I was out of town for a good part of the week, but found a few minutes to explore local music stores in the eastern Québec community I was visiting. I walked into a pawn shop, and like a siren the guitar pictured below called my name. Like in the myth, I was unable to resist, and brought this one home. For those interested in such things, here is more on the Dano Pro.


Shows This Week!

Wednesday Night Triple Threat at the Salty Dog (8-12) and Friday Two’s Company with NeMo at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club (10:30 – 2:00). Please come down for good and original time! Details are on the right in the sidebar.

New Song

As alluded to last week, a new song emerged from my last evening at Legends, so without delay, here is a first rough mix for your enjoyment.

Keep It Simple ©2017 R. Pelletier/Félix & the Cats

Verse 1
I was not ready for the four
Why can’t I get a little more?
I had built up a head of steam
Things did not live up to my dreams


Verse 2
So now I stand here foolishly
A victim of my fantasy
A tube stuck firmly in my mouth
My prospects quickly heading south

I was just getting started
Now I am broken hearted
I did not keep it sensible
I missed a basic principle

Keep it simple (x3)

Verse 3
I’m in a tailspin going down
Looping around and round and round
Try to adapt but there’s no doubt
There is no nice way to get out

Pre-chorus + Chorus

Solo over verse

Verse 4
I’ve often had these dismal thoughts
And would be depressed were it not
For friendly bad ass bottleneckers
To fend off noisy drunken hecklers
It’s in the true and simple things
That I can best spread out my wings
No fancy footwork is required
And honesty is most admired

Pre-chorus + Chorus

Both guitar and song may première at Relish tonight…tbd.

Thanks for listening! Until next week, be well!


Loop de Loop

Things get complicated.

Sometimes from outside events, but often from my own wacky self-expectations.

Take in point the recent use of loopers in my live shows. For those who are not gear-heads, “loopers” are a type of guitar effect pedal that allows the player to record a phrase and have it play back indefinitely in a loop, hence the name.

0000746_tc-electronic-ditto-looper-pedalSounds simple so far? No so much in reality. The first looper I had (thanks to Mrs. Félix & the Cats) was a T.C. Electronics Ditto Looper, pictured on the right, a fine example of Danish craftmanship. The device sounds amazing and the function could not be easier: click once to record, click once to stop recording AND playback, click TWICE QUICKLY (ha!) to stop. Hitting the button just right is everything: too soon or too late and the phrase is clipped, and double tapping to stop is like dancing the flamenco with 5-quart stock pots on your feet, especially with my timing challenged appendages. “Well, thought I, I can fix that.” There is another model with more switches on it. Because, as all rock guitarists know, what we need are more switches. See below:

The mini pedalboard (vs the micro and regular version).

Yes, the new improved Ditto X2 Looper (far left above) now has its own loop on/off switch. All kidding aside, it is MUCH easier to work with and control than the micro version, now passed onto #1 daughter’s boyfriend. So, the looper has found its way into more recent acoustic and electric shows with mixed success. While sometimes exhilaratingly great in rehearsal at home, where the calm environs of ManCave Studio allow for sharp focus and pinpoint tapping precision, live shows have proven to be more challenging.

Sometimes the adrenaline rush of performance has made for an accelerated start, and other times the on/off switching has not been as precise (the pedal compensates a bit but is not fully klutz-proof) have made for tricky interpretations, because when locked in, it is hard to correct on the fly. Regardless, it makes for a lot of I’ll-get-it-better-next-time moments, and I will. At least that’s what I keep thinking.

Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

Week in Summary

Poster for SaltyThe last-minute Linsmore show this past Tuesday made up for in attention what it lacked in numbers and we had a great time. Thanks to Michael Cuddy and T.C. Folkpunk (no relation to the pedals) for great performances. Michael and I will be together again along with Sal Indigo in a few weeks at the Salty Dog, on August 2 (see poster on the right).

Thursday was at Legends for Gary Edward Allen and Amber Dutette’s open mic. I brought out some exotic gear for giggles and novelty. Some amazing talent performed that evening (and many others), so it is with some regret that I will be missing the next two months due to travel and other shows, but I recommend this one. The evening provided some inspiration for lyrics, so perhaps there will be a new song to première here next week.

On Saturday, I caught a couple of sets of my friend Fraz Milne‘s show at Sauce, on the Danforth. Fraz played with bandmate Chris Bender, on percussion and backing vocals, for a very absorbing show at a lovely venue. Thanks to Michelle Belisle, owner/manager and talent curator, for helping make Danforth East such a supportive place for music! Fingers crossed for a show there for FatC in the future…

Until next week, be well!


Old Dogs, New Tricks – Part 2

I’ve mentioned in a few posts about the vocal classes with Jaclyn Serre (and through Elite Music Academy). After a couple of months of strictly exercises, we have moved onto sessions where, after warmups, I’ve asked Jaclyn to listen to my songs and look at how they could be improved. The first tackled was “Loud Girl“, which I wrote about back in May. Through Jaclyn’s tact and honesty (hard to find together sometimes), I transposed the key down one whole step, and re-recorded the entire demo. Although it loses some of the more plaintive quality the higher key provides, it is probably a more comfortable thing to sing (and probably listen to). Here they are side-by-side. Let me know what you think.

Loud Girl ©2017 R. Pelletier/Félix and the Cats (in B minor) 

Loud Girl ©2017 R. Pelletier/Félix and the Cats (in A minor) 

New Gig Alerts

I’m happy to report that I will be at the Linsmore Tavern this coming Tuesday, July 18, as part of the Indie Tuesday series, with good friends Michael Sheen Cuddy, and T.C. Folkpunk. The show starts at 8:00, with Michael, me in the middle at 9:00, and T.C. headlining at 10:00. We are thinking this will be a three-solo-guys-with-electric-guitars kinda show. Look for irony.

Also coming soon, and in a similar format, I will hosting the first, and if things go well, not last Triple Threat Night on Wednesday, August 2 at the Salty Dog on Queen Street East. My guests will be Michael Cuddy and Sal Indigo. Show starts at 8:00 and goes to about midnight. Thanks Danny at the Salty Dog for giving us the chance to do this.

Finally, a reminder that two days after, NeMo and I will be playing a “Two’s Co.” show at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, starting at about 10:30.

IMG_0151 (1)Telecaster Kit Project

The guitar I was building from a kit was fine sanded, buffed and assembled this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that the nut (for non-guitar peeople: the part of the guitar the strings go over to reach the tuning pegs) did not come play-ready slotted, but rather left up to the builder to set to taste. Since I don’t have the right tools to do this properly, it was off to the 12th Fret for that and a set-up. There goes any economy I thought I’d reap from a DIY approach, but it has been a valuable learning project, and I’m still very happy with the product. It bodes well for future “Frankenguitar” options. The guitar should take a few weeks to come back to me as the “Fret” is very busy.

Until next week, be well!


New Rhythm

Here I am after my first week of freedom. Honestly, I am still adjusting, and all the possibilities come with their own set of choices, and sometimes stresses, albeit welcome ones.

Work on the studio is ongoing, with this week focused on upgrades: my Edirol baby monitors which honestly could not be relied upon for any balanced mix have been sent upstairs to the living room where they make fine multimedia speakers. In their place, a pair of YSM-5s, which are at least twice as large, despite the image below, and considerably clearer. A good entry level choice I think, given the space and the $ available, and support for a fine Canadian company, my alma mater Yorkville Sound Inc.


Also on the to-do list was finishing my Solo Telecaster. After a disastrous attempt at staining, which looked much better in my imagination than in reality, I sanded everything back down to raw wood, and went with the simple and true clear lacquer approach. I’m looking forward to Tuesday when after curing, I can buff and  assemble this thing. Hopefully I can report back next Sunday on completion.

Not having to worry as much about “the next morning” has also made it possible to check out weekday shows, and I have taken advantage of that, budget limitations notwithstanding.

First on my calendar was Taylor Harp, who was playing a set at the Supermarket in Kensington. This was my first time in the room, which has a superb sound system, for which you have the privilege of paying $10 cover on a Wednesday. The beer is well priced though, and the show excellent, so it all worked out. People gotta get paid somehow!

Here he is playing Lost Love (verse 2) that evening. The audience was very attentive, including the guy whose head is in the shot.

Friday was devoted to checking out the Fraz Milne Band at the Opera House. Again a first time for me at the venue. The opening act was a tad loud, but the venue sells ear plugs for a modest $2. I had a brief but lovely conversation with one of the Ellinas family, owners of the place. Please click through on the link above for a history of the place; quite remarkable. Fraz, Robin and Chris were second up, and looked and sounded comfortable and ready for this show. The PA crew quickly adjusted to their style after the first song. Sal, MichaelLynn and I thank you, Fraz, for not wearing shorts!

Photo courtesy Sal Indigo. L to R: Fraz Milne, Robin Latimer and Chris Bender.

Saturday, it was down to Jimmy Simpson Park for the Jazz Fest, featuring the always entertaining Arsenals, with my guy NeMo on bass. I wrote more extensively about them a while back — see Skalicious. They will be back to play Streetfest for 3 nights (July 27-29, 7-11 PM) in front of Shoppers Drug Mart/Kew Gardens – 2000 Queen St. EIt will be worth your while to check them out! I’m hoping they can come back and play a good room in the East End soon as well. Eton House, you listening?

Today, I gotta get back to the voice exercises before my vocal coach disowns me. Tonight will be a big night at Relish as the community is wishing Will Meadows buen viaje y buena suerte as he moves to Austin, TX to pursue his destiny with Whitney Rose.

One last thing… I have added on the right sidebar links to Brilliant Fish’s excellent radio show, The Upstream. Please click through and enjoy!

Until next week then, be well!


Crossing the Rubicon

The week has been momentous.

First on Tuesday, Tim Prueter, Sal Indigo and I played the Linsmore Indie Tuesday show. What a lovely receptive audience we had! It was all a first for me in an entirely solo mode, and it won’t be the last!

Thanks to Mary,  Drew and all the staff for always making us feel special and welcome. We hope to do it again soon.

19598934_10159006288100594_4138559755236536800_n (1)Thursday saw me out for the usual fun and games at Legends, with Gary and Amber. This coming week will mark 10 weeks continuous. Some marriages don’t last that long, so good on Gary and Amber for making it work, and the management at Legends for supporting live music!

Friday was the big day, when I retired from my day job. Thank you Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan! More importantly, it marked 35 years of marriage two Mrs. FatC. Things are still purring along after all this time. None of this would have ever happened had she not been supportive and understanding all along. We had a good time at the house welcoming many friends and family who came down to celebrate with us. Big thanks to daughter (and gifted ceramicist) Lucy and boyfriend (and gifted singer) Omar, whom I went to see at the Cameron House playing with the amazing Lonely Hearts, for above and beyond at the party. I was happy to see fellow musicians Kyle Sullivan, recently back from a European tour with Whitney Rose, and Fraz Milne, at the same show. Fraz has a show coming up this Friday at the Opera House that I look forward to attending. Info and tickets are available through the “show” link above. And you can catch Kyle with Adam Beer-Colacino, Terry Wilkins and Jeff McLeod tonight (Sunday July 2, 2017). I’m sorry I can’t catch that show but I have a friend playing the Stir It Up Sunday open mic at Relish for the very first time tonight and want to be there for moral support.

IMG_0079So what now? Big projects are starting soon: sound treating the ManCave Studio™ walls and ceiling will be an ongoing summer (or more) job, as well as building up the arsenal of gear. I’ll try to remember to take photos as the project goes on.

Putting together this thing on the left should be my first priority though. I’ve always wanted a Telecaster, and this one will be finished exactly as I like, which should be a lot of fun. The kit comes from Solo Music Gear, right in the GTA, and includes all the hardware needed, and predrilled holes to guide the work. Not only do they sell a great product for a super low price, the service is top rate, and friendly!

Come back next week for a progress report.

Until then, be well!