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…
After a while of being on the move, it’s been real nice to settle in one spot. And Charlottetown has been a pretty easy place to get settled into. Beautiful vistas, warm and welcoming community, and a vibrant arts scene. You’ll find me out and about, making noise. Playing symphonic music with the symphony, playing jazz music with the jazzers. And I’ll be joining the fabulous Atlantic String Machine on a handful of dates in the next season. We were just in Pictou, NS over the holiday weekend laying down string tracks for Dave Gunning‘s new record. Great songs with a great vibe! Keep your eye on the EVENTS page for all the upcoming details.
I’m also heading down to Jacksonville, FL this fall to present my piece “Beautiful Dreamers” for cello and live electronics at the Electroacoustic Barn Dance. I’m so thrilled to be working with Nick Photinos (founding member and co-artistic director of the four-time Grammy winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird) on the performance. Nick is an amazing cellist and I can’t wait to hear him take on this piece for its American premiere.
On the topic of solo instruments with electronics, I’m excited to share a bit of a recent performance of “I Will Stay Here” for tarogato and electronics. Esther Lamneck performed this piece at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and she brings an awesome energy to the instrument. Take a listen…
Tantramar River, Trans-Canada Highway, MacIntosh Brook, Blue Ridge Parkway. Watauga River, Dutch Creek, Peak Road, Thomas E. Dewey Thruway. US-4, I-95, Batemans Brook, Hudson Headwaters. Route 16, Reversing Falls. North River, West River. North River Road.
Man, oh, man. It’s been a season on the go. Uprooting my New Brunswick home and hitting the roads (and rivers) of the Atlantic provinces and states, up to the north, out to the east, down south, and back again. And now I’ve landed in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, a small chunk of land sitting in an ocean bay filled by three rivers, where I’m thrilled to be joining the faculty of Holland College in the fall.
I’ve got all sorts of exciting things in the future: a new album of songs to be released this fall, two new choral pieces published by Renforth Music, the American premiere of my piece Beautiful Dreamers (by the fabulous Nick Photinos!), a bass recording of a Bach cello suite re-mix, and a brand new literary musical collaboration. Plus a possible orchestral premiere in the new year. Some serious cubic feet per second.
The last couple months have seen some great music happening too. Erato Ensemble gave a fabulously playful premiere performance of Of All the Birds, a piece they commissioned for their Ayre II program. The concert also marked the last for Will George as the artistic director of the group, and you can watch his stunningly conclusive performance here (the video also features Dory Haley‘s spot-on rendition of a flycatcher!). Esther Lamneck performed I Will Stay Here recently in Manhattan at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. And the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra presented my piece for erhu, pipa, ruan, sheng, and zheng Old As the River at the Canadian Music Centre in Vancouver. Take a listen…
“In a sense, each of us is an island. In another sense, however, we are all one. For though islands appear separate, and may even be situated at great distances from one another, they are only extrusions of the same planet, Earth.” – J. Donald Walters
This winter has afforded me the opportunity to traverse the entire length of this island we call North America. On New Year’s day I arrived in Sackville, New Brunswick where I will spend the season teaching at Mount Allison University. It is wonderful to have landed in this beautiful and welcoming town and to be surrounded by so many fabulous people.
I’ve got many projects on the go, as always. A new commission for the Erato Ensemble is underway. It will be premiered on their May concert in Vancouver, BC, Ayre II: the follow-up to their wildly successful Ayre program which featured Baroque repertoire and newly written “re-mixes” of those pieces. I’ll also have a few pieces performed at the SCI conference in Newport News, VA this spring. Check out the EVENTS page for all the details.
I’m working on a couple electro-acoustic and video projects that were born during several amazingly productive artist residencies in the fall, too. Below is a sneak peek of part of a larger project that was created during a month on the Oregon Coast at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Enjoy!
It has been a magnificent fall out and about. Two concert tours have taken me through every state and province in the western section of North America. Four weeks at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast saw great collaborative work with Bren Simmers on a new eco-opera for young people and several great workshops with students in the community. New explorations in video with bass improvisations and live sampling also resulted from the residency. Now I’ve landed at PLAYA, an amazing residency in the Oregon desert, where these projects will continue to evolve. And what a place this is: juniper, sage, and wind that will knock you off your feet, wind that you can literally watch moving the lake laterally across the flats. The world sure is something…
In addition to these projects, I’ve got a couple other things up my sleeve. The new album is mixed and mastered and should be ready for the world sometime in the new year. I’m also working on a new piece for the Erato Ensemble’s spring concert. And some big changes are coming up in the next couple months. Stay tuned for all the details. In the meantime, I’ll share a great performance of Field Notes by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ Men’s Ensemble. It’s so wonderful to see young musicians engaging with contemporary music!
This fall will see some wear on the tires, as I head out on a couple tours. First up is a survey of the smokey regions of North America starting in BC and heading to Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. Then, after a month long stopover on the coast at the Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology, I’ll be headed down to California, Arizona, and New Mexico. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to get in out of the haze, enjoy a cold beverage, and listen to some music, so check out the details on the Events page.
The last couple months have been really fruitful, too. I spent the month of August holed up among the Sitka spruce and sand spits of the Long Beach Peninsula working on a new piece for bass and electronics that weaves found sounds and interviews with the lovely acoustics of the historic Oysterville Church. Transmitter and Receiver, for mixed choir with piano and electronics, was premiered at the Murau International Music Festival in Murau, Austria. And the tracks from my new recording project spent some quality hours over at Park Sound Studio being mixed by the fabulous Andy Schichter. I’ll be putting some finishing touches on it over the next couple months, and it ought to be out in the new year. Stay tuned…