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Coming to you from Rivière-Du-Loup, QC, this will be a bilingual blog bien sûr! For English, simply scroll down.


De retour à Rivière-Du-Loup pour ma visite patrimoniale, dans tous les sens du mot, j’ai cette année l’avantage d’avoir de contacts dans la communauté musicale qui m’ont guidé vers des événements uniquement divertissants et qui ont mis en relief la différence entre le désiré et le réalisé. J’explique un peu plus bas.

Mais avant, un sommaire des deux sorties que j’ai fait…

Vendredi

Tel que mentionné l’an passé dans ce blog, RDL bénéficie d’une société artistique nommée Rainbow Submarine qui organise des spectacles divers, ce qui n’est pas unique en soit, mais le fait en concert et en partenariat avec des locaux souvent inédits. La semaine passée par example, un a eu lieu au Mini Putt local. Cette semaine, l’atelier/boutique de bijoux La Mélusine se transforma en scène feuillue (gracieuseté de Botanix RDL) pour accueillir Laurence-Anne, musicienne vivant maintenant à Montréal mais originaire du coin (Kamouraska). Accompagnée talentueusement au saxophone par Ariel Comptois et à la percussion par Laurent St-Pierre, Laurence-Anne nous emporta sur un petit trip évocateur (pour un gars de ma génération) parsemé d’influences prog-rock et psychédéliques, mais le tout exprimé de façon unique et personnelle. La sono et l’éclairage, finement ajustés par l’équipe technique du Rainbow Submarine, n’ont pu qu’accentuer la qualité du spectacle. Le tout fut une expérience transcendante.

Samedi

Le lendemain, je me retrouve à l’église anglicane Saint Bartholemew—déjà toute une histoire derrière ça—pour une soirée cabaret. Le format enchaîne musiciens, poètes, auteurs et comédiens. Ici le meilleur serait de laisser quelques photos vous offrir un aperçu, ainsi qu’un petit clip.

Pour ces deux soirées extraordinaires, je dois remercier Keven Lemieux de m’en avoir parlé, et Maxime Varenne et l’équipe entière du Rainbow Submarine de leur chaleureux accueil. Je dois les saluer pour avoir transformé en réel ce qu’ailleurs, même dans un grand centre comme Toronto, on a de la peine à retrouver: une communauté artistique autonome, proactive et en plein essor.


I’m back in Rivière-Du-Loup for another paternal visit, auspiciously on Fathers Day weekend. This year, it’s been less of a blind search for entertainment thanks to social media contacts that guided me to the best this strikingly vibrant musical community has to offer, which laid out in stark contrast the difference between aspiration and realization. More on that later.

But first, what I saw and heard…

Friday

As reported last year, RDL benefits from the presence of an artistic organization called Rainbow Submarine that promotes events—nothing new there—but does it with surprisingly inventive partnerships and venues. Las week’s show for instance took place in the local Mini Putt. The show I caught was in a jewelry shop/boutique called La Mélusine, transformed into leafy musical concert hall (thanks to local nursery Botanix) in order to host Laurence-Anne, originally from the area (Kamouraska) and now living in Montreal. Backed by Ariel Comptois on sax and Laurent St-Pierre on percussion, Laurence-Anne took us on a journey flavoured with touches of prog-rock and psychedelia, layered within her unique rhythmic, harmonic and melodic approach. Sound and lights, ably provided by the Rainbow Submarine tech crew, further enhanced what was already a transcended performance.

Saturday

Did you know that Rivière-du-Loup had a signifiant Anglo presence in the 19th century? Hence, a cabaret night hosted in Saint Bartholomew Anglican Church, of course! Like a more curated open mic, the evening brought together musicians poets, authors and actors. The photos and short clip below should hint at what I witnessed. The event was licensed so I enjoyed a beer in church. Praise be!

Massive thanks to Keven Lemieux for connecting me to these events, along with Maxime Varenne and the entire Rainbow Submarine team for their indulgence and warm welcome. Kudos mostly for nurturing what could only be wished for elsewhere, even major markets like Toronto: a supportive, proactive and thriving artistic community.


It’s back to Toronto for me and two shows this coming Sunday, June 23. First at 10:15 am at Might & Main for a solo acoustic set as part of an amazing lineup of performers starting at 9 and all the way to 2:30 in the afternoon. Then, from 4 to 8 with the Cats doing a set of FatC songs, then backing up Salabama at the Black Swan. Pick your event, or better yet, do both for a fun musical marathon!

Be well! Salut!

Up to My Neck

The home renovation project had consumed me.

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.

Until next time, be well!

Back in the Saddle

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.

Be well!

Quelle surprise!

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.

Be well and Victorious!

Down at the Beach

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 Iroquois upon which the studio is built.

Glacial Lake Iroquois was a prehistoric proglacial lake that existed at the end of the last ice age approximately 13,000 years ago.[1]The lake was essentially an enlargement of the present Lake Ontario that formed because the St. Lawrence River downstream from the lake was blocked by the ice sheet near the present Thousand 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!

Until next week, be well!

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Mystified

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.

Tim Farris with Tokai Talbo Blazing Fire guitar.

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.

Be safe and be well!

Continuity

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument, on stage and guitar
Howard in his happy place

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.

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Left to right: Lawrie Ingles, Howard Rabkin, David Storey, Henry Lees and Bob Cohen.

By special request from Lawrie, I played Bowling For Dolores at the aftershow/birthday party with a fantastic backup group. Thanks guys!

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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.

 

Eddyfication

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Left to right: Howard Rabkin, Tyler Ellis, Gary Edwards, John McLean

Image may contain: textLast 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.


Salabamarama

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.

Be well!

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ManCave Studio Diary #6 – Of Proof, Pudding and Eating

Yes, late again, so just a brief one this week…

Partly that is because the Sunday afternoon I usually reserve for writing this blog was otherwise pleasantly taken up with a 4-song recording session with Sal Indigo, along with FatC drummer Chris Bender and graciously sitting in on bass, Lonely Hearts‘ front man Omar Saab.

This was the first run through for the new isolation booth, and first listen seems to be an enthusiastic  thumbs up by Chris, who added the acoustic quality in the room was very good despite the coziness. A huge benefit was how much better everyone could hear themselves in the headphones. I guess the proof of the pudding was indeed in the eating (it seems this is the correct idiom).

The tracks have still to be mixed, and if Sal is good with it, I could feature in an upcoming blog.


Solo Unplugged

This coming Sunday March 31, I will be playing a super rare solo acoustic afternoon show at the Might & Main Café from 12 to 1. Thank you to Phillip Vonesh for setting that up! Come on down for coffee and rarely performed tunes.

Hope to see you there!

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ManCave Studio Diary #5 – Trigger Happy

As the studio is back in functioning order, I have been starting the process of mixing drums recorded here, albeit prior to the drum booth being built. One of the issues I have been dealing with is making the snare and bass drum more present and snappy. Some knob fiddling helped, but I kept wondering whether there was a better way to enhance the mix, and sure enough there is.

Screen shotLogic Pro X, the application I use to record, has a cool function that allows you to Replace or Double Drum Track…

So I tried it.

The way it works, in simple terms, is that it samples the drum sound you wish to replace or double, and uses the loudest parts to generate trigger points for Logic’s own built-in samples. A great number of different snare, bass and tom drum sounds are available, so it’s a question of using one’s ears to hear what suits best and mixing in that selection to enhance what is already there, at least that’s how I use it. Mind you, this is VERY new to me so I hope I am doing it right.

Here are two samples of drums from the upcoming EP to illustrate. The difference may be subtle on ear buds or your phone’s speakers but noticeable enough through larger speakers.  I think this will improve the mix.

Drums acoustic

Drums with triggered samples


Upcoming Show

If you’ve been looking at the sidebar on a laptop or desktop browser, you may have noticed I quietly slipped in a new show at the Black Swan on Easter weekend – Saturday April 20 (yes 420) to be precise. We are playing a double bill with one of my very favourite local bands, Monkey Fightin’ Snakes, whom I have written about already here.

Both Matthew from MFS and I have worked on posters for the event so I thought I’d share our complementary approaches. Enjoy!

 

Until next week, be well!

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