Ivory Towers

Social isolation has led to many encabané songwriters composing pandemic-themes odes, including Dan Boggs’ excellent Bunker Town featured here. As promised a few posts back, here is mine.

Thanks to Neil Morris (bass) and Chris Bender (drums and backing vocals) for playing on it and feedback. Hope you like it!

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!

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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.

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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!

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What A Week!

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 
 Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio


Pierre Pelletier (1933-2019)

It’s been an intense week as I had to deal with the death of my dad. It wasn’t completely unexpected as his health had been in decline, but as these often go, one can never be sure of when it will actually happen. So I sadly wasn’t able to be there when he passed but did travel to Rivière-du-Loup the following day to take care of the consequences. It’s ongoing…

My dad was an fun-loving man until his health started to fail. His lifelong interest in politics often fueled it chats. For the last few decades until three years ago, he would spend the winter in the Dominican Republic. This led to the writing of my song The Final Winter. I am reposting it in his memory.

Final winter – 2017-01-04, 3.17 PM

Be well!

Remue-Menage*

Black Swan with Omar.jpgThis weekend, on Sunday, November 3, this is happening! We played this slot back in the summer with special guest Salabama. This time, it’s Omar Saab, lead singer for the Lonely Hearts, who will be sitting in after cramming to learn two sets of my wacky tunes, then doing a feature set with the Cats and I as his backing band. It doesn’t get better! My turn to cram for his tunes!

And, as the showtime is a very reasonable 4 to 8 pm, there isn’t really any “school night” excuse for this one so we are hoping for a lot of interest. Great for the early-to-bed crowd too!

This is a one-off performance, so it’s worth your while to catch the show!


Out and About

Last Tuesday, I attended one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time at the Linsmore. Organized by violinist (and many more instrumentalist) Daniela Gassi, whom I featured in a previous blog from when she recorded at my studio, the evening featured three sets in which Dani participated.

IMG_2476 2.jpgThe first was with bassist/guitarist Liam Gerussi. A mix of covers and originals by both Dani and Liam, it already promised to be a great night for captivating performances, with many instruments used as well!

IMG_2484Second up was Leanna Yamada, who I’ve written about before as well. This was the best performance I’ve ever heard her give. It was a real treat to hear Dani and Leanna play River Town with the arrangements they had developed at ManCave Studio.

IMG_2494Finally, and a brilliantly surprising end to the evening, was Menage, Toronto-based, progressive, alt/pop/rock sibling group Menage features siblings Fernando (guitar/vocals) and Bela (keyboard/vocals) Ferreira. With popular releases in Portugal and China (yup!), Menage is set on furthering their recognition in North America. They certainly got my attention! I now REALLY want the EHX Mel9 “Mellotron” pedal!

Here is their final song of the night, with Dani sitting in (yes, I know, should have been in landscape!).

They will be at the Piston on November 5 (you owe it to yourself to catch this show!). For a further sampling of their sound, check out the above linked website or their Facebook page here.


*The title is a French play on words – remue-méninges = brainstorming


Until this Sunday perhaps, be well!

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Go Pro

Some recent social media posts have got me thinking more deeply about the oft-read rant regarding “amateur” musicians “stealing professional” jobs. It is the last quoted word that got me curious.

What does it mean to be a “professional musician”?

At the far end of the scale, it’s obvious: musicians who earn their entire livelihood from playing music. Easy enough!

But what about, say, someone who works in a music store and plays shows in the evenings and on weekends? Does the day job disqualify that person from the professional ranks or is working in a music store a mitigating factor?

Okay, let’s take that further. What about someone who work instead as a server in a live music venue? Does the place of day employ shield a musician from being ranked amateur? What if he/she/they work in a doughnut shop?

Is it a question of how many hours performed vs. the day job?

Perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong…could it be a question of expertise or raw talent? Is it attitude and the ability to please an audience? Is it originality?

I have my own ideas, but I’d like to hear back from you, dear readers. Just leave a comment if you wish.


FatC Relish Sept 21.jpgThis Saturday the Cats Will Play

After a good and hot rehearsal last night working through the four new tunes we hope to launch, the Cats are raring to go this Saturday at Relish 2.0. We kick off at 9:30, but please come early for the food and former ABC Songcircle guest One-Eyed Oracle (aka Boris Buhot) playing from 7 to 9.

Make it a full evening of live entertainment!

 

 

 

Be there and be well!

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2.0

The band is very excited to be back for the first time (?) at the new Relish 2.0 at 511 Danforth this coming September 21, 2019.

We hope to introduce a few new songs that I have tried out at the open mic and one world première, so it should be a special evening on all counts. You can subscribe to the band’s event calendar here, should you wish to be kept up to date while avoiding social media overload.

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Be well!

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Swampy

Again, just a short update this week. The Salabama show at Relish 2.0 went great, thanks to solid playing by Sal himself, Tony Oldland on bass and Paul Brennan on drums. Special thanks to the brilliant Sean McAuley on harmonica too, and to Rick Henry for a superb mixing job and for having the nerve to tell me to turn down! It’s always a fun privilege to play with Sal and have the chance to try out live the arrangements we’ve worked out in the studio sessions at ManCave. Here’s a sample courtesy of Dave Correia with one of Sal’s originals, Swamp Chickin.


Upcoming Gigs

TheCats have been on low-profile for most of the summer, but a few shows are beginning to line up for the fall. September 21 will be our first time at Relish 2.0, then October 15 at the Linsmore Tavern with special guests, and finally (so far) a Sunday matinee at the Black Swan with special guest Omar Saab of the Lonely Hearts.

That’s all for this week!

Be well!

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Risky Business

The lure of things new, shiny and tenuously linked has always been irresistible for me. This week’s surprise last-minute show at the Linsmore (this Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – 10 pm, for those interested) is a case in point. Not content to stir the pot by subbing in the amazing Omar Saab, lead singer of the Lonely Hearts, for his live debut on bass, as NeMo had a previous commitment, I have also decided to try out a new rig, shown below.

Why not!

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Traynor Quarter Horse 25-watt pedal/amp, the mini pedalboard, Tokai Talbo Blazing Fire guitar and Rexx single-12 speaker cabinet.

Now, these are (almost) all components I have used before, but never in this combination. The binding characteristics is that 3 of the 4 parts of the rig spark joy (those who have seen the clutter in the ManCave may laugh at the irony). All are connected to my past career at Yorkville Sound. The obvious link is the Traynor Quarter Horse which I just picked up this week as the sale price was irresistible (see the pattern?). I was very impressed with the sound right out of the box, particularly when paired with the Talbo, a product line Yorkville distributed in the 80s, and the Rexx speaker, designed by Yorkville (again) alumnus George Krampera. I’ll let you know next week how it all works out.

Also performing that evening will be Ian Alexander Robson at 8:00 PM and Dingo at 9:00 PM. The Facebook event link is here.

So, I do hope you will be there to support live music. Plus the beer is cheap!


Coming Soon

On Sunday June 23, The Cats will team up will Salabama (Sal Indigo) for a special matinee show from 4 to 8 at the Black Swan. More details as we near the date.

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Be well!

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Hunkering

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.

 

 


More Upheaval

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.

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L to R: Alex Vos, David Israelson, Richard Scarsbrook and me.

There may be some show announcements soon…tbc. In the meantime be well!

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