“I Just Called to Say I Love You” is an overstatement. In fact, it’s not even close to the truth! Don’t get me wrong, I love Mr. Wonder (or as Tony Bennett calls him on his first Duets album, “Mr. Wonder – Ful”), but how long HAS it been?! If only I could “call” every time I wanted to express my “love” – instead of the many moons that pass between blog posts. I don’t know how some bloggers do it. I set out to write a blog each month updating everyone on what’s happening musically in my life — and what’s upcoming — and therein lies the problem… there is SO MUCH going on! Here’s to getting back to routine.
There are so many things to share with all of you, and even as I prepare to share them, I’m wrestling with how many words to use as I write so to keep all of you interested (I’m notorious for long explanations – it’s a teacher thing). Maybe headings will help? Then you can pick and choose what you’d like to read.
The summer was amazing for music! Not quite the “Summer of 69” (where can I find a Five and Dime?) but still full of many performances and musical adventures! Although, I’m not sure what my highlight would be? I had such a blast on that deathly hot, Canada Day evening performance with Shantelle Davidson Band, but I had equally as much fun at InterPLAY this year performing with A Touch of Class at the Midnight Variety Nights (my first taste of what it would be like to be “The Roots” on Fallon)! Many different types of gigs — although no chicken suits yet! Thankfully, I can still make a living JUST playing music, and not dressing up and performing (no offense given, and for the records, a gig is a gig, and a guy needs to make a living! I would need to cut holes for my fingers though…)
Oh wait! I’ve found it! Probably the highlight of the summer was playing alongside Stu G (Former Delirious Guitarist) for his performance at Guitar Camp in Wetaskiwin this year. That’s the one! I loved those guys growing up… and saw them a number of times (in front of 10s of thousands), and here I was performing the songs I grew up loving with the guitar guru himself! I made sure to woodshed like crazy before that performance – what an experience though… on that note, let me just say that Guitar Camp was very special! I got to meet some new brothers in arms (great musicians) – learn so much (teachers always learn 90%) and mentor many students on their musical gifts – and live off of Tim Hortons! Here’s to next year! *raises a 2 cream, 1 sugar coffee while smiling with stained teeth because all he could bring was his daughter’s toothpaste*… Speaking of Camps, my School of Rock was a great success! Not the turnout I was hoping for — but the students I was hoping for! Thanks to Keyano College for letting me run the School – and to all who supported it with donations, sponsorships, time and with their talents. I know firsthand that the students had an amazing time, and were positively influenced in music by all of the different teachers and sessions. Plus, they rocked it at the CanadaROCKS Festival! Many stories, but in the words of Luke Skywalker, “Ask me again sometime…” – but please check out the pics on the Keyano Conservatory Facebook page! There is an album and also some video clips on the wall further down.
Now to get to the serious, relevant and exciting stuff
Some of you know, but most of you don’t: I left the Shantelle Davidson Band. Now, to be clear, it was my decision and we are on great terms! In fact, they’re still booking gigs and having me perform with them when I can! I love those guys. The main reason for leaving was to re-focus my resources (which include time commitment, creativity) and invest in goals, aspirations and plans that I really care about and I believe are the best ways to spend my “musical dollars,” if you will. There were many factors that contributed to my decision, but the reality is my heart wasn’t in it, and our vision wasn’t the same. I will remain a “guitarist for hire” on gigs they need me for, until such a time, and I am so grateful they agreed to go with that! I anticipate nothing but good things for Shantelle and Mel!
So where does that leave me? Well, I’m still playing like crazy (‘tis the busy season coming up!) and I’m performing with the A Touch of Class boys on a regular basis, but probably the most exciting thing going on right now is… my upcoming album!!!
ALBUM you say? Yes! I am proud to tell all of you that I have finished recording a 7 track album and am working on the mastering/production side of it as we speak! The tentative release date is set for Dec 1st – so you can all have it in your stockings by Christmas! Many thanks go out to Scott Weber, who took on the tracking of the entire project, the guys at the Keyano Theatre for their support, and to Jay and Craig for giving their talents to the record. This album is entirely an instrumental album, all original material (aside from one arrangement of a modern hymn) and it indulges in all kinds of styles! There’s even a mandolin piece on there for you east coasters/relatives over the Atlantic Ocean! This is a big undertaking, but it’s the start of something new, something fresh, something big — as the first track suggests.
So what’s next? God only knows. But I believe (and it feels like) I’ve entered into a new season, a turning of the page, and dreams I’ve had on my heart will start to materialize. How’s that for exciting?
“The Times, They Are A-Changin’…”