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.
This 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.
This week culminated in a lovely and intimate show at the Dock on Queen.
First though, back on Monday, I hosted a recording session with John Mahler, who graciously cut me loose to do the producer thing on one of his newest songs, I Won’t Tell You. We still have some vocals to add and final mixing, but I hope to have something cool for you to listen to by the end of August.
Wednesday was a hybrid musico-political evening at Stephenson Park for a Danforth Village BIA sponsored show by the fabulous Soul Maître Ds, who played all my favourites from their catalog, and some great covers (who else plays Squeeze‘s Black Coffee in Bed). Thanks to some matchmaking by good friend Lorie Fairburn, I also had a chance to do some lobbying with aspirant city councillor Brad Bradford, who kindly listened on as I ranted about the well-intentioned but ultimately misguided and ineffective Music City (TMAC) initiative, a subject I have broached here once or twice already! I’m not expecting anything from it, although he did kindly ask for the report I had written for the city back in February, but I am prepared to be proven wrong.
The week wrapped up with a fun and intimate show at the cozy aforementioned Dock on Queen, where some good friends made it over despite a lot of competitive things to do that evening—thank you! We may be back but this time for a full-on electric show.
Our next appearance is Saturday, September 8 at home-away-from-home Relish on the Danforth.
Last Friday, the band performed an “unplugged-ish” show at the cozy and very music-friendly Dock on Queen. Thanks to the fabulously talented Mimi O’Bonsawin for booking us! One huge benefit of the venue is the early start and finish, which we hope would attract more fans that prefer an earlier night. Doing it with acoustic guitar gives the music a somewhat different feel and highlights the vocals, such as mine may be, and lets the audience make out the lyrics much more clearly.
I want to particularly thank Lorie Fairburn, Henry Lees and Fraz Milne for their ongoing support. It means a lot to us! Also thanks to the gentleman who sat right in front of the band and listened very attentively all night. In my business to pack up, I neglected to get his name (sorry!). Maybe the staff at the Dock could pass it on and I can update this post later.
This weekend is a busy one for recording demos at ManCave Studio. Yesterday, Leanna Yamada and I spent the afternoon avoiding that brutal sun and warm weather and worked on her songs. Today, Gary Edward Allen is in for his songs. It’s great experience. Thanks to both for letting me do this.
This Week at The ABC Songwriters’ Circle
This week is a themed night, in a six-degrees-of-separation kinda way, except that it’s just one, as all roads lead to NeMo . The later is not the Pixar fish, but rather Neil Morris, bassist for the Arsenals and Félix & the Cats, who will be making his songwriting debut. He will be joined by his son and my nephew, Julian Battersby Morris, former bandmate Frank Wilks and me (nepostism, schmepostism!). These people are fine songwriters, and you are in for a good evening of song and chat. Check out their bios on the songcircle page.
That’s it for this week, so please do come down to the ABC Songwriters’ Circle. The patio is now open!