November 4, 2013 Respond
WOODEN STARS BOOK
This is a crazy trip down memory lane. Filmmaker, writer and musician Malcolm Fraser (you may know him as The World Provider) has written a not-so-small chronical of the trials and tribulations of Wooden Stars – one of my longest running and most formative collaborative musical projects. We made a lot of music off and on from about 1994 until 2007. Some of the music is amazing, and some of it is ridiculous. Some amazingly ridiculous and some ridiculously amazing. The details are foggy for us, and Malcolm really did his best to make sense of our story. So far, it’s weird for me to read it [Update: I read it and liked it very much, although it never stopped feeling weird - though not in a bad way]. I don’t know what else to say. If you are interested, you can find it at Invisible Publishing.
If you’ve been following along here, you know I’ve been working on a collaborative record, where I’ve written and recorded songs for guest vocalists to sing. That record is tracked and mixed – and will be mastered this week. Plans for its release on Headless Owl Records will be finalized in the coming weeks and I’ll be sure to fill you in as soon as there’s something to share. It features vocal performances by: Mathias Kom, Bry Webb, Devon Sproule, Leif Vollebekk, John K Samson, Jessie Stein, Jim Bryson, Angela Desveaux and Laurel Sprengelmeyer. I am really happy with the way it has turned out.
As you may or may not know, I am embarking shorty on a fairly extensive tour in Germany and Austria with Paper Beat Scissors. I’ll be opening almost all of his shows, and I also get to play guitar on sweet, large, full-band arrangement of his gorgeous music. The PBS tour runs from Nov 14-26th and then I’ll be staying on to do a bunch of shows on my own in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium. Check all the dates if you want to come and listen. More dates are on the way, even at this late stage, so stay tuned.
Speaking of touring with PBS, last time I did so, we ended up doing a fun Pinball Session in Guelph. Tim (Paper Beat Scissor) played on my songs and I played on his. It was a great way to spend a grey day. Have a listen to what we ended up with at the link above.
Thanks so much to Shawna and Daniel and co. for the document and the afternoon.
As happy as I am to be home for now, sleeping in my own bed and working on music in my little “office”, I also really can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones on road in the coming month.
Take care, everyone – see you out there . . .
October 24, 2013 Respond
I am having a few mellow days at home since I got back from BC, YT and the prairies. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks, and there are lots of people to thank – thanks!
For the moment, I am just catching up on stuff here, and working on the mixes for “Singer Songer”, which should be ready to send off to the presses in about a week or so. If you don’t know what “Singer Songer” is, feel free to refer to earlier posts – or keep checking in and I’ll be sure to offer more info as time rolls on. For the moment, too much cooking, sleeping and mixing to do before I head to Europe in November. See you then. Nov 14-26 will be spent opening for, and playing guitar in Paper Beat Scissors, and Nov 27-Dec 9 will be spent doing shows of my own. More details are rolling in quickly, but there are still a few odd dates open if you need me to come and sing you some lullabies in your town.
All the best,
October 10, 2013 Respond
I’m writing you now from Whitehorse YT. Holy smokes, what a project.
I am working on a big collaboration with many of the artists from two record labels: Headless Owl and You’ve Changed. Here’s the insane guest list: Shotgun Jimmie, Construction & Destruction, Baby Eagle, Marine Dreams, Wax Mannequin, Kyle Cashen, The Burning Hell‘s Mathias Kom, Richard Laviolette and myself. Visual artist Shary Boyle is in the mix too, doing projections and artwork.
We are in a beautiful, unfinished rustic palace being recorded by my old chum Jordy Walker. This place is amazing with it’s 20 foot ceilings (even in the control room!) and we are fully outfitted with a panoramic display of instruments. The creativity is flowing. What a group of song-writers! It’s been so much fun collaborating with everyone. Our days are long: 10-7 in the studio, then off to the rehearsal space to hammer out the next day’s songs. This is supposed to be over at 11, but we are having so much fun we often stay much later.
Before arriving up here, I was in BC, doing shows with Leif Vollebekk in Victoria and Vancouver which were also great. Leah Abramson sang with me on my songs in Vancouver and that was a rare treat as well.
From here, I’ll head to the prairies and I’ll give you notes as I go.
Seriously though – all is well, smooth and inspiring so far.
September 22, 2013 Respond
Busy days, friends, busy days…
I am deep into the recording of a new project right now, to be called ‘Singer Songer’, wherein I am writing songs for other people to sing. It is a very cool exercise in writing from a perspective that is somewhat more universal than my usual output. That is not to say that the songs aren’t weird or idiosyncratic in some ways – but there’s a need to make songs that are relatable for other singers, and sometimes it requires adjustments to the song itself from what I would do without the other interpreters getting involved.
I am recording and preforming and producing the songs, but leaving the vocals to my guests. More on that soon as it all comes together. Tracking is almost finished, but there are a few hoops still to jump through before I bring it to you, the listener. At some point, I’ll do an official announcement and you can find out who all the guests are and all that jazz. I won’t leave you hanging. More info about this limited edition release will turn up here, and from my friends at project-based boutique label Headless Owl Records.
I’ve begun a double-bill tour with my pal Paper Beat Scissors down to Hull and into Ontario. The shows have been heart-warming so far. As you can see from the tour dates, I’ll split off from the shows with Paper Beat Scissors in time to come home for Pop Montreal, where I’ll be appearing a couple of times. Immediately following that, I’ll head off to Vancouver, then Whitehorse for the You’ve Changed/Headless Owl labels summit meeting called The Cost of Doing Business (see here: headlessowl.com). After Yukon, I’ll be heading solo across the prairies for long overdue visits. November will see a tour supporting Paper Beat Scissors in Germany and Austria.
If all that isn’t enough (and you are still reading along), keep an ear out soon for Mind Parade, which is a podcast I’ve been making of interviews with some of my creative friends. I hope to unveil that in the coming week or two.
More later – sorry to be all business, but I have to get lots of action in before the snow flies and seclusion becomes the goal.
I hope to see you out there.
PS – In case you’ve missed it, here’s a video of me singing ‘Wolves’ from the Shadow/Wolves 7″ which came out around the same time as ‘Tambourine Death Bed’. Get them both at http://forwardmusicgroup.com
Wolves video: http://youtu.be/jCq0Mmxcbv0
May 30, 2013 Respond
Holy mackerel. All I really need to say here and now is thanks. Last week’s shows were some of the most satisfying ones I’ve done in all my years. I want to thank all you for coming and listening, and send thanks and love to everyone who played with me: Jeremy, Stef, Nathan, Laurel, and Colin.
There is always a better performance you could have done, or a better sound you could have gotten, or better song you could have written. In the end, what really matters is that in the moment of documentation you were truly there to receive and interpret the spirit of the thing. There is a kind of perfection in that. That’s how I felt about the record, and these shows embodied that feeling in real time.
It was a real pleasure to perform the album somewhat faithfully to the recorded versions of the songs. Since the album was made in fits and starts, most of those songs had never been performed in that way. It was really great to re-assemble the music live. The fact that so many folks showed up to listen just made it all the better. I’m still a-buzz from the whole thing.
I also have to thank Neil Haverty (who opened all the shows) for his beautiful, generous music, as well as for his beautiful, generous contribution to the logistics of making the shows happen. Yes.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Other MF shows will happen later in the summer. For now, I will be off on tour for much of June as a member of The Luyas. If we are in your town, come and say hi. Get the dates here. We are travelling with Julian Lynch all over the north-east of Canada and the US. We will act as Julian’s band for the shows, and he’ll sit in with us as well.
The week before last was spent in the studio with Montreal’s Bent By Elephants. I am collaborating with them on their new recordings in the role of co-producer. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and the basic tracks are sounding amazing. I’ll keep you posted on the developments as we move along. I think you can probably expect this recording to materialize before the year is up.
Also – I took part in a great tribute to the band Share, brought to you by our friends at The Acadian Embassy. The band’s songwriter, Andrew Sisk, has made stacks and stacks of great records. A whole bunch of great artists took part in the tribute. My contribution is a duet which I recorded with my friend Nadja (Binoculers) on a tour off-day in her hometown of Hamburg. We loved doing it, and we can only hope it has made Andrew and the other b0ys from Share happy, flattered or at least neutral . You can hear/buy the digital release below:
OK – you are up to date with goings on for now. Please check back often, because I am sure I forgot a whole bunch of stuff. It’s my way.
May 17, 2013 Respond
Just a quick note. I am gearing up for shows next week, and I’ll finally bring Tambourine Death Bed to you in person. I have assembled an amazing band for the tour: Jeremy Gara, Stef Schneider, and Nathan Gage. Montreal and Ottawa will also get to see Laurel Sprengelmeyer join on us on vocals. It’s an absolute pleasure to play with these people, and I can assure you they are lifting the songs to new heights. I hope to see you.
Also – I took time out a couple of weeks ago to shoot a live performance video with my pals Clark Ferguson and Tod Van Dyk. Check it out here.
I’ll try to update you more regularly. For now, back to work…
May 7, 2013 Respond
I am immensely proud to say that ‘Tambourine Death Bed’ is out, as of today, through the helping hands of my friends at Forward Music. If you can’t find it in your local store, ask for it and they’ll get it for you.
So far, the response and encouragement have been staggering. Thanks so much for your kind words and generous ears. Check the ‘events’ page to see where we’ll be playing launch shows this month. More shows will be coming together as time marches on.
In the meantime, the best way I can deal with the anxiety and/or excitement is by strapping on the headphones and getting down to work on some new sounds. Well, that and taking in some sun on my bike. I think there’s time for both. Happy spring everyone, and I hope you enjoy the record as much as I enjoyed making it.
If you are that way inclined, you can also track down the album at iTunes.
April 16, 2013
Greetings from Paris. This solo tour is coming to an end. I am gearing up for my last show, which is tonight at Le Motel.
Once again, I want to send a huge thank you to all the people who made this tour happen. I rely on a big network of amazing, passionate music lovers, and I feel very grateful to have been able to call on them to turn two weeks on the calendar into a proper tour. You know who you are! I thank you with all my heart.
In other news, I will be coming home a little early, as The Luyas have had to cancel the second leg of our European tour for health reasons. We appreciate all the good vibes, and we’ll be back to see you soon.
The release date for Tambourine Death Bed is coming up fast!
In the meantime, you can save time and a bit of cash by pre-ordering from Forward Music.
Orders will ship at the end of April to arrive before the release date of May 7.
We also have a very limited-edition 7″ on the way for Record Store Day, which you can order from your local record store. Please do!
Have a listen to Shadow from said 7″
April 5, 2013 Respond
I am presently en route from Hamburg to Cologne with my trusty side-kick Témy. You’ve heard of Batman, yes? Témy is like my Robin. He’s been invaluable as a driver, roadie, lackey, and general yes-man. I mean, the guy just bought 4 cartons of chocolate milk – it’s like he thinks of everything.
Now I am three shows into my own tour, and we sadly just parted ways with Nadja (Binoculers) who organized the concerts (and shared the stage as well) in Hamburg, Göttingen and Kiel. All 3 shows were small and great. Our musics went together well, and the crowds were warm and quite patient with my stream-of-consciousness-mind-parade banter. We will miss Nadja greatly – her hospitality and music and her general heart and soul. We played a few songs together as well, and I do believe we have planted the seed for more future collaboration. If you ever get a chance to see Binoculers, do yourself the favour of checking it out.
Let’s rewind a bit: this whole adventure started over 2 weeks ago when The Luyas (in which I play lap steel) began their tour of France, as part of the festival Les Femmes s’en Mêlent. I felt free of blogging duties through that portion of the journey, satisfying myself with the rationalization that it might confuse people if I blog about touring with another band. Suffice to say that it was amazing. France showed us its cold weather and warm food; its old churches and its new sound systems. It was easy and fun, due in no small part to our tour manager/sound tech/driver/soul-guide, Remco. Remco is a superhero with his own side-kick built in; a bon-vivant authoritarian with the full spectrum of skills to babysit a bunch of Canadian wankers while letting them still feel they are in charge. We were blessed by great shows and great company.
Anyhow, since my own tour started a few days ago, the blog-pressure has been building to get in touch with you all.
It feels really good to be singing and playing my songs again. This new record has not been preformed very much (it’s not even out yet), and so everything is feeling very fresh and new on the stage. It’s a whole new challenge. I am approaching a new level of presence and interpretation with the songs. When the show is done right, I get an exhausted satisfaction of a good day of hard work. Something new has developed and worked it’s way into the experience, and I’m into it.
In a few hours, I’ll be playing in the early evening in a vintage clothing store in Cologne. I’d better get back to making mixed CDs to keep Témy happy (no iPod hook-up). Santo and Johnny to calm us down, and Betty Davis to shake us up.
Adios duders, chat soon.
March 20, 2013 Respond
Hello hello hello!
As you may or may not have heard, my new record is officially slated for release on May 7, through my friends at Forward Music. We have already made a song available for you all. It’s been circulating, but if you haven’t heard it yet, please check it out!
The record is called Tambourine Death Bed, and I recorded it mostly at home, with contributions from some very special friends. I’m very proud to deliver it – it’s been along wait.
I am writing you now from gorgeous and noisy Paris, where we have just kicked off a little France tour with The Luyas (I’m playing lap steel with them). I’ve just arrived and had a day to recover. Immediately following this tour, I will do two weeks of my own solo MF shows in Germany, Belgium and ending in Paris (dates below). I couldn’t be more thrilled to be playing all this new material on stage finally. If we are all lucky, I may even have a limited number of CDs to sell – even in advance of the official release date. Shhhh.
Furthermore, in advance of the album release, we’ll do a limited edition 7″ of two songs more from the same sessions, Wolves (which some of you May know from the Snailhouse demos) and Shadow. My lovely and talented pal Nick Kuepfer is working on a silkscreened cover. If all goes as planned, this treat will be available for Record Store Day (Saturday, April 20).
I sincerely apologize for the ‘all business’ tone of this note. However, the absence of whimsical musing and mildly humorous self-deprecation is due only to the fact that there is so much exciting news to share. I want to keep it short so you can go out and play – it’s almost spring after all.
I’ll try ot keep the blog posts coming.
Lots of love,
PS – We’ve already gotten some pretty kind words for “Bones in the River”:
“There’s strength in his subtlety, a fortitude developed over the years. Feuerstack doesn’t sport a breastplate built to withstand musket volleys or parry bayonet thrusts. No, Feuerstack wears nothing more than the confidence of knowing he can withstand whatever attack life launches. He walks with his chest ripped open and his heart exposed, breaking and beating in public view.” - Herohill