Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Lullaby

It's about images - Christmas cards depicting scenes.

A painting of city downtown with warm orange lights glowing in the windows, yellow streetlamps, the red tail lights of cars down the street and snow falling.

The edge of a forest viewed from a snow covered field with the winter moon overhead casting shadows with great contrast on the snow.

Bethlehem two millenniums ago - the original Christmas card.

All dreamy images - to lull you to sleep as I bid you goodnight.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hockey Night in the Man Room

Ah - back to posting. Let the sharing of songs continue.

I am going to have to find a new group to start jamming with soon now that I have moved. The Man Room out of NDG rocked - the best group of guys you could get together and jam with ever.

A couple of years ago when Hockey Night in Canada was looking for a new theme song, I came up with this. I could never have imagined it as a theme song, but it was real fun to record and I made it up as I went. It was only the second time I had played around with multi track recording on the computer and it was quite addictive. The sounds are my acoustic guitar through various effects, a keyboard I borrowed from school to get the drum sound, and my voice.

The video was the guys in the Man Room entertaining me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Summer 1998 I worked at the Tim Horton Children’s Ranch in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. It was completely magical. Kids would come to the camp from all over Canada to spend ten days hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, white water rafting, bonding together, finding inner strength that they never knew was there, and leave with an absolute love the great outdoors.

My favourite quote of all time was from that summer, - it was the first night of a session and the campers were in their bunk excitedly talking with no signs of stopping as campers on the first night usually did. As I sat on the porch outside the cabin door, I gazed at the perfectly clear star filled mountain sky. I called them all to come outside and see the heavens (they weren’t going to sleep anyway) and then it became instantly clear that this beautiful scene had never been appreciated before.

“HOLY SH*T!!!”, one kid cried out.

That’s it. That’s the quote. To this day I have never heard those words used with such sincerity.

For the counsellors as well as the campers, it was a magic summer. This was a long time ago, so of course we were all younger then, but when I look back at working at the camp it was like going to the camp. We were all kids, big ones and little ones all having fun.

Words are hard to come by to describe the feeling of the experience. It was like a dream, all those nights around the big campfire pit, and those extra special ones where you would catch a glimpse of the northern lights...for sure it was like a dream, - a midsummernight’s dream.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Molly's Reach

"Dance your cares away, worries for another day..."

These famous words are from Fraggle Rock. Part of CBC’s Sunday night line up many years ago when I was burdened by junior high homework. Sunday night seemed to be the default time to do homework. It was always put off and put off again until the heavy ‘Sunday night feeling’ would come. I didn’t want to do the work, and probably didn’t feel like going to school the next day either. I think I actually believed that by watching Fraggle Rock, I could send my worries to another day – or at least put them off for half an hour. Funny thing is, I really didn’t even like Fraggle Rock but it was a welcome distraction.

But alas, “Down the road is where I’ll always be”...the Littlest Hobo came next followed by the Beachcombers. By that time, homework was delayed an hour and a half, and soon it would be time for bed.

‘Wouldn’t it be nice to be in Molly’s Reach? - hot soup, in from the cold, friendly conversation and no homework to do?’ That was the solution – just get to Molly’s Reach and everything would be all right.

Now many years later, I have shrugged the Sunday feeling, but I must have retained a lot of the philosophy from back then. I have a son named Jesse, and a daughter Molly, - no one named Nick or Relic though.

That happy feeling, born out of hopeful, wonderful, fantastic imagination I am sure was present, sub consciously we chose the name Molly for our daughter. I sing this song to her - while she is in her crib and I am beside her in the rocking chair in her room...and there I am so close by- in Molly's reach.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain

It's obvious that I didn't write this one, but it is a lot of fun.

About three years ago when I was starting to wonder if I would ever find a group to jam with or even dare to dream, play live in front of people again, along came 'The Man Room'.

An old friend of mine from high school introduced me to the group, and we have been making music in a Montreal basement ever since.

Recently we started to play live, and it is a lot of fun. We are a bunch of dads with daytime jobs living in the moment enjoying where the adventure is taking us. Seven of us round out the stage including a bunch of guitars, a banjo, a mandolin and you never know when we are going to get out the 20L water cooler jug, harmonica or anything else.

Here's to jamming and good fun live music.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Displaced Maritimers

I live in Montreal, not in New Brunswick, so I fit this description.

Displaced Maritimers are great. When I first joined the club, I found out that us displaced Maritimers are more ‘maritime’ than ‘back home’ Maritimers. We whoop it up and sing and talk about the Maritimes all the time telling the locals or other displaced people about the wonders of the far east. Probably the ‘back home’ types are whooping it up, singing and talking about other places that aren’t the Maritimes.

Anyways, it is neat -we displaced Maritimers seek each other out, whether in Montreal, Toronto, out west or wherever – we get together and have common, familiar ground.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mama's Arms

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Childhood Skies

Children ask lots of questions - lots and lots of questions. They also have wonderful imaginations. Interests and fascinations come and go, but stars, planets and spaceships seem to be a reoccurring theme for my boys. Their ceiling and walls are covered with glow in the dark stars, carefully placed to resemble the night sky.

As they settle in for bed, the intensity and rate of which the questions are asked increases dramatically.

“Can we live on Mars? Can I go to space? Would you come with me too?”

Young imaginations can quickly spark overwhelming feelings. The questions turn to tears as my son expresses that he has changed his mind and does not want to go to space, because he does not want to leave his mom and dad. Reassurance follows with me telling him that he doesn’t have to go to space if he doesn’t want to.

Very quickly the questions resume, and I do my best to answer.

“How is God everywhere? Why do we live on Earth? What holds Earth up in space?

All right. You ask wonderful questions, but now it is time to go to sleep.

To me this song is a snapshot in time. The wonder and innocence of a five year old and his little brother.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Victoria's Laundromat

For one week in December during the 90's, I found myself in Victoria.. What a fascinating place. My impression then was that it must be the beacon for the Canadian homeless - mild in the winter, surrounded by living nature and just oh so very cool. That impression of Victoria was challenged though over that short week. I was asked for change by people in Columbia jackets, saw others in permanent camps in the forests on the island, artists with their canvases on displays and buskers playing in short sleeves in the west coast winter air. Perhaps Victoria was a Mecca for anyone who wanted it to be - perhaps for anyone who wanted just to be somewhere else. Friends of mine had gone out before just to be a part of it, and others to save the trees. All in all, it was a special place, a hidden emerald, surrounded by a deep rooted enchanted forest, and a magical ocean waiting there to be found if you were called to it. A place unique in Canada.

The Laundromat in Victoria that I came to was unique as the city itself. As I looked through its guest book, I saw that it too was a beacon for travellers from all over the world. Backpacks rested against the wall in the lounge where easy conversation was made while others read or watched TV. The Laundromat had a population of its own.

Technically, I find this a challenging song to play, and don’t believe I have ever played it exactly as I wanted. I stumble on the strings sometimes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nation in the Darkness

I decided to post this song now, while hockey season is still on. The snow is gone and it’s getting warm but I for one am still reeling about Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal at the Olympics. Could it be that this is the new , “Where were you in 1972 when Canada beat the Russians”?

When CBC had the super fun contest of coming up with a new theme for Hockey Night in Canada, I composed a couple of entries and that is how this song started.

Talking with songwriters over the years, it's obvious that song writing is an individualized process, - and not even the same process for individuals each time. Somehow this song started off as what I hoped could be a theme for Hockey Night in Canada, but very quickly found it taking a direction of it’s own.

I find that writing songs is fun that way. You have an idea, or a feeling you want to put out there, but you are never sure what you are going to end up with, or if it is an acurate representation of what you set out to express.

This is a song that just happened, - I was surprised when I finished it -Canadian, cold and dark, romance and hockey.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jack Daniels

Many years ago, my friend Phil and I took a trip to Texas because we had never been there before. What a trip. At the airport duty free shop on the way home I bought a huge bottle of Jack Daniels - I think it was some crazy Texas size. I was proud to display that bottle for a while until one night it had to be opened.

The song is pretty much accurate, - a party until we ran out of beer, - just a few of us left and I went to get my giant sized bottle of Jack. The rest of the story is embellished a bit, but not much! It is true that my buddy Naill got the lions share of it that night (no one could keep up with him) but the few of us there all enjoyed much more than we needed. The bottle was started, and finished on that wonderful night so long ago in the Rockies.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Next Chapter

I figure that this is a great song to start with. It's a new one, about Carmen, me and our kids. I guess it's about wherever life will take us. It's called The Next Chapter, - looking at life as a book, there are lots of adventures, and pages yet to read. You never know where you'll be in a few years.

Now it is January 2011 and we are living 'The Next Chapter.' I remeber writing this song on our deck in Vaudreuil almost as a message to The Universe that we would make the move to Ontario, for our carrers and the all the opportunity it could offer our children.

Well the Universe listened and I am now teaching in Ontario and two out of three of the kids have started school. Awsome.

Thanks for listening Universe. Here is to 'The Next Chapter'