First off, let me start with an extra large, supersized, extremely grateful - thank you! Your response to The Record Club has been incredible and put a little extra zip in my step. I feel fortunate to build this club with such a wicked-cool group of people. Please don’t be shy! Let me know your hopes, dreams or any ideas you might have for this club and what you would like to hear from me. Let’s build it together.
'When you come to a fork in the road, take it' - Yogi Berra
It’s not like I didn’t have a plan, I did. It just got blindsided by that thing we all just went through. And when there were no shows, rehearsals, no tour plans or jams - my wheels started spinning. Big time!
As my good pal Loz said, when you don’t know where you are - you just go back to where you last knew where you were. Something like that...
So that’s what I did. Each day I would grab my guitar, open my notebook, and pick up where I left off the day before. I got back to what I loved. I would tell that little judgemental demon on my shoulder to kindly leave this part of the process alone - I’m just singing and trying to get some pen on the paper. Put ‘em together and you got yourself a song. Take a bit of that pressure off and write a song for you.
It started off slowly. And rather sad to be honest (it was the height of the pandemic just a few weeks after I released Fingers Crossed so you wouldn’t say I was joy to be around). But as time drifted on, the songs evolved and continued to show themselves. The more I explored the heart of the song, the clearer it became.
I’ve always assumed that if I enjoy singing it, as in I keep returning to it, then maybe I’ve got something worthy of further exploration. But that process can take a lot of time and patience.
As I went, I began to see the thread weaves through it all.
Like each song a distant cousin to the next. All of them connected in one way or another.
So, I had to make sure the recordings were just right.
Over the fall and into this winter, I made a few trips to lower mainland to record with Jay Stewart. Stewy works out of Fort Studio in Fort Langley, BC and is an incredible drummer, engineer, and producer. On the drums he has the softest touch yet a heavy sense of groove, like a weighted blanket. He dove headfirst into these songs alongside me, no hesitation and never looked back. I’m so very grateful for his help and let me tell you, the drums on these recordings sound amazing. Like really, really, really, good!!
Another integral part of the process was Jer Friesen. He’s the kind of musician that you don’t hold back - just let him do his thing. He brings an energy and an understanding that only few musicians possess and Jer has played on almost every single album on mine. That’s how much I trust his instincts.
Jer has also been battling stage four pancreatic cancer for almost a year now and I consider myself extremely lucky to have him on these songs. Over the years and throughout this recording, I’ve learned so much from listening and watching his approach to creating music. It’s extremely special to have him on these recordings.*
Together, we just started working through the tunes. One by one, and eventually we rolled through five songs. With a thread that weaves through it all.
Oleander is a song leaning into balance, a poisonous flower. And, also about how the Maple Leafs may never win the Cup. Until You’re Already There drives and drives because life is all about the journey after all. Another is Modern Drugs - a love song I wrote after being blown away by the strength, courage that it takes when a new light is brought into the world.
There’s an energy in these songs and a life to them that I really hope you’re able to resonate with. We’ll start rolling them out shortly and I hope you love ‘em.
* Here’s a link to the gofundme set up for Jer Friesen and his family. If you’ve got a little extra these days please consider spreading some love to them! Thank you!
Will there be synthesizers?