From left: Colin, Sarah and Chris unveil the new tracks
Kaffe 1870, Wakefield, QC – Photo by Mel Sturk
My pals Colin and Sarah joined me at the Kaffe 1870 on Saturday, February 22nd to chug through a few of the numbers from my new upcoming LP, “Volume Vs. Voice”. Stepping up to the plate after you’ve been on deck for so long with new tracks in your back pocket feels surreal. Surreal, because I was finally putting these songs into a brand new context after having such a long, personal, intimate and cozy one-on-one relationship with them.
We unveiled six and it felt like they were more than ready to soar. We’ll see what mysterious roads I’m taken down with this latest collection of folk punk tales.
For posterity, and thanks to Chris Cook, here’s our first ever live attempt at ‘The Focal Point’.
To quote Les Savvy Fav, “Please go easy on me (us)”:
It’s pretty rare (for me anyway) to have an in-depth review of an entire record. While you hear artists say all the time that they don’t listen to critics, I’ve always found it interesting to read what people have to say. And I suppose it goes without saying it’s somewhat easier to swallow when the critique is positive. Either way, it’s always appreciated when people take the time to listen and review in depth.
This review comes from the Winnipeg-based Crossfader online blog and is definitely of the glowing variety. I must admit after reading it, I needed to go back and listen to some of the songs to remember what they were all about.
Unfortunately this release didn’t come out on vinyl, but is still available on CD. You can also stream and download the record here.
I always interested to hear what people think about my songs so feel free to comment below.
I was in my late teens when I spent a summer driving Route 105 to Gracefield, Quebec as often as I could get my hands on the wheel of my parents’ car. I’m not sure how many trips I made that summer, but the 4 hour drive always felt like an anxious eternity filled with teenage daydreaming and cassette deck sing alongs.
Though I’m sure there was a formidable stack of tapes for each trip, it was the Grapes of Wrath’s Treehouse that I remember playing to death. While I don’t even think I knew what I was chasing up and down the 105 in that Pontiac Acadian, I clearly remember belting out songs like A Very Special Day as effortlessly as if I had penned them.
Many times those distant memories of the 105 have popped up in my songwriting and it’s kinda fun when I get to revisit them during shows. Songs such as Guilt Trip Fashion, Coax The Ending Day and my ode to lost summers, Summertime Out, all have anecdotes from those trips. And when I travel back to Wakefield, those lyrical sequences always seem to get amplified.
Wakefield was a milestone to me back then, a mere mile marker. The little town was an indicator I was getting close, or still had a long way to go, depending on the direction I was traveling.
As I got older and eventually moved to Ottawa, Wakefield became much more than a pit stop on a road trip; it became a home for many of my friends. Known for its beautiful scenery and for those city-escape day trips, I discovered Wakefield was a gem of fab restaurants and quaint businesses. Its entire aesthetic, I would argue, is encapsulated by iconic music venues like the Black Sheep Inn and Kaffe 1870. And because of them, many traveling musicians have gushed it is their favourite place in Canada to play live music.
This Saturday night I make the trip back to be among friends for a solo show at the Kaffe. It’s the first time since last summer, I feel guilty admitting. Yuma County rounds out the bill and we’ve got some special treats planned for our audience. Hopefully you can make it out.
Maybe I’ll take the extra time on Saturday and forego the express Autoroute 5 to spend some time on the old road again. It feels a bit melancholy to me that the 105 now seems to be a bypassed trail. It was some time ago now I realized it was the journey on that road and not the destination that I fondly cherished on those warm summer solo trips so long ago.
Thanks to a few gifted songs, I’m thinking their effects will last a lifetime.
Rocking out the camp site in Gracefield during one of those trips, though this one not so solo. Note my old cherished Three O’Clock Train ‘Wig Wam Beach’ shirt… and Doug’s wearing a classic one from The Stand GT. Minute Rice?!
Saturday, February 22nd!
Kaffe 1870 in beautiful Wakefield QC.
Save the date…many more SHOW-down details to follow soon…
Though I live pretty close to Kingston, Ontario, I could certainly use the old cliche and count how many times I’ve played there on one hand:
My return to the Toucan today will be just my third solo show within those city limits after all these years.
It’s a nostalgic treat, though, to return to the original venue where The Stand first played Kingston. I remember we were joined on stage by a young K-town band called ‘The 14th Wray’:
Pat ‘The Shanker’ Shanks was on guitar, Alan Wright on drums with Gord Mylks on bass – and they played a ripping style of psych-garage. To quote Pat when I asked him about the memory recently, “We’d had like two practices and were pretty shitty. I remember we did the Gilligans Island Theme and maybe House of Doctor Stimuli by Deja Voodoo.”
As previously mentioned on the blog here, I remember Pat breaking a string during the Wray’s set. I ran up to grab my black Les Paul copy and sling it over Pat’s shoulder, hoping to help him barely miss a strum. In fury of garage rock, The Shanker proceeded to bleed all over my guitar, acting out his best Pete Townshend adolescent garage rock attack! Doctor Stimuli indeed!
I remember him feeling pretty badly after the show as we both laughed, shrugged it off over pints and joked at becoming ‘blood brothers in rock’.
The bond between the two acts that was cemented that evening would live on for many years.
(I should also mention our pal Greg Watson would join the 14th Wray soon after!)
Join Pat and I at the Toucan tonight when we play with Jon Hynes, the Huaraches and Teenage Frankenstein for a CFRC benefit.
Bleeding on guitars will be optional for this event.
Pat and Cryptic Al busk on Princess St. in K-town. LUNCH!
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