Quarantunes – Thanks TC! Loop

TC Folkpunk
TC Folkpunk

The title of this post is respectfully ripped off from TC Folkpunk.

As social isolation has led to severely constricted stimulus, I was despairing of finding something interesting for you to read about this week. Perhaps that is the case most weeks…

Anyhoo, just in time, I receive one of TC’s newsletters, “headered” the aforementioned and plagiarized Quarantunes. That unblocked me.

I’ve mentioned TC a few times in the past, and now seems a good time to highlight why I think he is such a good song craftsman. TC’s songs explore themes of love and social injustice (link those however you will) liberally sprinkled with sharp insights and puns (my fave). A few years back, he produced an instrumental side project called That Satisfying Crunch!.

ShadowsEncouraged (nagged) to put out a follow up, TC worked with musical acquaintances the Bumblebats (not quite close friends, not quite strangers?) and lo-and-behold, Standing in the Shadows of Moncton is now available on Bandcamp. 

Listening to songs I’ve frequently heard TC sing but where now the melody is carried instrumentally emphasized just how well constructed his songs are. I particularly admire the way chord sequences sometimes go in unexpected directions, yet the unabashedly pop melody consistently holds the song together.

And of course there is the word play in the album and three of the four song titles. As loath as I am normally to explain jokes, I will make an exception by linking these to their original references, as best I understand them.

Just this once.

Standing in the Shadows of Monctonfabulous documentary

Move It On Oeuvrewhat would Hank think?

Lucy In the Sky with Linuspretty obvious except for the under-rock dwellers

Theme from The Cartridge Family – a double reference here and here

(TC, please let me know if any are wrong.)

As an important side note, please remember that working musicians are particularly challenged right now in earning a living as gigs have essentially disappeared. You can help them by linking to their sites, provided in this blog and copied below, and buying their music on line!

https://tcfolkpunk.bandcamp.com

https://thatsatisfyingcrunch.bandcamp.com/releases

https://thebumblebats.bandcamp.com/album/standing-in-the-shadows-of-moncton

Until next time, wash your hands, stay home and be well!

signature

Hunker in the Bunker

As we all adjust to a new reality, the challenge for this blog will be to find inspiration with much less outside stimulus.

At least I have the studio to keep me busy. Others seem to have already begun to reach out from isolation with virtual open mic’s and online collaboration. I hope to be able to something along those lines soon as well.

I wish everyone good health. Stay home and wash your hands! And be well!

Other Priorities

As our world begins to simultaneously expand and shrink, this may be a good time to make adjustments.

For me, it could mean taking more time on mixes, working on long-mothballed songs and learning more about recording techniques (thank you Internet!). Some household chores may get done more regularly too. All good!

Downside is no more catching other people perform for the next few weeks or maybe months, and some FatC shows in jeopardy.

At least I don’t have to make a living at this and my thoughts go out to artists, and service industry people whose lives are frozen in place. It will be hard, but when it’s over, please make it a point to tip both generously. They will need it badly.

Be safe and be well!

Earschplittenloudenboomer

I’ll leave it up to readers to suss out the title of this post…

It does convert the theme well enough regardless of whether or not you catch the reference, as both a at Winterfolk and this past week at the Linsmore, I was sound tech.

In both instances, I mixed sound from right in front of one of the FOH (front of house) speakers. The Tranzac offered me no choice, but at the Linsmore, it was my choice to bring my own mixer, and use the club’s as a power amp only. The reason is that the house mixer is BEHIND the band, so every adjustment means going on stage while the band is on. Simply not on, as far as I’m concerned.

On the plus side, besides being far less disruptive for the show, the sound quality was much easier to manage and I think made for a good mix, according to both the players and the audience comments I received. Thanks!Warning - Loud Music! Triangle Sticker | Zazzle

On the negative side, it was pretty intense given the console was about a metre from the speaker, especially when the band’s dynamics reached more energetic levels. Nothing wrong with the levels per se in the club further out, just loud up close.

This brought me to investigate hearing protection, which up until now I have not used (tsk, tsk) but I intend on investing in should I do this again. I found this site that does a good job of comparing models based on a variety of factors (cost, comfort, sound quality, etc.). I thought it may be a useful link for others too. Enjoy!

Until next time, be well!

signature

Winterfolk XVIII Wrap Up

Last weekend was very busy, hence the advance post last time, but as promised, here is the wrap-up of this year’s Winterfolk ex-vee-eye-eye-eye (that’s 18 for the non-classically schooled types).
I had three shifts: Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The job was to help the performers set up, make sure everything was plugged in right and then make it sound good for the audience and the people on stage. Things got off to a great start at the Southern Cross room in the Tranzac Club, particularly working with Lori Campbell on Sound Assist. Saturday and Sunday, I worked solo, but was fortunate to have both Kevin Gould and Aaron Fund Salem drop in at transition times to help with the set up, and make fun of me for my choice of mics. All kidding aside, these guys are consumate professionals and I can’t thank them enough for their patience, expertise and trust. I would be remiss in not also thanking Jen Arima who coordinated the volunteers and made the whole event run seamlessly.

Below are the artists I had the pleasure of hearing and mixing.

All the performers were great, as you’d expect from a well-curated festival like Winterfolk. One aspect stood out for me, and that was the new young talent that appeared for the first time. This is a great move by the organizers to attract new audiences and expose them to established performers too.

Three in particular were notable for me.

The first was an Australian duo named Saije, whose sound was considerably larger than you’d expect from only two people. Great harmonies, interesting tunings and a cool use of percussion (hand and foot) showed what could perhaps be the new direction of folk music. Follow the link: well worth checking out.

IMG_2713
Saije in foreground, Howard Gladstone, Taylor Abrahamse (centre back)

Another new artist to Winterfolk was Just Jillian. I have known of Jillian for a few years now, first way back when she played in Remote Wonder who were a regular at the Only Café Saturday open mic. She even guested once at my now defunct ABC Songwriters’ Circle. It was great to hear the songs from her album What Day Is It and see how she continues to grow confidently.

Perhaps Taylor Abrahamse was the most interesting discovery for me, although he’s been around for a while despite his young age (hey, he has his own Wikipedia entry). Rather than go on about him, I suggest following the link to his YouTube channel. He is about to drop and album produced by the legendary (and I don’t use that word lightly) Eddie Kramer, who also has a Wikipedia entry.


Out and About

If you’re looking for a fun and cheap event on Tuesday, come to the Linsmore for Indie Tuesdays from 8 to 11. I’ll be doing sound for the Trollblazers at 8, Gary Edward Allen at 9 and Krove at 10. Eclectic doesn’t begin to describe what this will be like!

Hope to see you there and be well!

signature

The Grass is Always Bluer

This post was prepped in advance as I will be deeply immersed in Winterfolk over the weekend.

Thursday night, a meet and greet was held in the Tiki room at the Tranzac club for volunteers and performers. It was a good opportunity to connect before the shows. While there, I caught part of a set by regular Thursday night feature Houndstooth, an excellent group with a well deserved rep for being one of the best bluegrass bands in Toronto. I highly recommend catching them whenever you can.

As someone interested in audio, I noted that the group was using a hybrid version of the One Mic Technique, used by bluegrass bands everywhere. The idea is to have one central high quality microphone in the centre of the stage with the musicians gathered around in a semicircle. Whichever musician has a featured part moves closer to the mic to be heard better, then backs away. It makes for interesting stage movement an better photo ops. Houndstooth used this approach, but added two more mics placed waist high that work better for the guitar, mandolin and banjo.

More on Winterfolk in next week’s post. Until then, be well!

MixMaster?

Sunbeam® Mixmaster® White Stand Mixer

Things are going to get busy this week as I have a few recording sessions scheduled. Plus, as of Friday, I will be mixing sound throughout the weekend at Winterfolk, as mentioned in a previous post. Tickets are still available and a really great way to catch outstanding music. I am looking forward to this, not just for the experience of mixing, but just for the pleasure of hearing so many great performers.


And speaking of great performers…

Planning a bit further ahead, I recommend catching The Lonely Hearts at the Dakota on Friday February 28th. I already have my tickets and hope to see many friends there as well. TLH always deliver a great show! Tickets are selling quickly so get them here asap!

Image may contain: one or more people and beard, possible text that says 'THE LONELY HEARTS LIVE AT THE DAKOTA FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28 10PM $10'

Until next time, be well!

signature

ManCave Studio Diary #7 – Tales from the Drum Booth

This week’s post will be almost all about the studio, but I will let FatC drummer extraordinaire Chris Bender speak for himself.

Chris post
More photos here.

I hope to able to confirm a new show at the Dock on Queen sous peu. In the meantime, mark your calendar for Chris and Fraz Milne’s appearance at C’est What? along with another fave, the James Clark Institute on February 29.

Fraz and James

Until next week, be well!

signature

Magical Mystery Tour

Winterfolk XVIIIStep right this way!

Yesterday was a big musical day.
First off, there was the Winterfolk XVII volunteer meet up at the Tranzac Club, which is the new venue for this popular and enduring musical event. Check out the link above for details. Anyway, this year, I will be mixing sound in a couple of the rooms, so you know who to blame if things go awry.

But sheer coincidence, Matthew Davies and Dave Stoyles of Monkey Fighting’ Snakes were scheduled to perform later in the afternoon, so it seemed a no-brainer to stick around for their show. As the Tranzac has almost non-stop programming, I also had the chance to catch a set by artists who are also on the bill for the above-mentioned festival, notably Howard Gladstone, Lynn Harrison and Laura Fernandez, very ably accompanied by Bob Cohen, a fave sideman of many artists I know. I look forward to more of their songs at Winterfolk.

After their set, Dave and Matthew set up to accompany John Victor. Opening for them was Barbara Lynch, new to me, and quite a revelation. Her poignant and often humorous songs were supported by great blues/ragtime/boogie virtuosity. Below is a sample of a song that some involves “locust” and “boogie” in the same title, and you can listen to her studio album on Apple Music or other tunes captured at the Tranzac on John Victor’s Facebook timeline.

Following her set, John, Matt and Dave performed a tasty set of original tunes, which you can listen to in rehearsal on his Facebook page. I had the opportunity to chat briefly with his John’s brother, Juno award winning producer Michael Wojewoda, helping out on sound. Wow!

IMG_2682.jpg
Dave Stoyles on bass, John Victor on guitar and Matthew Davies on Dobro, guitar and banjo

As a bunch of other musical types showed up for this, we were hungry, and it was Stir-It-Up Sunday, we all transited to Relish for a fun evening of open-mic’ness.

IMG_2685.jpg
Dave and Matthew insatiable for more playing, along with the superb Paul Brennan on drums.

It was a chance to première a brand new song, and play a familiar one. I got home a bit late…

Oh, and some kind of sport thing happened too.

Go Ti-Cats!


Gig Update

The previously announced show at the Dock on Queen has to be deferred due to scheduling conflict. A new date is in the works.

Now I rest. Be well!

signature

Double-Double

The Black Swan show this past Sunday was a lot of fun as well as a satisfying challenge. Not only did the Cats+ (with the amazing Omar Saab on rhythm guitar) perform a mega-set to open, we played two sets with special guest Chris Scian, which involved prepping a bunch of songs some of us had never played. It all came off very well.

Here are some samples.


Gig Alert!

Following this “Two-Chrises” event, the Swan’s management were so pleased, they offered us a last-minute slot for this coming Friday. The show starts at 10 PM so we are looking forward to seeing all you night-owlish fans.Header Black Swan Jan 31.jpg

‘Til then, be well!

signature