It’s been challenging to do anything but try to move that forward AND maintain musical commitments, hence the paucity of content.
Tonight, I’m allowing some passive entertainment, live for sure, to hopefully re-energize things, and nothing could fit the bill better than a quiet evening of excellent acoustic blues piano with the very talented Juno Award winning Julian Fauth at Sauce on the Danforth. I believe he has a Tuesday evening residency, and well worth a trip to the east end.
After a protracted absence, it was finally back at Relish this past Sunday for not one, nor even two, but three world premieres: two of mine called I Don’t Know and Burning Bridges, and a cover of one of my friend Michael Sheen Cuddy’s songs. Once again, David Macmichael and Paul Brennan proved why they are the best open mic rhythm section in the city. I hope to repeat these three tunes real soon, maybe even this week. Michael, will you be there to find out which song I did?
Double Header Gig Alert
Mark you calendars for Sunday June 23 from 4 to 8 pm for a rare matinee show at the Black Swan with a first set by the Cats, then being joined for the next two by good buddy Salabama.
I should be well warmed up as I’ll also be part of a an earlier “on the street” multi-artist show at Might & Main. The exact time is tbd but the line up features many past performers at M&M, performing from 9am to 2pm. Should be a fun and busy day. Details and invitations to follow.
Last Tuesday marked a return (as a spectator) to the Linsmore for Indie Tuesday.
First on the bill was a favourite of mine, TC Folkpunk (or better yet TeeCee Folquepunque as will be clear later). It was great to catch TC’s new material and some old favourites. He was in great form and sporting a new Telecaster which is perhaps the best sounding guitar I’ve heard him play to date.
Next was Ghost Town, and band new to me that performed a solid set. Strong ensemble with good vocals.
But the real surprise of the night was the third act, UNT. A power trio, the band launched into great tight metal/psychedelic riffy tunes led by guitarist and lead vocalist Michel Scotta Delorme with Marc Porter and Rick Smith on bass and drums and back up vocals and in French! It was also fun to see Michel favoured a Traynor Bass Master for his amp (yes like the one I let get away in in fit of overzealous purging).
I’ll be posting the blog sans photos for now, but check again later in case I manage to get some of the show.
Work continues on the ante chamber to ManCave Studio, which has cramped my style somewhat. Since my last post, the floor has been dug up revealing the lovely shore sand of Lake Iroquoisupon which the studio is built.
Glacial Lake Iroquoiswas a prehistoricproglacial lakethat existed at the end of the lastice ageapproximately 13,000 years ago.The lake was essentially an enlargement of the presentLake Ontariothat formed because theSt. Lawrence Riverdownstream from the lake was blocked by the ice sheet near the presentThousand Islands. The level of the lake was approximately 30 m (~100 ft) above the present level of Lake Ontario. (Wikipedia)
A short video of the work is included below.
This brought to mind a song by friend and fellow musical traveller Fraz Milne called “Down at the Beach”. Please take a few minutes to enjoy it!
As I am in the heat of the Hots Docs film festival, normal blog scheduling is disrupted. In today’s case, intentionally as I wanted to write about the doc seen last night, Mystify: Michael Hutchence , a film by Richard Lowenstein, that covers the life and tragic death of INXS charismatic frontman Michael Hutchence.
I’ve always felt a connection to this band due probably tenuously by the fact Tim Farris and I both use Tokai Talbo guitars, which I discussed a long time ago.
Beyond that, I was also guiltily fascinated by the 2005 posthumous reality tv series (a form of entertainment I don’t care much for usually) where the remaining members sought a replacement for Hutchence.
The film is revealing (at least for me) in how Michael Hutchence was so profoundly affected by a brain injury that was kept secret until his death and which seems to have clearly led to his suicide in 1997.
If you are interested, the film will be presented three more times during the festival. Just click on the link in the first paragraph above for show times.
Super thanks to loyal friends and fans who made it out for the Black Swan show this past Saturday, considering how many other things were happening as it was Easter weekend.
A special thank you goes out to Fraz and Emmy for being there so often, and to Kevin and Jen for impeccable sound. Particularly, I want to recognize Monkey Fightin’ Snakes for an awesome opening set.
Work is about to begin in the basement area leading to ManCave Studio, so there may be some disruption to the blog over the next month. The good news is that this has forced us to tidy up and purge a lot of accumulated memorabilia. During that process, some interesting artefacts have surface. Here’s one with a shoutout to the Nerve, a band I worked with a few years back.
There may be some show announcements soon…tbc. In the meantime be well!
There is a link from last week’s blog to this one, and his name is Howard Rabkin. Originally from Montréal, Howard has been a solidly recurring presence at the best shows I’ve attended, providing bass for a number of creative and original artists. Last time, it was in the context of playing with Tyler Ellis, who by the way is performing in Markham on April 27 at The Living Room “A House Concert With A Difference”. The Living Room is a premium space to catch a show. More about the space here.
This past Friday, he was part of David Storey‘s band, the Side Road Scholars, at the Tranzac Club, a great show that morphed into a birthday celebration for Lawrie Ingles, who guested a few times at my old ABC Songcircle, and took it over along with Henry Lees last year. David performed new material from his latest album “Made in Canada” (officially released at Winterfolk this past February) and many audience favourites.
By special request from Lawrie, I played Bowling For Dolores at the aftershow/birthday party with a fantastic backup group. Thanks guys!
Howard also works with Evelynne Ross in the acoustic duo Evolution. It’s worth taking a minute to read the bio below for both of these fine artists.
This Weekend Is It
This coming show at the Black Swan (Saturday April 20), will be our last for a while. With so much having happened and other things to come (albeit positively disruptive), I will need to focus on one thing to get the EP done, and the project is lagging behind.
So again, here are the posters for the event. The Cats are frisky to play and even more so with Monkey Fightin’ Snakes as our special guests! Those honouring 420 can attend suitably affected.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the EP launch party for one of my favourite singer/songwriters, Tyler Ellis. I have seen and heard Tyler many times, always with the same delight at his lyrics and the honesty of his music. Solidly backed by the Eddy Line (Howard Rabkin on bass, Gary Edwards on drums and John McLean on guitar), Tyler played to a full house at Dora Keogh to introduce his new EP Spring. You can click on the link to hear and buy the EP on iTunes.
Here is his bio from the ABC Songwriters’ Circle I used to host.
Tyler Ellis writes the most wonderfully understated, insightful, wry, disarming, and uniquely Canadian songs you are ever likely to hear. He has shared a bill with the likes of Willie P. Bennett, Ron Hynes, James Keelaghan, Julian Taylor, Steven Page, and Mr. Dressup. He has had a video on Much Music, performed live on Global and City TV, received local and national radio exposure; and has garnered national critical acclaim while happily spending most of his time writing, recording, performing locally, coaching (hockey, of course), teaching (music, of course) and spending time with his family.
I’m happy to report that the initial mixing of Sal Indigo aka Salabama’s latest four songs is done and so far the reaction from those involved has been very positive. I’m also very grateful to those guys for letting me fiddle with their creativity…learning a lot and having fun in the process. More to come with a few tunes still to track later in the spring. Now, back to recording Félix & the Cats.
Speaking of which, just a quick reminder to add to your calendar our 420 show at the Black Swan Tavern, on April 20th, obvs, with very special guests Monkey Fightin’ Snakes.
I haven’t played a solo show in quite a while, so today’s show at Might & Main Café was pleasant, rewarding and more intimidating than I expected. Overall, it went well with flubs well-disguised and a forgiving audience—thanks!
Thanks to Phillip Vonesh and the staff for the opportunity to stretch outside my comfort zone.
The studio just got a major monitor upgrade, going from the solidly serviceable Yorkville YSM-5s to beefier and crisper Yamaha HS8s. Of course, now I have to remix everything accordingly! So that’s where I’ll be up to for the next long while I think.