The Lightpipe at the End of the Tunnel

Image of Glowing Tip of Optical Fiber in Communication ...
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Another cryptic title, yeah. Let me briefly explain. Lightpipe is the standard for optical digital transfer between devices, in this case my Saffire Pro 26 and a rented Saffire October MK II that expands the number of mics I can use from 4 to 12, handy when recording drums which need a lot of mics for modern recording.

Last Friday, I had finally managed to corral the Cats for a session, and although I had tested the system in a previous one-on-one with drummer Chris Bender, for some reason, the full-on session proved a bust recording-wise (although a good social and strategic meet with Chris and NeMo, but still…). After much recabling and head-scratching, I recalled that the test I had done used a different cable for the optical link (yup, I can see eyes glazing over from here). Long and boring story made short, swapping the cable sorted things out, but not after everyone had gone home.

On the positive side, we are all meeting again for the next Beach House Jammers show tomorrow, August 1, for a few songs and synchronizing calendars. The show is at the Beach House, which I spoke of in an earlier post, and now hosted by the talented, energetic and resourceful Tony Oldland, who will be the topic of next week’s blog, this time hopefully back to its regular scheduled Sunday release.

Tonight at the ABC

I am chuffed to be the first guest of the official new Tuesday Amsterdam Bicycle Club songwriters’ night, now hosted by the Soul Maître Ds, and rechristened Soul Shine Tuesdays. The SMDs are Lawrie Ingles and Henry Lees, both former guests of my old ABC SWC, and highly respected and gifted songwriters, as well as the nicest folk who could ever hope to meet. I hope to see a bunch of ya there!Image may contain: 2 people

So it’s a date? Be well!


Herding Cats

ABC WC BannerThe last round at the ABC Songwriters’ Circle is in the bag. You can read more about it on its own page here, which will remain up for a a little while longer.

Recording Update

It’s proving a challenge to get the entire band together frequently for recording purposes. Fortunately, modern recording equipment and techniques allow for each musician to come in and lay down tracks on his own, which seems to be the process that will have to be taken to get the job done. A few rentals have beefed up the capabilities so that the drums can be recorded the “modern” way for more control, as much as I’m a fan of retro approaches. A quick test last week proved very encouraging, and everything bodes well for a possible fall release. It looks like “When (Is It Time To Go)” may be the first song to be done. To find out what that one sounds like, you could join us at the Dock On Queen on August 11 at 9 for a special unplugged-ish performance.

We hope you will put that on your calendar.

Be well!


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,
Wilks, Chris Willson, Hugh Wilson, Leanna Yamada


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!

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!



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.


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 FolkpunkSabrina 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!


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.


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!