A Tale of Two Cities – Blues Edition

It’s been a while, hasn’t it!

Not for lack of interest, but more a lack of material.

Fortunately, things seem to have eased up enough for me to get out there, really out there, and catch some live shows. So, on this long-deferred holiday in Europe, I was able to catch two shows at two very different bars in two very different cities.

The first venue was a club in Glasgow, the Howlin’ Wolf. It was a Sunday night, perfect for open mic/jams and that was exactly what I found. The house band, Killing Floor (all you Blues people will get that) opened the evening, then a continuous flow of guests went on stage for 3 or 4 songs each. Excellent playing throughout, leaning more towards the rockier end of the scale (tapping anyone?). Vocally, some standout performances, particularly by bassist/singer and performance rustler Charlotte Marshall, who played with calm confidence and sang with a Steve Marriot like intensity. I wish I could have stayed longer.

A few days later, more blues in Reykjavik, Iceland. This on a Thursday night at a club called Dillon. A more straightforward performance (no jammers), local band Beggi Smári performed blues with a slight jazz inflection, at least from what I could tell from the guitarist’s approach.

The latter had a more subdued vibe than the packed larger club in Glasgow, with the audience more attentive, concert like. Still, both shows featured solid playing by the rhythm section, and a fair bit of flash by the guitarists. On the vocal front, Glasgow was a slam dunk. Sorry Reykjavik!

You can hear for yourself in these two videos. Enjoy!

The Wayling Sessions

How It Started

It’s been a long time since the last post. A combination of distractibility, lack of discipline, isolation and Zeitgeist anxiety meant I had neither the focus or the material to maintain a regularly published blog.

On the positive side, that time off led to new opportunities and a safe, flexible way to get things done on the studio side.

Late in 2021, I received a message from Chris Bender, our brilliant FatC drummer, about an opportunity to sit in as a second guitarist in another band he was playing with, Wayling James. That’s where I met Tim Wayling, the lead singer and and co-composer in the group.

I began to think about how his voice might fit well (read better) over my songs. He kindly agreed to try out a few songs that inspired him.

The Process

All tracks were recorded remotely, guitars, keys, some bass and back up vocals here*, better bass at NeMo’s, drums at Chris’s, main vocals and harmonica at Tim’s. All tracks were Dropboxed back and forth, then mixed here at Mancave Studio.

Devil’s Blues

Probably the most interesting song in terms of process. It was originally tracked on an iPad mini while on holiday in Ireland. I originally wrote about it here, including the original demo. To update it, Chris recorded “real” drums to replace the Garageband programmed version, and of course Tim replaced all my vocals—thank you! All the guitars were as originally tracked with a Dano Pro through an iRig interface directly into the iPad. The clarinet bit and the bass were tapped onto the iPad using Garageband’s built-in interface. To remix, everything was imported into Logic Pro X.

Old Man Blues

The oldest tune on the mini EP, it’s been a standard in our live shows for years. This one was re-tracked in Logic as the original multitrack GB file was lost, although the demo is still around. Probably for the best anyway. Tim brought to it his harmonica (which I had always wanted for that tune), and an inspired performance on vocals.

I Know (Back In the Doghouse)

As this was the third song worked on together, we were now pretty comfortable with the process. This is another one where the original multitrack was lost although a mixed emo was around. Once I removed the vocals using an online algorithmic website that was used as a bed track for everyone’s parts. I also used a reverse process to isolate my original vocals. Although the latter produced some odd digital artifacts, I ended up adding that in a little bit on some verses as background, just cause.

So in the end, besides the bit of BU vox mentioned above, everything was redone, and far better than the original IMHO.

Next Steps

Well, I hope you will go to our Bandcamp site to listen to the songs in full! There is a download link (PWYW). If you haven’t already, you can also check out some earlier songs.

As for us, honestly, at the time of writing, I don’t know. I am still cautious about a return to live performing, and herding these Cats is always intrinsically challenging due to our various musical and life commitments. All I can say is stay tuned.

Until then, be well!

Life in the FatC Lane

I’d almost forgotten about this blog.

Truth is, pandemic distractions, a major commitment to a yard project, and a flurry of new tunes kept me away (squirrel!).

I also finally finished the formal recording of an oldie that anyone who has seen us live will know: Bowling for Dolores. It took on a life of its own as these things are occasionally prone to do, and sounds quite a bit different from the live version. Special thanks to the band Neil and Chris for playing and waiting, and warmest gratitude to Daniela Gassi for much violin goodness and her indulgence in letting me “fiddle” with the takes she sent.

Hopefully we can once again meet in person and hear this one live. Until then, be well!


It took a little longer than expected, partly for reasons shown in the photo below, but the next single is finally out on Bandcamp.

Down went the internet.

Auto-Tune Me Out could be interpreted as the listener pleases, of course, but to me it resonates as a comment on how live performers in clubs (way back when) would sometimes be ignored. I introduced this song as a demo last August and this is the finalized product. A massive thank you to Chris Bender for hours of work on drums and backup vocals that really make this track pop. Also, thanks to my vocal coach way back, Jaclyn Serre, whose guidance and advise provided inspiration for the lyrical metaphor.

I’m hoping to have another tune ready for January, provided the migration from my 2008 Mac Pro to a brand spanking new Mac mini M1, a new OS AND a new Focusrite interface goes smoothly. So far so ok…some plugins don’t work so workarounds will be required.

Finally, it’s with great sadness that I heard that Relish Bar & Grill closed its doors for good this week. They hung in there valiantly but pandemic and financial pressures were too much for owner Joanne Clayton. Her farewell comments on social media held a note of optimism for a rebirth down the line. Let’s hope so as Relish was a deeply significant turning point in my life. I will always be grateful to Joanne and all her great staff, and ready to help when the phoenix rises again from the ashes.

So What Took You So Long?

Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been

The Grateful Dead

Those who know me well have heard me talk about finally putting out my music…for a while now.

The day has finally come.

Although one song has already been put online through the Stir It Up Someday compilation, this current release is the first officially on the Félix and the Cats “label”, and a staple of our regular set list, in those days when we actually played live.

So here it is: Movin’ and Shakin’ the World on Bandcamp.

I want to thank Chris and Neil for sticking with me and going above and beyond in getting me the tracks to finally get this one properly recorded. Any errors in the mix are my own, but never let the perfect be the enemy of the good, or at least kinda okay.

I hope you like it!

Be safe and be well!


ManCave Studio Diary #8 – Console-ation

Fraz Milne at Relish on September 18, 2020

This pandemic-enforced isolation has provided an opportunity to spend more time and energy on recording projects. Other than catching one live show (Fraz Milne’s Looper Madness at Relish), things have been consistently anchored to home.

This has provided an opportunity to work on new songs, some in the works as I write this, and collaborating with the band to record parts remotely.

However, and with all the necessary precautions, a few sessions have taken place here down in the ManCave, namely with Arch Rockefeller to track drums played in the cozy drum booth by the masterful Alonzo Moore for an upcoming album. Both are consummate professionals and I thank them for their patience as I continue to learn better techniques to record. The opportunity to get more and better gear is a benefit as well.

I’ve also had a chance to work with other friends to mix their songs: Salabama’s upcoming full album release has been pushed back due to the pandemic, so the plan for now may be to release singles as the tunes are done and mastered. There should be something up soon, so keep your eyes open on social media.

Chris Scian has also been a guest to discuss mixing techniques, which led to a reissue of his song Frontline, which is embedded below.

Lastly, Omar Saab, frontman for The Lonely Hearts, and soon to be son-in-law, has been beavering away in his home studio in Hamilton on original material. His first release, under the Mean Streaks banner is Teenage Rush which is also included in this post. Omar also put together the video for this song.

I hope you will take a moment to listen to these two artists’ songs.

I should have another post for you in November, provided the pandemic doesn’t get in the way. As such, as urge everyone to be extra cautious as we enter this second wave.

Be safe and well!



One benefit to the pandemic has been a chance to re-examine the tasks to which I have committed myself. Some new ones have been initiated, some strengthened, and a few may have to fall by the wayside.

Amongst the latter, this blog has been a consideration.

After some reflection, I have decided to change this blog’s publication frequency as compelling content seems harder to come by and, as you may have noticed, the length of the posts has grown shorter since I began a few years back.

Starting this month, the posts will appear monthly and will feature a greater number of smaller announcements, in many cases likely summaries of social media posts which I hope to make better use of. It will also allow me to devote more time to recording and practising, which need attention.

Things are in the works so there will be content, which I look forward to sharing with you next in October.

Until then, be safe and well!

Limited Edition

This is a teaser, which I hope will end up meeting expectations.

When I was teaching, I noticed that often the most creative ideas occurred when there were limits imposed. This is not anything innovative on my part; perhaps I should have read more professional literature. This article from Fast Company goes into the subject in greater detail.

Still, that experience stuck with me, so I recently decided to test myself by imposing clear parameters to the writing of the next song: a common root note for all the chords and constrained writing for the lyrics (inspired by It’s still in development so no previews yet, but so far, it’s producing interesting results.

Live music is making a comeback, and I’m very glad that is happening for a lot of reasons. I hope musicians and audiences alike will continue to be safe. It’s tempting after months of being cooped up to want to celebrate, and adding alcohol into the mix could make some people forget themselves and the sanitary habits that have kept the pandemic relatively contained. Perhaps more than ever, it’s important to be cautious.

Until next time, be well!

Autoneurotic Channelization

I don’t have very good pitch control when it comes to singing. That’s all on me as I should spend more time exercising it. I did pay for the lessons after all, and might still be attending had my coach not moved out of town—good for her too as she has started her own studio and is engaged as well.

To make up for the most flagrant warbles, I have gone over to the dark side and started using what my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) calls Flex Pitch. When applied in moderation, pitch correction helps correct slight (ha!) variations from true pitch, but when applied more thickly, an exaggerated correction results in an effect made initially famous by Cher in her smash hit Believe, and heard ad nauseam in modern tunes ever since, the infamous auto-tune.

I’ve also had a hankering to haul out my underused Danelectro 12-string electric (shown at right) and write something old school riffy.

Why not put both together? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Add to that the ever-present phenomenon of someone ignoring a conversation when “lost in a good phone”—or how some audience less-than-attentive audience members behave—and you have the foundation of this latest original. This version for now is limited by me on all instruments, except drums, which are programmed on Logic. I’m hoping to update once the boys in the band can apply their magic. Hope you like it.

Auto-Tune Me Out ©2020 R. Pelletier/Feelix & the Cats

Until next time, be safe and well!

More Goodness

Just a short one this week, as I spent most of the day dealing with an appliance malfunction.

The Stir It Up Someday compilation is getting good reactions. Gary17 who puts out the Toronto Moon guide to live music included a nice writeup in today’s edition.

I’ve gone back and listened to the album again and continue to be impressed with the quality of this project, especially considering the challenges of working remotely in many cases.

And speaking of remote projects, here is one covering acoustically U2‘s With Or Without You. The bassist worked with me as a music teacher at a school for a year. She impressed everyone with her creativity and organization, and the kids loved her!

Until next time, be safe and be well!