“If they were really good, I’d hear them on the radio”
This is just one of the lies we believe about local, independent artists. Since I entered the scene in earnest in 2015, I’ve discovered how false and insidious this lie really is.
Joel is one of the founding members of the band I've recently joined, Soft March. We've been playing together for a couple of months now, and had our first gig together just last week. I've been cramming a whole lot of new material in a brain that's already frazzled by some big life changes, including buying and selling a house. I'm thankful for the grace these bandmates have shown as I try – and fail – to perfect these new tunes.
Joel and I performed a cover of Van Morrison's Into the Mystic, followed by my song Haunted, and finally the Soft March tune This Day's Not Done. You can hear it all right here ...
I likely came to this song via the stripped-bare cover by exclamation-pointed folk-singer Frente! It was the mid-nineties, alongside Criss Cross and OPP. Frente!’s cover may have played at my grade 9 dance, while I held a girl by the hips at arm's length and sweat through my red crushed velvet jacket.
Today I’m loyal to New Order’s original. Those layered synths! That soft escalation of heavenly arpeggios before each chorus!
As soon as this song played I thanked the CBC or CKUA and knew I had to cover it.
Like sunshine piercing clouds, in walks a woman in a yellow raincoat and matching hat. Electric yellow. She reminds me of Paddington Bear. Age-wise, she’s Prime Time’s target market, but I doubt she’d be interested. Her pants are lime green. No socks and white loafers complete the look with a pop. I’m grateful for her colours.
I may be smiling.
I’m don’t spend enough time bored.
I’m talking about time without plans and time without entertainment. Time without a phone – or even a book – in my hands. Meandering, wandering time.
Ah … rejection letters. I imagine every artist will read these terrible few words one day in their career; “we regret to inform you …”
I got a matching set of rejection letters last week.
I applied for two grants to record an album this year and just found out I received neither the city grant or the provincial grant. I felt my application was strong. My demos were killer. My plan was solid. I was ready. But still …
Tim Kuefler, founder of arts-and-culture channel Timotheories interviewed me a couple of months ago and the magical work of editing is now complete. Our hour and a half conversation has been boiled down to its 30-minute essence and uploaded for your enjoyment.
A couple of weekends back I found myself listening to the bits of beauty friends had gathered during their time at an art and faith retreat in Calgary. I was retreating, too, so when I heard poet Stephen T Berg mention the "exquisite sorrow" of a "tritone train whistle", I recognized a song trying to be born.
I played that song in my weekly Facebook Live set today - you can hear it at the 13:06 mark in the video below. I hope you like it, and more importantly, get a taste of that "exquisite sorrow".
Creativity is the constant remix of component parts. We pay attention to our word, then we capture the good and rearrange it in our own image. We are beauty filters. All creation is collage, and collage needs a constant stream of raw materials. So we must inhale.
This is more than consumption. This is harvest.
We all have our favourite fields to glean. I thought I’d share a few sources I have found inspiring in the past, and hope you can point me toward some new sources in the comments below.