it's almost time! i have a crazy week of schoolwork ahead of me and then it's time for super fun xmas music extravaganza time.
and i guess it is time to let the cat out of the bag and announce - the return of YELLOW! we'll it's not technically a return, since it's an entirely different lineup but it will be me and some amazing people playing yellow songs. technically this will be the 4th completely different lineup that i've played these songs with (yellow4.0). this time around i'm joined by devon strang (drums), mike morrison (of rock ranger fame, guitar), jason burke (guitar - yes that's right including me there are 3 GUITARS) and harry doyle (bass). if you've forgotten or never knew what yellow sounded like, i suggest you listen to this or this.
in non-yellow-related news, i am super excited to play christmas songs again (check out the music section for my christmas album), and it looks like i might be playing with all of my bands at some point or other over christmas break. now that's what i call comfort and joy. i'll update the events as they get confirmed.
hi. i've updated the videos section with two static in action videos, including this one, from gobblefest 2012:
also, i am very excited because my decemberists tribute band, the novemberists, are getting all together for the first time in a while and playing a double header on november 23. 4/6 of us busked together during lumiere this year and it was so nice we had to see if we could play a couple of real shows. luckily, our keyboard player, kristen, had already booked a gig with her other (amazing) band, young wanda, so it worked out perfectly. i really missed playing with these guys over the last few months. we're all really great pals and i think we play great together. in case you wanna hear check this one out:
another thing i'm working on is a mini maritime tour for static in action and the shithawks in the new year. i'll keep you updated.
to prove to dad that i'm not a fool. little adam sandler reference for you there.
many unusual things are happening to me lately, i have a birthday coming up and an appointment for a few small tattoos with an amazing tattoo artist. she's so good i wish i wasn't too chicken to get a large piece. i have also recently had a hankering to write some short stories, including a sci-fi one about various scientific paths to immortality. haha. who knows, maybe this will get my songwriting juices flowing again.
there are a few shows added over in the sidebar there, and some gigs coming up with static in action and billie yvette avenue too, so i'm looking forward to that. static in action are closing out lumiere in sydney this year under the library's overhang, so that's gonna be neat. it's an event called making noise at the library, and i think there's gonna be music inside the library all night too. i can't wait to see all the neat installations. here's a video about last year's lumiere:
ruth is one of my faves for sure. one time my mom was listening to joel plaskett and "blinding light" came on, and my mom asked if it was me singing with joel plaskett. and it made me soooo happy because that was the best compliment. but yeah, ruth is amazing. she has guest starred on every album ever and writes the best songs, which makes her kind of my hero. if you are the one person who hasn't heard her lovely voice, check out the video below:
in non-music related news, i was on the radio talking about science recently which is always fun. you can hear it here.
also, i'm keeping a little secret for a while that involves jamming with some cape breton rock musicians on a project that makes me a little nostalgic... that's all i'm saying for now.
my crazy summer is drawing to a close. or the more stressful part anyway (summer chemistry course hey!).
i'm gonna be playing a few little things here and there hopefully now that i am less busy, although i need to get some beach time in for sure. there's an exciting gig in the works for early september and i'll update once it's confirmed, but until then i'll let you know about what i am doing tonight.
i'm playing at take back the night - a march in protest of violence against women which ends in a free concert at the bandshell in wentworth park. the set is short and then i'm running over to the casino to judge a battle of the bands put on by music nova scotia.
i did this once before in the very first round and i am back for the finals, which consists of the winners from each round: heartwood slacks, ricochet and the regal beagle band, plus a wild card: hello click. i am going to go out on a limb and say this is gonna be a tough call.
i was lucky to be a part of the song and video featured below - it's a commercial for the creative island, a project by the cape breton center for craft and design, which shows all the amazing hands-on creative activities that are available for people to do in cape breton.
the song was written by yvette rogers specifically for the project and the recording features yvette's lovely voice and guitar (obviously), as well as me on harms and ben on harms and guitars. i can't get it out of my head! it's one of my favorite yvette songs for sure (though i will probably say that after each one).
anyway, give it a listen and a look, and keep an eye out for the 30 second version which will be on CTV this summer.
so as you can see i've been playing a bunch with billie yvette avenue. which works for me because i think yvette has some of the most amazing songs, lyrics and voice of just about anyone i know. there's even a bit of recordin' and video'in' going on. so i will have to get the master of this website, aka my wonderful partner adam, to update the music section and add a spot for all the yvette goodness that is going to appear soon. and the first installment is the video below from the gig we played at caper radio last night! courtesy of, who else, the incomparable jenni welsh.
in other news, i have a new awesome summer job at the library where i am going to be teaching kids about science all summer. it's seriously amazing. however the whole 9-5 thing, plus taking a course in school is gonna be putting a strain on my extracurricular activities. so hopefully i can play as many gigs as i planned. let's see if i can survive the summer!
by the way check out the online portfolio of jenni welsh here , and here is the facebook version. i gotta say, jenni is one of the most motivated, passionate people i know, and she really tries (and succeeds) to enrich the cape breton arts and music scene.
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.