I love winter, but in the last couple of days I've been feeling the first of those spring-pangs – when you're starting to feel ready for the warmer weather to return. In that spirit, I thought I'd post a video I sang in at the end of last summer with my friend Tim Moxam. I've been doing a bunch of work with him and our third bandmate Raffa Weyman over the past year, and a new album is on the way this spring! The video is by our pals at Live in Bellwoods- bigups Mike and Kyle!
And speaking of videos, mine and Rene LaVice's new track the Calling is well over 100K views on youtube now, which is AMAZING! You can watch the video here. Thanks to all the drum n bass fans who've been sending love our way!
It's an exciting week! Two projects that I poured a lot of love into over the past year are finally being released!
The first actually already has been released…sort of. My good friend and drum n bass producer supreme Rene LaVice (who is poised to have a HUGE year) and I worked our butts off on a couple of new collaborations in Spring 2014. The first of them – the Calling - finally saw the light of day last week when BBC's Zane Lowe chose it as his Hottest Record that day and premeired it on the radio! UKF Drum n Bass also put it out on youtube and the love has been flowing in! I'm so proud of Rene – this song was a true labour of love. Check out the UKF video below.
Then, on January 25th, my best bud Matthew Bailey will release his new EP, You Said I Said. I sing and play keyboards on it (I'm slowly getting better). We've been performing these songs for about a year now, so it is awesome to finally have them recorded and ready for the world! We'll be celebrating the release at the Common on the 25th. Details can be found on facebook here. Check out the teaser video below (the one with the long hair is me!). The album will be out on Bandcamp shortly, and I'll post the link here when it is!
For the last seven years, my Novembers and Decembers have been dedicated to a lovely show I put on at the Music Gallery with kith&kin – the vocal trio I sing in with my sister Martha, and our mom Kathleen. Over the years it's become a wonderful tradition not only for our family, but also for many other people – the members of our kith&kin choir, the Music Gallery staff, and of course all the families and friends who come year after year.
It is always a special night. This year our choir will feature the Toronto talents of Isla Craig, Frank Griggs, Max Milton Kelly, Gabriel Levine, and a new member Andrew Patten, holding down the bass end of things. Our beloved member D. Alex Meeks can't join us this year because he'll be touring in warmer climates with the awesome Hooded Fang – we'll miss our beloved Holiday Rambler!
Below are the details for the show, and also be sure to check out the beautiful new video made by Tyler Hnatuk. It features kith&kin's performance of Oh My Mother is the Ocean Sea, a song that was originally composed by the great Wade Hemsworth for an NFB doc called Seaweeds. Tyler has edited the footage from Seaweeds beautifully to match our version of the song, which is on kith&kin's album Cool of the Day.
7th Annual kith&kin Holiday Wassail
at the Music Gallery, 197 John Street, just north of Queen
Last winter I became obsessed with the Tom Petty song "Only a Broken Heart", from the album Wildflowers. My friend Noah Reid and I worked out an arrangement of it and sang it together at various shows and parties that season. In early Spring, Mike Timmins asked me if I'd like to contribute a recording to his new series of cover-song recordings by Latent artists, and I knew I had just the song!
Our version of Only a Broken Heart (which also features Matt Bailey on electric guitar) is now available as a free download as part of the Under Cover project. By clicking here you get a free download of that song, as well as the Cowboy Junkies new cover of the Springsteen classic Thunder Road. You can read more about the Under Cover series on the Cowboy Junkies site here.
Noah Reid is a wonderful musician – he has quietly been working on his debut album, which will be out sometime in the near future – keep your eyes peeled!
In other news, the song Sad Man off my new album Nonbeliever was featured in the latest Torontoisgood podcast along with a bunch of other awesome music by Toronto artists. You can listen to it here.
Slowly but steadily over the past 2 years, my best friend Matthew Bailey and I have been tinkering away at a collection of my songs. Half were written years ago when I was a brand new adult living in Montreal. The other half were written over the past two years here in Toronto. We called the album Nonbeliever and released it surrounded by friends a couple of weeks ago. The mood of this record is a bit of a departure from my past two solo albums. It's moodier and weirder (dare I say!) and the arrangements are sparse but crafted with care. I am really proud of what Matt and I have created, and I'm particularly proud of my singing on the record. As many of those close to me know, I've struggled with voice problems over the past 4 years and have learned a lot about strong, healthy singing – and I think it shows on this record!
I must thank the incomparable Josh Van Tassel for contributing drums and sounds on three of the songs, and to my beautiful sister Martha for playing flute. Most importantly though, I must thank Matt Bailey. He put an incredible amount of work into this project – most of the guitars, keys, and other sounds were lovingly played and recorded by him. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful and creative collaborator and friend in him! (We are currently finishing up a new ep of Matt's music, so keep your ears open for its release, and in the meantime check out his last album here).
My friend Jake Sherman filmed our performance of Thrush at the Nonbeliever release party, and the resulting video is below. Try to ignore the sound of the shattering vase in the first minute – stuff happens! Thanks to Jake for his beautiful work and to our hosts that evening – the amazing Dean family. And thanks to new friend Lukas Horch for the photo at the top. Check him out!
I am certainly having a beautiful one so far. I have a couple pieces of news to share!
First, I was honoured to contribute a song to the compilation album DOMINIONATED – which celebrates eight great years of the Canadian music blog Quick Before it Melts. The assignment was to pick a favourite Canadian song of the 80s or 90s and record a cover of it for the compilation. I chose Mary Margaret O'Hara's Dear Darling, from her classic album Miss America. I recorded it with Michael Timmins, and my great friends Matt Bailey and Noah Reid contributed guitar and piano. You can download the entire album for free here. So delighted to be included in this great group of Canadian bands!
One of my favourite shows of the year is coming up soon! Sunday July 20th will be the seventh annual Poor Pilgrim Island Show – a traveling musical day on Toronto Island, which is organized by my good friend and Bruce Peninsula bandmate Matt Cully. Every year the show features beautiful unamplified performances by Toronto musicians in hidden natural settings all around the Islands. I'll be opening the show in a collaborative set of (mostly) traditional folk songs with my pal Sean Donald. More info on the show is here. Bring your bike if you have one! Below is a video of John Southworth, one of the great performers to see at Poor Pilgrim 7!
I'm excited to let you know about a show I'm doing with kith&kin (aka my family) in a couple of weeks. The show is happening at St. Andrew-by-the-Lake church on Toronto Island. This church is very spceial to us because it's where we started singing together as a trio in our community, and also because it's where we recorded our two albums. We'll be joined by our fantastic choir Isla Criag, Max Milton Kelly, Frank Griggs, Gabe Levine, and D. Alex Meeks. We'll perform songs as a trio, with the choir, and the choir members will lead some of their own songs as well. Oh and it's happening on MOTHER'S DAY! Music starts at 4pm, so come and ramble on the Island beforehand. All details are on facebook here. We'll be singing songs from our recently released album Cool of the Day, which you can listen to below…
It's finally Spring in Toronto! I wanted to share a video with all of you. This is a trailer for a new web series called FLUSH, which is created by my friends Maisie Jacobson and Natasha Greenblatt. They have been working really hard on it and created the trailer as part of an application to get more funding to finish the series. Please take a second to watch the trailer if you can – the more views they get, the more likely they are to get funding! And they used parts of a new song that I recorded with my best bud Matthew Bailey as the background music! This is the first taste of a bunch of new music I've been working on over the past few months!
I've also got a couple of fun shows coming up in the next few weeks. On Sunday April 13th I'll be singing with Isla Craig and Tamara Lindeman as a trio-version of our all-lady a capella group Soul Sisters Supreme Redux V 2.0. We'll be performing a breakfast show at the wonderful Kazoo! Fest in Guelph Ontario, at Innovation Guelph. More info on that show is here – admission includes coffee and pancake breakfast!
And then on Saturday April 19th I'll be doing a short set with my family trio kith&kin at One Sweet Day, a great event put on by Sierra Club Canada in Toronto's Sorauren Park to celebrate honey bees and beekeepers! You can get more info on facebook here.
It is very cold in Toronto. The coldest winter in years! It's been a big deal for lots of folks, but I've actually been enjoying it a lot – skating on natural ice on Toronto Island with my family and cooking lots of big braises and stews at home! I have a few shows coming up that will bring me out of semi-hibernation – maybe they'll get you out too.
First up, I'll be playing a show of Ivy Mairi tunes with my pal Matt Bailey at the Dakota Tavern on Jan 29th. It's been awhile since I've played my own stuff live, so I'm excited. We're gonna take the opportunity to try out some new songs. We're opening up the show and will be followed by our good friends Animal Parts and Dear Sister – both amazing!! All the details are on facebook here.
Then the following night, on Jan 30th, I'll be taking on a new role playing keyboard in the latest incarnation of Matthew Bailey's band! This will be my second time ever playing keyboards live, so wish me luck on my big solos! That show will be at the Common on College – details here.
And then later on in February I'm taking part in Returning Current at the Music Gallery – a really cool talk/performance being put on by my friend Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink and renowned acoustic biologist Katy Payne. In the show, Katy will give a talk about her landmark research into elephant communication and humpback whale song. I am part of an amazing choir put together by Daniela that will present some musical moments to illustrate Katy's points, or give context. What we have learned so far about how these animals communicate is amazing – I'm so excited to meet Katy in person and hear her stories! This will be an awesome evening! All the details are here.
Here's a great video by Dear Sister to warm your winter…
I've got shows of all kinds coming up in the next few weeks!
First, this Thursday the 21st I'll jump up to do a couple tunes with my good pal Sam Cash at the Dakota Tavern. You can a video of us doing a duet here. This band is tied for my favourite hometown act!
Then on November 22nd and 23rd I am honoured to be performing as part of the live debut of the Kennedy Suite, a song cycle that explores the Kennedy assasination. The songs were written by Scott Garbe and were recorded by an amazing group of performers including Cowboy Junkies, Sarah Harmer, Skydiggers, Jason Collett, Doug Paisley, Lee Harvey Osmond, and so many more great people. I was lucky enough to asked to sing on a couple of songs! To celebrate the release of the album and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assasination we are performing the album from front to back for two nights at the beautiful Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. Tickets are still available for the 23rd and can be purchased here. At the bottom of this post is an interview with Michael Timmins and Scott Garbe about the project.
On December 12th I'll be performing in the first Bruce Peninsula show in many months! The rock-choral-prog mega crew I sing with hasn't played in a long time, so we're excited to play a special show as part of the Wired City Music Fest at the new downtown venue Adelaide Hall. It's going to be a a great, big show. You can get tickets here.
And as I have done for the past 5 years, my family a capella trio kith&kin will be performing our annual seasonal concerts. This year we will perform a more formal sit-down concert at the beautiful Music Gallery on Sunday December 15th. This show will feature our all-star choir, the Shadowland Youth Mummers, and other special guests! For tickets and more information click here. Then, on Friday December 20th we'll have a more casual show/gathering at the Imperial Pub - a chance to play some music and see our friends! This show will also feature a set by Matt Bailey's new surf outfit the Poinsettias to take us into the night! This show will be pay-what-you-can. To RSVP to either kith&kin show on facebook click here.
More info coming soon on the new kith&kin album and some January shows!