I’ll be an artist until the day I die. Deviations of medium and message may occur, but sweet Buddha do I ever love what I do.
I have 10 days under my belt of this European tour with my new pal Peter Katz, and may I say that we are getting along like gangbusters. Always quick with a joke, and humbly Canadian, Pete knows how to command the stage. So far we have had several packed houses in The Netherlands and now throughout Switzerland.
Today we are traveling back to the Netherlands for a show in Dordrecht and then Utrecht before we head back to my ancestral home of Ireland for a series of shows. I can already smell her shores, and taste her dark bitter sweet pints. I have promised Peter and my other new friend and backing musician Karen Kosowski that we will spend one of our days off in Ireland in the village of Slane. I aim to take them to the Abbey ruins on the hill, as well as the castle to meet the local Royal Irish family.
From there we will head to the UK for another week of touring before I head back to Canada for rehearsals and a performance in Victoria at the MacPherson Playhouse. After that I head to Los Angeles for a show at the Hotel Cafe.
Then it is back to work wrapping up my new album. I ended up recording 26 songs, so now I am left having to distill everything down into a musical journey that tells the story I felt in their writing. Then mixing and mastering. Then putting it all together into one artistic package.
Where does time go? Though infinite and eternal, my own life and it’s timeline seems to be rushing by bringing so many changes and experiences.
I spent the month of May living in a cottage in rural Ireland outside of the village of Slane. Each morning I would awake, light the fire and make a pot of black tea or coffee. I would listen to the rain on the windows most days and get to work writing. Many nights I would walk the 4 km into the village and have a pint with the locals. My paints, a few books, a handful of clothes, a piano and my guitar were the only possessions I brought with me. Having no internet, TV or phone forced me to look inward, be introspective and truly connect in a way I haven’t in years. As a man who grew up on a farm, being surrounded by rolling green fields, allowed me to re-tap into the ancient part of me. The aspect that knows and is the spark of life. One of the most meaningful adventures while living there was tracing my Irish heritage and visiting where many of my ancestors came from. I felt like they were all around me in every corner, giving me energy and a voice to write from. I honestly feel like I left Ireland weeks later a changed human being. I stretched outward and allowed growth mentally, artistically and even spiritually – a much needed respite from being a cog in the music industry machine. Not to mention the Guinness rep special delivered a bottle of brew with my name on it. Now I know I have arrived in life!
Once I returned to Canada though, I was recharged and ready to hit the road. I have spent the good portion of the summer already touring festivals across Canada and a handful of dates in the US. Most of the festivals have been Jazz this year – a new experience to say the least, as they brought a new crowd and new fans. Of course touring is always an adventure and as an artist we never know what might happen on the road. Take for instance this past June in Saskatoon. Take one part severe storm warning, throw in a canceled 5000 capacity outdoor stage as a result of the imminent storm, add a dash of social media tweets from fans offering their condo as a place to hold the show and instruments and amps to be used, and what do you get? You get a night I will never forget. You can read about it here online. As well as listen to an interview on CBC with Heather Morrison (the woman who threw the house concert) here.
It is now well into July and I have found myself spending more and more time in Los Angeles taking in the energy and sunshine. I’m feeling like the amount of material I have written in the last months in Ireland and elsewhere, and the differing energies of the songs, will require 2 albums to be recorded. How I will release them, if at the same time, as a double album, or spaced out over 2014 is yet to be known. Though the subject matter and themes are well aligned, the albums will be opposing sounds and energies. Exciting and challenging times to say the least, but I want to continue to break boundaries and grow as an artist and a man on this green earth.
Wanting nothing more than to learn from the life I am making…
It has been quite the ride since “We Were Born To Glory’ came out last July 2012. I have spent days on the road across Europe and Canada on THE GLORY tour – and now I find myself with just a few shows left this month until the summer festivals kick off in June. Which has got me thinking it is time to REALLY take myself off the road and unplug for a while so that I can hear the call of creation again. Her voice is ever present in my mind, but when the machine has me in it’s gears it is harder to hear clearly. I can think of no better place to be still and listen than the rural countryside of Ireland. My home away from home. I am not sure if it is the ghosts of my ancestors that I feel, or just the nostalgia and heart of the Irish people – but I can not wait to set foot on her soil again. My plan is to rent a small house near the County Meath. My only prerequisites are that it must have a wood fireplace and a room large enough to hold a piano. Oh, and be within walking distance of a local pub for a wee dram of whisky or a pint of Guinness on a cold damp night.
Before I leave for Ireland though, I must attend the Juno’s in Regina. I am so honoured to have been nominated for “Adult Alternative Album of the Year”. We artists work away in our hearts and minds with our heads down sometimes. It is always gratifying to look up once and a while and see that your peers and the industry at large is listening.
Thank you as always dear musical comrades for listening too.
Time is an elastic. We stretch it and feel it throw us ahead sometimes at a very intense pace. That is certainly how I felt when things kicked off in Europe on tour. Suddenly I was in it. Submerged and swimming forward with the rush of the current. I quickly got my head out of the water though by the third show and found myself loving the rush. Now well into my Canadian tour it feels as though I’ve built a boat and am simply steering it where I want to go. Always forward. Refusing to look back. Why fight the stream?
The litmus test in life is our gut. That is the canary in the coal mine. As long as it is still singing it’s sweet song, we are on the right path. I therefore refuse to alter my course to the trends of the time. I don’t want to play cool to fit in. I want to be real. I want to exist as I am and follow my muse. No regrets. No second guessing. I am therefore loving this tour. I am loving my band. I am loving these songs. I am simply in love with life. I answer to no one. I own my destiny and no one else is in the drivers seat.
The Glory Tour is in full swing. Be sure to get your tickets quickly, as they are going fast!
Oct 20 – Vancouver, BC @ Rio Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Oct 21 – Victoria, BC @ St. Ane Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Oct 22 – Kelowna, BC @ Minstrel Cafe – SOLD OUT!
Oct 23 – Nelson, BC @ Royal on Baker – BUY TICKETS
Oct 24 – Canmore, AB @ Communitea Cafe - SOLD OUT!
Oct 25 – Calgary, AB @ Hillhurst Church - SOLD OUT!
Oct 26 – Edmonton, AB @ Myer Horowitz Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Nov 7 – Hamilton, ON @ Studio Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Nov 8 – London, ON @ Aeolian Hall - SOLD OUT!
Nov 10 – Toronto, ON @ Winter Garden Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Nov 22 – Port Hawkesbury, NS @ Shannon Studio – SOLD OUT!
Nov 23 – Margaretsville, NS @ Evergreen Theatre – SOLD OUT!
Nov 24 – Hunter River, PE @ Harmony House – SOLD OUT!
Nov 25 – Halifax, NS @ St. Matthews Church – SOLD OUT!
Nov 26 – Saint John, NB @ The Sanctuary Theatre – BUY TICKETS
Dec 7 – Kingston, ON @ Chalmers Church - SOLD OUT!
Dec 8 – Peterborough, ON @ Market Hall - SOLD OUT!
Dec 9 – Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus – BUY TICKETS