songs and stories and so much more, as the Polka Door theme would say.

We’d love to say you there! Be well!

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ManCave Studio v2

As mentioned last week, I have been making changes to the layout at the olde ManCave Studio. Here is the update.

IMG_0579 2.jpgThe main change was relocating the control desk symmetrically in the centre of the space. That and the application of the ARC (advanced Room Correction) system made a significant improvement to the imaging and clarity of the mixes, so things are looking and sounding good! The drums were tucked into the corner, still having enough space to be played but not consuming the whole back end as before. Gear that had been hidden on the right of the drums behind the blanket is now piled up to the left of the desk (just off camera above) and across from the vocal “nook”. The listening couch is now squarely entered in front of the monitors for guests’ improved listening. I have a session scheduled later in the week so should be able to report back on how it is working out.

A special big thank you goes out to Ian Brown who donated some great gear this weekend: an Audio Technica ATM87R boundary microphone (commonly called a PZM) which has some interesting characteristics and may end up adding to drum recording, an Alesis NanoVerb and an Alesis NanoCompressor. These latter two may end up in the live setup. Some research is required.

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Canada Day

It would be considered distinctly un-Canadian to boast I live in the best (or nearly so according to the U.S. News annual Best Countries Report) country the world. Still, to politely celebrate our fabulous Canuckness, and torrid temperatures, good friend and performer has invited a bunch of musicos and relations to his place for pool dips, BBQ, plus a 6:30 performance at Stan Wadlow Park as The Johnny Blue Trio, with special guests Loudon Sharpe the Fifth and vocalist extraordinaire Donna Flynn. Sal will debut the brand new “East York Song”, so join us on the lawn this evening.


This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

This past Tuesday was a great show, great audience, including a lovely Scouse couple on holidays here, and a few dancers too! The perfect night at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club. Thanks to fans and friends who came to catch the show and to the band who let me be a wannabee Marwill for a bit! Just wished I’d remembered to have the “Move Like Brett” competition.

This coming Tuesday, we will explore more degrees of separation with my guests, Bella Larsen, Cedarstrip Rocketship (aka Daniel Taylor), and Phillip Vonesh plus one. Songs and stories and so much more, as the Polka Door them would say.

Do join us and be well!

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Evolution

Today’s blog will be brief as there is lots to do in other areas of my life.

ManCave Studio is in the midst of a rearrangement to make it better for mixing. I hope to be done for next week and post a few pictures. I’ve also added a ribbon mic (an ART AR5) and acoustic room correction hardware/software (the IK Multimedia ARC 2.5 system) to the toolbox so I hope to hear improved results.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have begun recording demos for other artists in the Cave. I also hope to start the long-deferred re-recording of FatCats songs for an eventual album release. I am open to advice and suggestions for any aspect of tracking. mixing and overall production. More on that as things develop.


A Family That Plays Together Stays Together

Hart House, University of Toronto

The missus and I had the pleasure of attending a birthday celebration for a friend of ours last night at U of T’s Hart House. It’s a gorgeous building and was a great setting for the bash, which included a live performance by ABC Songcircle alumnus, former The Nerve bandmate and journalist David Israelson, along with all three talented kids and wife Susan, whose birthday it was, on the drums. I think David has been reading up on my uncle George.

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A lovely family band, and a few guests.

This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

This past Tuesday was such a good show for such a small attentive audience. The occasional low turnout for the songcircle fortunately does not seem to faze those on stage having lots of fun. If you have seen the show, we’d appreciate you helping us get the word out. Thanks to m.e. law, Don Stevenson and Sarah Siddiqui for gracing the stage, and to friends who made it down.

This week, #34 is a VERY SPECIAL ALL-BAND edition, where we will have the entire Marwills on stage performing songs from their latest album and their solid hits, maybe some more obscure material, and talking about the special synergy that comes from composing in a band context. It will be a remarkable show! For bios, just click here.

If you happen to be on the Esplanade on Tuesday evening, you should hear us, so come on in to the Amsterdam Bicycle Club! If not, it will be worth the trip down.

I hope to see you there. Be well!

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Triptych – part 3

A triptych (/ˈtrɪptɪk/ TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχονtriptukhon” (“three-fold”), from tri, i.e., “three” and ptysso, i.e., “to fold” or ptyx, i.e., “fold”)[1][2] is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections…

Thanks for sticking with this little journey through album release land. I hope everyone is either enjoying a fabulous Father’s Day and/or being nice to your dad, which reminds me I need to call mine right after this is posted…

This final instalment is about mon ami Kyris, who was a guest at a recent and très spécial ABC Songcircle all en français. Kyris has just released Nous (meaning Us, or We, depending of context). The single and show finale, Le coeur du monde has just been released The setting was the Burdock, a lovely club in the west end with an excellent sound system and attentive technician. An enthusiastic crowd of francophones and francophiles showed up for a very strong and tight performance.

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This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

There were a lot of laughs and great stories last night at the #31 Songwriters’ Circle last Tuesday. Super thanks to Dean McKinnon , Salabama (aka Sal Indigo, aka Sal de Bain) and Robert Hyde for great songs, playing along and company!

This week, #32 has an awesome and eclectic lineup with songwriter and multi-instrumentalist m.e. law, singer, poet and raconteur Scar-Bro Pete, and legendary Moby Grape alumnus Don Stevenson. For bios, just click here!

I’m looking forward to this show and hope you can be there too! Be well!

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Triptych – part 2

A triptych (/ˈtrɪptɪk/ TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχονtriptukhon” (“three-fold”), from tri, i.e., “three” and ptysso, i.e., “to fold” or ptyx, i.e., “fold”)[1][2] is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections…

This week, in the second phase of a three-week album launch run, I got two for one as two past ABC Songwriters’ Circle guests were on stage at the same time.

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Kayt and the Hard Folk
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Nice shoes, Kayt!

Lead singer and octave mandolinist Kayt Lucas (show #24) was supported by a first rate band which includes another more recent ABC SWC alumnus, Michael Menegon (show #29) as well as featured guests guests. Kayt and the boys performed songs from their new album The Company of Kings for an appreciative audience. Kayt was ready and focused for the show, in excellent voice and fashionably attired.

 

This  coming Friday, June 15 for my third and final album release attendance, it’s Kyris‘ turn (show #28) for a Francovaganza at the Burdock, for his release of Nous. J’y suis!


This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

This past Tuesday was a hoot with Matthew RunawaySoozi Schlanger and Hurricane Mike Thompson. This week promises just a much fun with Toronto based musician and songwriter Lefty (aka Rob Hyde) will answer the question as to his nickname as he plays right-handed. Golden-voiced Dean McKinnon will reveal why David Macmichael wrote a song about him. Salabama aka Sal Indigo will regale us with tales of his southern sojourn this winter. For bios, just click here!

That’s it for this week. Be well!

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Triptych – part 1

A triptych (/ˈtrɪptɪk/ TRIP-tik; from the Greek adjective τρίπτυχονtriptukhon” (“three-fold”), from tri, i.e., “three” and ptysso, i.e., “to fold” or ptyx, i.e., “fold”)[1][2] is a work of art (usually a panel painting) that is divided into three sections…

And so it begins.

As mentioned last week, there are three CD release events on three consecutive Fridays in June from three past ABC Songwriters’ Circle guests. I have committed to attending all of them and reporting back.

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Challenging lighting at the Paddock. Sorry!

This past Friday was Just Jillian‘s event at the Paddock Tavern for the release of her 9-song album What Day Is It—great title by the way. Jillian was accompanied by stalwart friend and musical partner Carmen Toth on keyboard and vocals, with Aaron Comeau on bass, Kyle Sullivan on drums and Andrew Barker on lead guitar, the same core group that played on her EP. It was a solidly tight show, and Jillian was in great form, and warmly received. Here is a link to the album that evening.

This coming week, it’s on to the Dakota Tavern for Kayt Lucas and Hard Folk for their release of The Company of Kings.


This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

This week (June 5, 2018) at the ABC, a a very special “country” night, or as close as we can get. My guests will be authentic small town farm boy Matthew Runaway, song-painter Soozi Schlanger, well-known for the Zydeco faves Swamperella, and multi-instrumentalist “Hurricane” Mike Thompson. Yeehaw!

Y’all come down!

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Please Release Me

Just a quick work this week as the house is in upheaval due to painting, and I need to get that done.


Quick Thanks

I would remiss if I did not officially and on line thank former guest and country chansonnier Jeff Orson for the chance to be a part of his show last May 17. I appreciate the chance to happily noodle along to Jeff’s songs. He has just completed a performance at Tin Pan North presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) this past Friday May 25th at The Cadillac Lounge, a wonderful opportunity to showcase his superb songwriting.


Another FatCats Show Done

The Cats and I had a great time last night at the Amsterdam, and even got some patrons up dancing! Our next show is the “unplugged-ish” show at the lovely and cozy Dock on Queen on August 11, at a much earlier 9 pm.


June Is Not Just for Weddings

Three past guests at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle are having release events in the next few weeks, so please add these to your calendar.

Just Jillian, who played show #15 back in February, is launching her album, titled What Day Is It, at the Paddock Tavern this coming June 1 at 8 pm. Her special guest will be Gerry Leger & the Del Fi’s, fresh back from a European tour, so this should be a fun event.

The following Friday, June 8 at the Dakota Tavern from 7 to 9 pm, Kayt Lucas (show #24 in April) with her band the Hard Folk will be release their new EP, The Company of Kings.

Right after that, on June 15 from 6 to 9 pm, it’s Kyris‘ turn (show #28 last week). His EP, titled Nous, which means “Us” will be a very rare French language release in Toronto.

That should keep you busy!


This Week at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle

This week, a super lineup of talent is coming your way at the songcircle, with roots-based Toronto singer and songwriter Michael Menegon, folk-rocker John Muirhead and master song craftsman Blair Packham. Getting these guys in a room together is a very special event, so I do urge you to attend.

So, are you coming? Until then, be well!

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Shameless

Bullhorn Clipart - Clipart SuggestTime to self-promote. The next few weeks include some unusual shows that are worth crowing about. The first is an all-French show at the ABC this Tuesday, and the second is a concert performance at the Opera House on June 1. Details are below.


Le French Show

header-abc-fb-281.jpgFirst up this Tuesday is my usual weekly ABC Songwriters’ Circle, but with a certain je ne sais quoi. In fact, I know quoi, as it will be an ALL-FRENCH songwriters’ circle, featuring some friends made at an earlier Franc’Openmic I attended: Fred Boutin, Kyris and Franck Solo. The experience also led me to finally getting around to writing more French songs, some original, and some translations of already performed Félix & the Cats tunes. Even if you don’t understand French, please make it down, and we can talk you through the songs.

Mardi en première, une édition spéciale du ABC Songwriters’s Circle mettra en relief la chanson française telle que composée et interprétée par mes invités  Fred Boutin, Kyris et Franck Solo. L’idée d’un show en français me chicote depuis quelque temps. Ayant eu la chance de rencontrer mes invités à un Franc’Openmic récent, l’idée s’est concrétisée. En plus, ça m’a donné le coup de pouce nécessaire pour élargir mon répertoire français, soit en chansons originales, ou en traduction de tounes Félix & the Cats anglaises existantes. Voici donc une chance unique de nous entendre élaborer sur processus de nos compositions d’échanger des anecdotes intéressantes concernant leur contexte. J’espère que vous serez des nôtres en grand nombre!


FatCats in Concert

An opportunity just came up to participate in a multi-band concert put on by Kickstand Sound at the Opera House this coming June 1, 2018. I have seen friends (and ABC songcircle guests) Fraz Milne and Chloé Watkinson at this venue and was impressed with the quality of the sound and lighting. This will be our first show in a concert setting, along with 6 other groups. At this point, we have not been told our slot, although we have requested something earlier as we know most of you prefer that.

We really would appreciate your support on this one and hope you can make it. The tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, so a better deal to get them now. To order tickets, please email me at felixandthecats@icloud.com.

Hoping to catch you at one or more of these shows, be well!

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Swaparama

This past Sunday, I finally made it back to Relish Bar and Grill to perform my cover of the incomparable Jace Tracz’s song “It’s That Simple“. Why you may wonder…

A few months ago, co-host David Macmichael suggested that all the regular performers do each others’ songs just to see what would happen. After a few name changes, it seems the project has settled on Relish Recovery. The concept has been greeted with great enthusiasm, and is now entering its second round. So, after much procrastination and self-doubt (how do you personalize Jace’s perfect pop gems?) I put myself out there and did it. Here below is evidence of that attempt, warts and all. Thanks to Jace for tolerating my hack of his song and Joanne Clayton for posting on Facebook. The original version can be found here.


However, the fun did not end there, as fellow regular Jody Ferrer (Jody and the Friendzone), not content with simply covering my “Difficult People”, chose to refashion it and parody it to fit my circumstance. I smiled the whole song through.

 


This Week at The ABC Songwriters’ Circle

It will be an eclectic mix of talent this Tuesday as my guests will be James ClarkClaire Hunter and Chris Topher. I’m not quite sure how that will blend together, but it WILL be interesting and it will be GOOD, so do come down.

I also want to give all the francophone readers out there the heads-up that the following Songcircle show on May 22 will be en français. Check out my Facebook page for more on that or here on Wednesday.

Pour plus de renseignements, prière de m’écrire à felixandthecats@icloud.com.


Special Performance

Not content with once a week at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, I will be there again this Thursday along with country chansonnier Jeff Orson for a tête-à-tête performance (sense a theme here?). It will be in English, so all of you who didn’t pay attention in French class can breath as sigh of relief. In two weeks, it’s the full-on Cats back at the ABC on May 26 for a rockin’ Saturday night show.

I look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, be well!

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