2014-02-05// Winter wonderwords
Bonjour mon ami!
Welcome to 2014!
I remember when "2001 A Space Odyssey" came out and it was SO futuristic and unimaginable that we could ever be in a time that was beyond the 19's. Hell, the date 1984 was unthinkably futuristic when the book first came out!
There are many things that make us shake our heads trying to grok the passage of time. Seeing friends' kids that we've known since they were born become parents; realizing you've lived in the same place for a third of your life; becoming grandparents; finding yourself frequently starting sentences with "I remember when....". (I remember when there were NO plastic bags. If we're lucky, there will be a time soon that our kids will be saying "I remember when there WERE plastic bags"!)
The image I chose for "Everywhere I Go" certainly does that for me. I took that photo at the Denman Island Hall during a Pied Pumkin sound check looking out the door at Julia and Louie standing on the porch. I've always loved that shot and when I was pondering the cover, it seemed perfect - the two of them seeming to gaze off into the mysterious future. I certainly NEVER could have dreamed that 15 years later she would be engineering and producing an album for me. And how Dog Love has been a key feature of her childhood all these years. I know, all this is small and trivial in light of fracking and famine, but it's the sweetness and sanity that we hang onto like a life line from the sea of humans behaving badly.
I'm shamelessly proud of this album. Recording it was dramatically different than the process of the last solo album. The last was a decidedly solitary project by choice, recorded in my home studio with my customary "I can do it myself!" attitude. This one was very collaborative, with mostly McGill students as the players, some stellar string and french horn arrangements from Bill Runge, and of course Julia's steady and sure hand. And the songs were written over a period of a month rather than years. There's even a "cover" (rare for me) of a tune by Zac Doeding, "One Sky" that I stumbled upon when he attended a songwriting workshop I was giving in Victoria. It's an environmental commentary expressed far more effectively than I might have. So for me, it was a grand and new adventure with wonderful results.
Then there was the long wait - to get it mixed while we were in the midst of a very busy summer - and then for the wonderful folks at Borealis to be ready to push the button. Though the official "street" date (is there a street for albums anymore?) is March 4th, the new album is out and available for purchase or download at the Borealis Records Website. YAY!!! I would imagine it will be on iTunes by March 4th.
Just to cement that I'm really enjoying 2014 so far, on the heels of that news was The High Bar Gang's Juno nomination for "Lost & Undone, A Gospel Bluegrass Companion". Again....the passage of time....the last time I was nominated for a Juno was 33 years ago! Well, it's not me of course, it's that wonderful Gang. I can't help but point out the amusing irony that the category is "Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year" given that my beliefs fall somewhere between atheism and pantheism. (Though some of my best friends are Christians!) In fact, I'm known in the band as "The Sinner". (You'll have to wait for the book...) But the music....it's all about the music - and it is rousing and sweet and SO fun to play and sing. So there you go...it's nice to have ones efforts celebrated however it's labeled. The next from The HBG will be the Cheatin', Hurtin' album. :-)
If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen or buy the hard copies at True North Records or find it on iTunes.
So there you go boys and girls. Our theme for today was the passage of time, and I hope you enjoyed our little narcissistic adventure.
Please do stay in touch. I love hearing from you. And if you have thoughts of having me in your town or home this year (particularly Ontario in late May and early June) just write me at the contact on the website.
Stay warm and safe out there.