so i've neglected my website for a while. a hilarious chain of events has occurred following the end of school - i got a bad cold and missed a bunch of gigs, and then i decided to book a bunch of shows (4 in one weekend) once i was on the mend. and then i got another bad cold! but this time i powered through, despite the terrible cough and the voice problems (at least the people who were at the IWK fundraiser got a laugh out of my voice cracking).
the static in action show at the elks lodge was a blast. those gigs are always good, and even though i was a bit ill and a lot tired, i had a great time. harry and hector are such awesome musicians and excellent friends that playing shows with them can fix any sort of bad mood. for sunday's show, i had ben and yvette backing me up for most of the set, so obviously they saved my sick self from sounding terrible. consummate professionals, those two. i also got a chance to do a songwriting workshop with my friend shane o'handley (of the jaynes, see my previous post for a video), at a high school in eskasoni. that was a great experience and i got to meet a lot of cool high school kids who were really into music.
on thursday i broke my 6-month longstanding vow of not playing at bars solo, which came about after a particularly annoying experience. i saw that my friends john gill, bob gill, and mallery williams were going to be playing, and it was a thursday night, so i thought maybe it would be a chilled out, listening environment. i was wrong.
it's not that being screamed over while playing heartfelt songs that i wrote makes me feel like i must be a terrible musician -- i know that some people like my music, and i like my music and know how much work has gone into making me what i am today. so at least i finally have the confidence to stop second guessing myself (you'd never believe how long that takes to build up, or how tenuous that confidence is, but at least i can finally rely on it).
it's just that it doesn't feel good. i don't need the exposure (in sydney anyway), i mean, every once in a while someone who hasn't seen me play will be really pleased and tell me nice things afterward, but i've spent years gaining exposure so that's not really my objective these days. so i don't need the exposure, it doesn't make me feel good, and i certainly am not making any money -- if anything getting handed 25 dollars after a night like that is almost worse than nothing (i'm sure the away band could have used it for gas).
but to tell the truth, if i had made an amount of money that could do more than buy me a mountain fries poutine or two, it still wouldn't have been worth it. what is the point of those types of shows really? music is not my job. i have never in my life had the gumption to do the boring, plodding work involved in the business aspect of music for the immense number of hours it takes to get anywhere, and i've been ok with that. if i need money desperately, i can get a job or spend my student loan (heh).
so really, all these years, the thing that made it worth it for me is the feeling i get -- the physical satisfaction of singing, feeling pride in myself for doing a good job, feeling grateful that people want to hear me, and feeling awesome if i think i can make people feel good by playing them music from my heart. so when i'm playing music in a room with a bunch of people yelling and not paying attention, first of all, i feel bad because no one's listening, and second, if someone IS there that wants to listen, they don't get to hear it either.
i know every musician has dealt with this stuff, and i might sound like some sort of entitled jerk, but i just felt like i should explain why i'm not going to be doing that sort of thing anymore. if it isn't going to be my job, then it should at least remain something that brings me joy.
so the ranting is done, and the last thing i want to say is that i have a lot of gigs coming up (heh), and quite a few with billie yvette avenue (we have a new facebook page, check it out). and i have updated the video section with the video from st. george's church and one from ideas powered by passion . i didn't really mention it when i posted it, but the st. george's one came out amazing, and as always, i can't say enough good things about the people who made it happen for me. ideas is also a really cool thing - it's all about people from the community getting together and talking about ways to make it better. i made a long winded speech about how i figured out the way to make myself happy with music was by not trying to fit into anyone's expectations, but luckily the video they chose was this one, in which i more briefly discuss my love for cape breton.
school is over (i aced everything), i went on a lovely vacation, and then i got a terrible cold. it was so terrible i had to cancel two gigs! and they were nice gigs too, one was a fundraiser for a local radio station and the other was an outdoor show that was part of the international day against homophobia / transphobia. but luckily both shows had other awesome musicians to fill the gap and i'm sure neither one missed me very much.
now i am starting to feel better, and i'll be looking to play some shows. especially since the weather is beginning to turn nice and warm and sunny - it just makes me want to sing. when i don't sing for a while i get all anxious. it's also the lovely interval in between school and working - i applied for a few jobs, but no one has called me yet. i kind of hope they wait a bit so i can enjoy the spring-ness and relaxation for a while.
i hope this summer i get the chance to play all around the island, and it looks like it might shape up that way. check out the events listings for some cool upcoming shows with billie yvette avenue (including one at the cape north culture center). and static in action are also looking to play some shows around the island this summer, i'll let you know when anything is confirmed.
anyhow, i don't have much in the way of news, there should be some video from the church show we played a while back any day now. one of the videos is up by the jaynes, so check that out for now. you can see how gorgeous the church was, if you weren't there.
school has been nuts lately. but today i finished the lab report from hell and i have a breather before exams begin. i'm focusing on the coral reef at the end of the tunnel to get me through - hopefully a tropical vacation and the prospect of cape breton summer will inspire some new music.
the harmonia show went awesome. ben and carolyn are the best people to sing with in the world, it just feels like a warm breeze. made of something delicious, like chocolate sauce. i can't wait until the videos are done so i can show you just how awesome it was. also i love playing with a drummer. i think i was spoiled because i used to play with devon strang, the former drummer for slowcoaster and tom fun. he's one of the best drummers in canada, as far as i am concerned. i have played with some awesome drummers, and recorded some great tracks with them, but devon is just the ideal match for me. he was such a thoughful percussionist -- he put so much dynamics and feel into my simple songs, it made them sound way better than they were. so imagine how stoked i am to play with steve wilton, who also happens to be a world class drummer. who also wants to play with me! who also makes my songs sound amazing. and has the same kind of dynamic, intelligent style. i am on cloud nine. the fact that this was recorded is so exciting for me.
so static in action has been playing a bit, and i think now that school's almost over i'll be playing a lot more with all of my bands and friends. depending on my summer employment (wild horses will not drag me back to the corner store), i may have a lot of time on my hands.
so check out the events bar, hopefully it will be populated soon with exciting shows. and sometime soon i'll have videos up from that show. happy springtime, everyone.
since having a website is relatively new to me, i'm still kind of figuring it out. something i am enjoying immensely is having a blog where i can talk about all the stuff that makes me really excited, especially when it comes to friends of mine who are amazing at music. continuing with that trend, today i will rave about sean macgillivray, who i've mentioned before, briefly.
i posted a video where he sang with me at gobblefest, which should be enough to show you how awesome he is at singing. but you may not know that he is also an amazing guitarist, songwriter, drummer, sound engineer, and player of every other thing, basically. he plays with classified and jenn grant, but he also plays in alright already - which was previously called great plains - which is a band where he writes the songs and sings and plays the guitars. they hadn't been playing much in the last little while, but seem to be at it again (to my delight). here's an interview he did recently:
so yeah, that band is obviously awesome. anyway it's just reminding me of how when i was younger i looked up to sean and harry and all these guys who were kind of the first wave of independent music in cape breton. bands like blindside/nothing to say (sean's old band), 77 impala special (harry and hector's old band), rock ranger, pulse, three piece suit. they were all so talented and only got better and better with time. now i have played with most of the guys i admired at one point or another, and you'd think the admiration would wear off, but it really doesn't, it's just that a layer of friendship is added on. it's kinda weird when younger people come up to me and say they feel the way about me that i did about those guys.
so i am playing a show on the 22nd (super soon!) with my pals carolyn, ben and steve. we are going to call ourselves harmonia. i like that name because it sounds musical, and describes pretty much where i envision this band going but at the same time it's the genus of ladybugs, showing exactly how nerdy i am. in case you were wondering why this collection of people seems familiar (and delightful), let me refresh your memory:
the show is being put on by the incomparable caper radio. it will be filmed and recorded as well, similar to a show done in the same venue last year with the yarnells and heartwood slacks. you can check out the video from that show here. the venue is gorgeous!
and to top it all off, i did an interview with leah noble at dream big cape breton. it's a blog where she talks to people from cape breton to see what keeps them here and what they have to deal with to remain here among other things, in the hopes that it will shed some light on what needs to be done to keep young people around. anyway i did an interview where i mostly talk (complain) about music venues in cape breton, so i felt it was relevant. and here it is.
i'm playing a few times tomorrow - as you can see in the side bar. that's a lot of shows for a tuesday. there are quite a few shows in the works actually, with static in action, billie yvette's band and with my group, but nothing is confirmed yet.
i want to show you some things. first, i mentioned that awesome kyle evans song "break my back", but i forgot there's a video from that show. so watch it already.
and also, too hilarious not to mention, my pals from moncton, the motorleague are raising money for cyctic fibrosis. and the way they are doing it is awesome. they are doing videos of heritage moments, where they use the script for the heritage moment as lyrics for original songs. here are the first three:
the heritage moments have always been my jam, so these are delighful to me. and this puts me in mind of another excellent thing, so i will leave you with a true canadian gem:
well i am happy to say i was able to sing after all. it was a close call but i was happy i pulled through. it was very lovely. carolyn and kyle are two of my faves - we used to play together all the time at the maple leaf lounge on charlotte street.
that bar was like "cheers" to me, if there was a show going on (or even if there wasn't), i could just show up and be sure that i would run into a friend there. my pal aaron corbett (lead singer of airport and ranger dan in the legend of the psychotic forest ranger - an awesome b horror movie made in cape breton) and i once spent a summer of tuesdays drinking beer there when we were often the only people in the bar. i saw and played some of my favorite shows at the leaf.
and the show on saturday really brought me back there. i even thought i could smell the old sofas and tables for a second. the upstairs is a wonderful venue, and the atmosphere and sound and crowd and the people who work there, it just beats anything else in sydney at the moment. i guess nostalgia always wins in these fights though.
there were only a few people at the show but i prefer that to a bunch of yelling drunks. carolyn played some old songs like jane's song, and sang so beautifully - her voice is like being wrapped in a silk blanket, it's so smooth and warm. she's captivating to say the least. kyle also played some old ones. i miss hearing him play, since he lives away now. he has a song called "break my back" that is about a minute long, and it's the nicest love song i've ever heard. there's some songs of his here, i'd suggest listening to "gone gone gone".
anyway. i just wanted to mention that the show happened as planned and everything was great. now i should be studying for midterm #2 - i'll take a moment to brag and tell you i got 100 on my last three tests (it's my website, i'm allowed), though i will certainly not get 100 on this one. and check it out, i'm on the internet elsewhere too! 1111 views! should i make a wish or something?
sorry i haven't been posting. i was busy with school and then i got really sick for a week. next week is going to suck: i have 2 midterms and i have to make up a bunch of stuff that i missed this week. to top it all off, i don't think i can sing at the show tomorrow! i've been looking forward to it for ages! luckily, i have friends who are amazing at music and if i can't make it, the incomparable billie yvette rogers will fill in for me. phew. that's such a good line up i might just refuse to sing anyway, haha.
anyway, i hope you like the video. i really like it. i love playing with those guys. and i recommend checking out caper radio's youtube channel. there's a new video up by breagh mackinnon that is excellent, also by jenni welsh. another good one is this video by sprag session, previously known as the colin grant band.
and i will leave you with this video, which is a trailer for a show about my home town. it really warms my heart to see this, it seems like it's caught the things i love about whitney pier and shows them in the kind of warm light that i see when i think about the place.
welp, it seems that they took it down. anyway the pier is awesome.