It’s summertime, the living is easy, catfish are jumping (so they say, though I’ve never seen a catfish on PEI), the theatres are open again…
And I’m feeling so fortunate to be spending Friday and Saturday nights this summer out at the Victoria Playhouse performing in the Good Time Radio Variety Show. The cast is fabulous! I’m joined by Canadian theatrical legends Cam MacDuffee and Julain Molnar as well as my partner in many musical crimes Karen Graves. The show is full of laughs, so if you’ve been craving a good time after months of global misfortune, consider spending some time in a theatre…
“Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music.” – Johann Goethe
Atlantic String Machine is half-way through our 20-21 season, which we’ve named The Harris Project. All the concerts this season explore the life and work of reknowned PEI architect William Critchlow Harris through music and sound. And I’m excited to share an excerpt of the premiere performance of my new work A Single Juniper Post, which we debuted in January. The piece is a meditation on resonant spaces and it addresses the way that Harris approached acoustics in his building design. If you’ve never been inside Charlottetown’s St. Paul’s Anglican, it may be hard to fully appreciate the acoustics of the space through video. But even if you have been there, you may not know that Harris designed this building like an instrument. Beneath the very place where we are standing is a resonant chamber, and the vibrations of the floor are transferred to the bottom of the box by a sound post, a single length of juniper wood.
There may have been limited seating and masks only came down to insert beer and popcorn, but it was such a thrill to be out at the movies this past month to see my experimental film Terrain/Territory premiere at the Charlottetown Film Festival!
And Atlantic String Machine kicked off our 20-21 season (The Harris Project — a series of four concerts celebrating the life and work of esteemed PEI architect William Critchlow Harris) recently with a pair of sold out concerts. Thanks to all the responsibly masked and distanced folks who came out to support the returning life of live music in our community. Keep your eyes posted to the Events page to find out what else is around the corner…
Sounds of spring: rubber boots sloshing through the mud, the buzzing of the first insects, goldfinches cracking seeds at the feeder, a patter of raindrops on the cold frame, the radio from an open car window, hedge clippers across the way.
Colours of spring: an ochre sludge in the drainage ditch, viridian new growth in the lawn, claret cedar shingles on the house down the hill, amarinthine blooms, cerulean sky.
I wasn’t able to travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland this spring to celebrate our East Coast Music Award nomination for Atlantic String Machine’s Bayfield Sessions, but I did get to chronicle my quarantined spring jaunts around Charlottetown through video and music. I hope that you enjoy the musical journey through my world, and I hope that everything is your world is safe and sound and colorful!
Well, like most everyone in the world these days, my regular going-ons have shifted considerably as of late. I am spending more time looking at the screen and less time looking at real human beings, to say the least.
And not surprisingly, all my scheduled performances have been either cancelled or postponed. But I believe this too will pass, so keep your eyes on the EVENTS page for new dates as they become available. Also, I am working on a few distance collaborations with friends afar, and I’ll let you know more as they become ready for the world.
In the meantime, I’m finding plenty of time to prepare the pea patch, encourage the buds on the fruit trees, and write some new music that I hope to share with you all soon. Until then, stay well!
Winter sunsets are some of the most rewarding of the year. Bringing in the dark part of the day, the heart of the season, sending us to settle in and get down to business. And it’s extra rewarding to see all that hard work pay off.
I’m thrilled that my new album Water in the Draw has been playing all over college radio — even hitting the #8 spot on the National Folk and Roots chart. And the journalists are saying some real nice things about it, too.
And I was awful proud to be recognized with a Music PEI Award for Achievement in Classical Music with the rest of Atlantic String Machine. In fact, we’re double ecstatic, since our album The Bayfield Sessions has also been nominated for Classical Album of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards.
As the nights get shorter and the winter magic melts away, there’ll be some fun things on the horizon. A trip to Newfoundland for the ECMAs, a visit to the Confed Centre stage with Rose Cousins, and the premieres of a couple new exciting videos (that I can’t quite share the details of yet!). Keep your eye on the events page for all the dotted i’s and crossed t’s.
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After days and weeks and months and years of hard work my new album, Water in the Draw, is finally launched. There are so many wonderful people who contributed to this thing, and I have so much gratitude for everyone involved. Andy Schichter mixed the heck out of my recordings and Philip Shaw Bova polished them up all nice in the mastering. Amy Leggin painted a stunning image of Brush Creek Ranch, where the album was recorded. And Bren Simmers made it look all fresh and clean with the design work. And a great big thanks to the Charlottetown community who came out celebrate with me at the Release Party.
Physical copies are going out into the world soon, and you’ll be able to pick up your very own copy of the disc at CDBaby when they arrive. You can, of course, stream the album on Spotify or any of the many other places to find musical bits and bytes on the interweb. Happy listening!
Well it’s that time of year when all the efforts of the last little while start to pay off. I’ve been hard at work on a new project for some time now, and I’m so excited to share the first track off my upcoming record, Water in the Draw. The video features footage from the 10,000 acre cattle ranch in southeastern Wyoming where the album was recorded. And the snowy scene really sets the stage for the sounds of shattering ice that I used as percussion throughout the track. The whole album will be released on November 15 through all physical and online platforms. And if you’re in PEI, we’ll be celebrating the release with a concert at the Beaconsfield Carriage House. I’ll be putting together a three-piece band for the event and am thrilled to have Chris Corrigan and Sid Acharya joining me on guitar and piano. Check out the EVENTS page for all the details.
It’s been a busy season all around. Plenty of dates with Atlantic String Machine, and that group has even released its own new album. Thanks to everyone who came out to the Mack Theatre in Charlottetown to help bring The Bayfield Sessions into the world. Now to get ready for the winter…
So the trees are starting to leaf out around here, and there are some sure signs that the living is gonna get pretty easy pretty soon. This particular season is going to be jam packed full of tour dates with Atlantic String Machine. We’ll be joining Rachel Beck at a handful of festivals and theatres throughout the Maritimes over the next couple months; and, we’ll be headed out on tour through Quebec and Ontario to visit Owen Sound’s Summerfolk festival towards the hottest part of the season. Check out the EVENTS page for all the details.
We also had the pleasure of celebrating all the great music being made in Atlantic Canada recently by joining Lennie Gallant at the Gala concert of the East Coast Music Awards. With all the talent in town for the event, we couldn’t help but get some great friends into the studio with us to make a few recordings, so be on the lookout for new news about that later in the year.
And in the meantime, keep the stereo cranked and the garden growing…
On these days when the outside world is plunged into the deep minuses, I feel lucky to be able to stroll (fully covered in wool and down) down to the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and spend some quality time indoors. There’s a fabulous show on there this winter, Who’s Your Mother?, which features half a century’s worth of work by female artists on PEI. I love that though it’ll be icy for a few months more, I can stare off into the horizon of Terry Dunton Stevenson’s Fall Tide Out and be transported to another world. Art is some powerful stuff…
After a recent gig, I was milling around the reception enjoying one of the fine craft beers that are brewed here on the Island. And I got to talking to a fellow who, after expressing his enjoyment of the concert, stated that he wasn’t a music maker himself. Upon a little further prodding, he mentioned that he was, in fact, one of the founding organizers of the Indian River Festival. Thing is, maybe there’s more than one way to make music…
So, I feel gratitude for all the organizations that support the arts and make the world a better place to be an artist. The galleries, the festivals, the colleges, the clubs, and the symphonies. Particularly, I’d like to thank the Prince George Symphony for presenting a work of mine, After the Dawn Out Comes the Sun, this winter. I appreciate that even though I’ve made the move to the Atlantic coast of the country, my music can keep living on over in British Columbia.
And in the midst of the snow season, it’s nice to think ahead to warmer times. There are an awful lot of festivals across Canada that I’m pretty glad exist. And I’ll have a chance to visit a few of them in the coming year, so keep your eyes on the Events page for the info as it comes. In the meantime, you’ll find me in wool socks, a cup of tea in hand…