Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hello again. It looks like I may not be capable of keeping my blog up-to-date, so I’m going to stop apologizing about it. At this point, it’s not very popular anyway.

That said – here I go with another one.

It’s December 28th – just after Christmas. I am back in Ontario for the holidays. Oliver and I were lucky enough to take part in Via Rail’s On Board Entertainment program, which took us from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal and then back to Kingston in trade for performing our music on board the train. We played a show in Montreal at Grumpy’s Bar as part of Brie Neilson’s Chick Pickin’ Mondays. Brie performed at the end of the night and was outrageously awesome and very inspiring. There was also a performance by Hanna Epperson who layered violin tracks on a loop pedal, sometimes adding vocals and the whole time rocking everyone’s world. It was a really fantastic evening – I love playing a short set and then getting to hear other people play too.

We also played at The Bohemian Café and Gallery in my hometown, Bracebridge. A mother and daughter operation, The Bohemian is a very good thing in a town that really needs a venue for art and music and young people and emerging craftspeople to do what they do. Tammy and Kristen are doing their best to keep it going in what I would say are challenging times and are really reaching out to the community with this venue. Thank you Tammy and Kristen.

I am a little sad to admit that it seems impossible to get anyone from my generation out to any shows in my hometown. Shit, was I really that unpopular in high school that my peers still don’t want to be seen associating with me or what?  My parents’ friends (who yes, are also my friends too) are always supportive, encouraging and most importantly present at these hometown concerts, but never a soul from my school days. Huh. Thank god for Amber and Scott (a fine Muskoka singer/songwriter himself) who I met at previous gigs and who show up to hear us almost every time. And for the slew of teenagers who wandered in to The Boho and stayed to listen. My love to you. 

Anyway, contrasts, contrasts… that’s what I called this post so…

While sitting in our private cabin (the largest cabin) on board the train, admiring our bunk beds, private toilet and sink and the little chocolates on our pillows, we started laughing about the incredible contrast between our regular life on Denman which includes chilly outdoor sponge baths from a five-gallon bucket, having to drag a battery in from the solar shed if we want to turn on a light or run a laptop, using a bucket full of straw and sawdust as our toilet, freezing our butts off in the morning if we don’t have time to light a fire, bicycling absolutely everywhere on the island, even in the most wretched weather, and getting our hands pretty dirty daily, to our life at some of these gigs. At the Roots & Blues festival this summer, the festival organizers put my whole family up in a really nice hotel room! They just threw it in when I mentioned I needed to find accommodations for my family. We got the big cabin on the train and nice meals in the dining car three times a day! In Tofino we got to stay in a nice room too, were well fed and well watered, and taken on the most awesome whale-watching tour ever! We get to do all this stuff that we could never, ever afford do if we weren’t touring musicians, but also could never afford to do because we are touring musicians.  It’s kind of great. We reaaalllyyy rough it from day to day, but then we get to live in style once in a while.

I think I’d originally planned to drag out the whole contrasts thing a little more, but that was back when I originally thought of this blog post, and when I should have written it.

Oh I thought of another tidbit. I used to enjoy shopping when I lived in the city, but today I tried to go shopping with my Oma and aunt and sister and it seems that I have become a huge fashion snob. Me – bucket girl – a fashion snob. So much so that I told my Oma that something she liked was tacky.  I wouldn’t let her try it on. I think it’s a good thing though, I think it’s driven by my friendships with some very good craftspeople who make extremely good quality work and a renewed, ever growing consciousness about where clothing is made, who makes it, how many people, animals and plants suffer for others to have nice (nice from a distance, poorly made from close up) things. I’m officially done with shopping malls, I think.  I was trying to hold on for nostalgia sake. Growing up in the country, I loved going down to the city and looking through the mountains of stuff and returning home with fists full of plastic shopping-bag handles. But I’ve grown out of it. The people watching isn’t even very fun anymore. I just end up feeling sorry for the boyfriends who are being dragged around, awkward and feigning (badly) enthusiasm by their girlfriends.  That must really suck. I’m glad Oliver hates shopping and comes right out with it. He knows how build all kinds of useful things. That’s better.

This really is a yammering blog. I hope it’s ok.

Until next time!

Happy New Year! 

Oli and Leo

Somewhere north.

Grumpy's Bar in Montreal

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hurricane: New EP, and it's free.

In 2011 Oliver and I moved the furniture around in our little rented cabin on Denman Island and set up our mics and computer to record the EP, Hurricane. We hadn’t released any music since The Things That Stay With Me in 2009, and I wanted to get some of my new songs recorded and out there.  Through trades, improvising and generosity, we were able to produce the EP for next to no cost and now we have released it for free download through my website:  A handful of good friends assisted with these recordings – Ken Hatch, Cameron Walsh, Stephen Stepanic and of course my partner, Oliver Wives who puts as much creativity and hard work into my songs as I do while writing them.  

Get the New EP for free

Monday, September 26, 2011

Link to a video

Here's a video that was taken in Lillooet and posted on You Tube. I can't embed it, unfortunately, but I can link to it.

Thanks - fellow who made it on his ipad. I didn't get to meet you.

Tour Part Two – Mainland.

Ok, so I’ve completely broken my commitment to this blog page. Life had just become too busy to plug the computer in and sit in front of it for any period of time. I’m relying more and more on Oliver’s iPhone to get online these days – embarrassingly enough. The worst part is that I don’t know what’s going on in my friends’ lives anymore. I don’t like that.

So, as anticipated, the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues festival was absolutely fantastic. The festival runs like a well-oiled machine with some 900 volunteers, happy-looking festival staff and organizers who greet you pleasantly and take care of all of your needs as a musician, a wonderful festival grounds, very friendly patrons, GREAT sound people, delicious food, interesting vendors… man the list could go on and on.  Over 100 people showed up for our gig on the focus stage, which was better than we could have expected, as we were brand new to the Salmon Arm area. They were gracious and supportive in every imaginable way.

It’s so great to play music for people who have come to hear music; people who know what they want and come to get it, and then you give it to them and ya. It’s great.

After Salmon Arm and a side trip to Revelstoke where we camped and hung out with my visiting parents for a few days, we played a little venue called The Bike Shop Café in Kelowna. We stayed with some old friends in Summerland who it was very good to see. The Bike Shop Café was very sweet and a lovely place to play. It was a fairly quiet Thursday night, but we got to share the stage with Kelowna’s Leah West – which was a treat. Her set was beautiful. After the gig our friends took us on a tour of downtown Kelowna. Kelowna is actually a pretty cool place once you get to know it.

Our concert in Lillooet for the Music At the Miyazaki House concert series went very well. Another thing I really like is getting paid to play music for a bunch of people who 1. are there to hear you and 2. didn’t have to pay anything. The staff at the Miyazaki house were very kind to us and Lillooet is a lovely town. And what a drive it was to get there, and out of there. Beautiful scenery in both directions.  The mountains in the interior are so huge and majestic and wild. I had been needing a good dose of the interior.  On the way into town, the highway becomes a single-laner that edges along the mountainside like one of those crazy roads on the Roadrunner cartoons.

Our final stop was in Vancouver where we were taken by surprise by the number of Bracebridge, Ontario folks who came out for the night. It was a full house for most of the night, and a clapping audience, which is really all you can hope for at a restaurant gig. We had a good time.

We have learned a few things – some lessons that were hard to learn and some quite enjoyable.

First – Touring makes time slow down. Our lives seem to be racing by lately, especially as we work to build our home on Denman one little piece at a time. Months fly by, years fly by… but touring – seeing so many great places in a short amount of time, meeting new people and having new adventures every day – makes time slooooowwwww dowwwwnnnnn. Two weeks away felt like double that.  I suppose travelling of any kind would be similar – probably one of the reasons people enjoy it so much.

Second – There isn’t a lot of point playing anywhere unless you’ve got friends in the neighbourhood who are willing to get out and do some advertising and bring their friends out. That’s what went wrong at the beginning of the tour, and I don’t think we’ll be making that mistake again. It’s pointless. Even if the gig goes well, if you end up losing $100 on it, it’s just not sustainable.

Third – I should have gone with my gut and not booked any ticketed venues. Who the heck is going to pay a ticket price for a band they’ve never heard of?  I am all about pay-at-the-door, pay-what-you-can, and in towns where nobody knows us, that’s what I’m going to do from now on, or at least until we’re getting regular radio play of some kind… will that ever happen?

Four – Eating HEALTHY and taking our oil of Oregano is sooo important. And I think I’m going to start carrying hand sanitizer. We both got sick on this tour and that part really sucked.

We’re back home now. We’ve moved into a 10x10 cabin on the land where we have begun our quest for a farm of sorts. We’ll probably be living here for a few years. It’s nice to settle in to somewhere permanent. Move our stuff for the last time, make some cushions. We even bought a mattress – we are sleeping better than we have in years. The rainy season has begun and the West Coast is looking like a challenge for the winter. I’m getting back in to bathing with a five-gallon bucket of water and a wall of trees. Five-gallon buckets are pretty much everything around here.

Until next time


One of the views on the way from Lillooet to Vancouver

Tweener on the Main Stage at Roots & Blues

That view again, with Oliver in it.

This little cat crawled up a telephone pole and jumped onto the neighbouring balcony of our motel room, and then squeezed through the space under the privacy wall between balconies to come see us. He was super cute. He didn't want to leave when we needed to go to bed though.

Just outside of Lillooet

The road. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good stuff and bad stuff

I think I may have promised to write after every show.... but I’m living in a tent, as is my computer, so three gigs have passed since my Courtenay rant. Luckily, we just came home from a really great gig in Tofino, so this blog post won’t be a gigantic downer, as it may have been had I completed it earlier.
We played The Dockside Pub in Tofino.  Before we got there I was a little freaked out to be playing at a resort pub. Anyone else who grew up in a tourist town, and worked in the hospitality industry for a chunk of their life would probably understand why. There’s always something a little uncomfortable about it. A certain detachment between worker and patron.  But pretty much as soon as we got to the Weigh West Marine Resort – my fears started disappearing. The place was comfy, the people who worked there were incredibly friendly, helpful and down-to-earth – every single one of them – and the patrons of the pub, mostly locals we found, were receptive and complimentary and generous. (And the audience was, ehem, a CD buying crowd.) You could tell that the folks who worked at the pub and throughout the rest of the hotel actually liked their jobs and their co-workers. They were supportive of each other, kind to one another and wore genuine smiles. It was such a relief.
On top of it, they had everything we’d agreed on for the show all set up for us, and all of the usually uncomfortable money-talk went smoothly. Dawson and the other bar tenders and servers treated us well – too well – and Pipot, the captain for the resort’s whale-watching vessel, took us on a great adventure where we saw humpback whales, grey whales, sea lions and other ocean life up close.
It was really a dream gig. We’ll be back, and I’ll be happy if we’re only treated half as well.
On a side note – I also learned that surfers are really nice people – at least the ones in Tofino. I’m a little scared of snowboarders, wake boarders and even skaters, I have to say, but it turns out the stuff I’m put off by doesn’t extend to the surfing crowd.  Tofino is a really great, laid back kind of town. Next time we go we’ll rent boards and try the surfing thing out ourselves.

So – the bad news.

Nobody showed up for our Gabriola gig. Despite another pile of dough put into advertising – it didn’t happen for us. We were scheduled in at the Roxy, but when we got there Stephen B who owns and runs the place, sort of community-theatre style, broke the news to us that two tickets had sold. (To our friends who had put us up for the weekend.) We sat down with Stephen for an hour while we waited to see if there would be any walk ins and he told us how things had been going lately with music on Gabriola. It was becoming harder and harder to get people out for a show. Even fairly famous names weren’t getting any numbers in the audience.
I decided a few things after Gabriola. 1. We would not book any more ticketed shows, probably ever or until we became known, as in, played on the CBC.  2. We will only book gigs where we have friends in the town who will not only show up themselves, but help us get an audience together. 3. Festivals are where its at, and will definitely be a focus going forward. 4. We would way rather make no money and open for someone else than maybe make a few bucks but play for a nearly-empty room as a headliner. 5. Maybe we should just grow food and stop this silly music stuff.
Anyway, despite that, we did have a lovely time on Gabriola, roaming around as tourists. It had been a long time since Oli and I had found time to go for a walk and have a good conversation – so that part was nice. We had lovely hosts who fed us well and had a great home, and the trip was well worth it, despite the show not working out.

In Nannoose Bay we played a Sunday Afternoon show at a highway-side bar. Most of the patrons were bikers, it looked like. There were very few people there and the deal we’d originally made had not transferred through once the original booking person left, so there was some confusion. But the few people who sat down and listened were very very nice, as was the gal who worked the bar and took care of us.  Near the end of our show, there was an old man sitting at the bar talking to her, occasionally giving us the thumbs up. The bar tender later told us how much he liked us, and that he hasn’t had a nice thing to say about any other band that had come in, in fact he usually complained – but he liked us, and that was something.  She said she didn’t know what was up with the Sunday afternoon thing, and that we’d have to come back and play a Friday night. I would go back. I like highway-side biker bars.
A woman in the audience told me that people weren’t turning out for music like they used to. Ever since the recession.
Seems to be what everyone is thinking.

We’re back on the land now, in our tent, using our computers until they run out of batteries. It’s hard to live in a tent, work a day job and gig on weekends. It’s a tough adjustment going back to no electricity, plumbing, beds… or any kind of modern conveniences.  In Tofino Oliver and I were looking at some of the ramshackle houses that the first-nations people were living in, and feeling like they’d really been ripped off. But here we are living in a tent. I think we forgot that at the time.

The best compliment I’ve ever gotten is overhearing someone say quietly to himself “wow” at the end of playing a song.  It’s happened twice – both times from middle-aged men. I didn’t think middle-aged men would be my audience demographic, but they gave 90% of the compliments and bought the same percentage of CD’s at our Tofino show, and I have made a few of them cry. So… huh. I stand corrected.

Ok, that’s it for tonight.  I’m going to try and fall asleep on this thin Thermarest now.

Long Beach, Tofino

Nanoose Bay

Nanoose Bay

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oh here it comes, another bout with the music industry.

We played our first show of our BC mini-tour last night. After I finish writing about it, I’m deleting it from my performance memory bank. But first I’m going to have a little rant. It’s not because I’m disgruntled – the scene was rather humorous once I made the professional decision to see it that way. I’m going to blog about it because I think it’s a good and fair thing to do. In this industry the performer is constantly opening herself up to judgement, criticism and financial loss at the whims of reviewers, bar managers, booking agents and various inflated heads, and rarely do you hear what the performer has to say about the whole thing. Well, nobody’s writing about me yet, so I’m going to go for the first shot.

When Oliver and I toured out from Ontario, I made sure to write a short, upbeat blog entry after every show. I say upbeat because I was unwaveringly positive in my reviews of our journey. As a very small fish in a very big pond, I was afraid to speak my mind or say anything negative for fear of losing what few contacts I had, or pissing off the wrong people. I don’t believe I’m a noticeably bigger fish now, and the pond looks like it’s grown even, but I’m beginning to feel differently. There are a lot of fish. Good fish and bad fish. And I only want to be friends with the good fish.

A few months ago I booked this show at a Courtenay Bar. I thought it would be a good idea to start the tour in the closest city. Time passed after booking, I sent poster images to the venue owner who approved them, we compromised a ticket price (I’m always pushing for affordable, though some see it as unprofessional, I prefer to play for a big happy crowd, not a few people who are now worrying over their account balance) I put an ad in the paper, and we were set. I was under the impression that things were going as planned until last weekend when I checked to see if the venue was doing any advertising for our evening.

They indeed were. But it was for a different artist.

When I checked in and it was confirmed that the venue had indeed double booked us, I offered to open for the other group. Seeing as we were the forgotten band and the closest to our home base, it seemed smart. 

When we arrived at the venue, we heard the distressed story of how the double booking happened, and how they keep happening. We did our sound check and waited for a few bodies to fill the room.  In a separate oversight, the show had been advertised as “doors at 8:00,” so needless to say, there was nobody there at 7:30, which was the time that the venue owner had slotted us in. Unawares that the other band needed a prompt 8:30 start, and with no soundman in sight, we didn’t get on stage until 8:00 when the panic-stricken owner clambered out of the kitchen and shooed us onto the stage.

After five songs the owner returned and told us to wrap it up. I said “alright, we’ve got time for one more song,” to the small crowd, but the owner shook his head. He meant now. Really. They were breathing down his neck. Whoever they were.  So on that note, which was a C at the end of a slow song that we wouldn’t have chosen as our last, we abandoned the stage under orders.
As the other group played, I looked around the stage and at the booking agent and his ticket person at the door and wondered which of these five people was the neck breather.  This band was significantly more pop-y, the instruments ran through pedals that made them sound like electronic swells of sound, and the songs were contemporary, jazzy mantras that were, in a roundabout way, about being true to oneself, standing strong and loving life. Nothing wrong with that I guess, though I tend to like feeling a little more depressed (and for-real) when I listen to music.

The singer, who’s name the band played under, swooped and danced around the little stage, getting low on the floor, doing that spine bendy thing that dudes seem to like and swaying about as if completely hypnotized by her own carefully orchestrated sound. The crowd seemed pleased by it all.  I wondered, as I often find myself doing, if this was what is took to get people on your side and out to shows. Would I have to become this?

No furrrking way.

Adding up the number of people who were trying to make a dime off of this single performance by a relatively unknown but radio-friendly band in a small, somewhat poorly run venue sort of made me glad that I’m not eliciting the type of support this broad is fetching. I was glad the overdressed booking agent and his big-ticket taking side kick had nothing to do with me, and that at the end of the day, while I could have lent my ego to the whole fiasco by making a big fuss about the double booking and the money we put into advertising, I didn’t. I’m not that. This wasn’t my scene. After Oliver and I finished up a conversation about fishing and camping with a nice, rough-around-the-edges guy from inland, I took my free dinner and caught the next ferry out of town with my man.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stuff's a Growin'!

Despite waking up with a hangover and a bad case of first-time hives, today was a pretty darn fantastic day.
Oliver and I have been working on a small, semi-temporary green house for our impatiently waiting tomato plants, (one of which bears a small tomato, though it’s only mid-May) and upon approaching the site, I found that Oliver had managed to clip on the tricky pieces of plastic stuff onto the frame and get the billowing house ready for its inhabitants. 
A further tour of the garden unveiled lots of greenery that has finally decided to show itself in a big way. Including (but not limited to) corn, which people have had limited success with here on Denman, or so I’ve been told.  The beans, peas potatoes, chard and lettuce are popping up everywhere.
Still fairly new to this, when I put a little seed in the ground, my thoughts are “heck, that will never grow. This little hard bead isn’t going to turn into a giant plant full of food.” But it does. Another thing that amazed me the other day was when I found three of my tomato seedlings flopped over on their sides, looking as good as dead. I carefully transplanted them into a bigger pot and gave them some water, and within minutes, voila, they began to spring back to life again, and are now looking as happy as the rest.

Outside of the magical garden, I got to work with some of the photos Ben took yesterday for Oliver and my promo shots.  I am a horrible subject, unable to keep a strait face, or find anything cleaver and natural to do with my arms – so Ben had his work cut out for him. I thought I’d botched every red dress shot we took, by standing like an ape, square to the camera with my arms hanging giant at my sides. But then I found hope in one photo, and after fooling with the colours for an hour or so, I got exactly what I wanted, and it seems to be getting great reviews so far.

Speaking of which – it actually amazed me how posting a photo of me looking all dolled up got me waaaay more attention than posting a new song, a call-for-help environmental message or something about anything real, and in my humble opinion, valuable. We (and I definitely include myself in this) hold appearances in such sickeningly high regard. It is very interesting, and I wonder if it is truly a natural and biological behaviour for humans and other animals to value appearances.  Hmmmm. It’s odd. But, now I know and I guess I’m going to use it.

Anyway, that sounds negative, but a bunch of compliments didn’t cast any kind of shadow upon my day at all.

Also got a free working toaster from the side of the road today. 

The ugly but functional greenhouse

Corn, slightly bug-munched.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It is 9:25 and I have just returned from a Sunday evening walk into the village. It is vacant. I was alone with my breathing and the crunch of gravel beneath my feet and the smell of hay fields and blossoming fruit trees and the fading light. Seldom do I experience a vacant town on a warm evening – in fact, I can’t remember the last time – it is something both eerie and romantic. It’s different from being alone in the woods, or on a farm. The empty streets and porches and stores entice and disturb me; the under-layer of our little civilization. I am right downtown and I could do almost anything without anyone ever knowing. I could write messages in wooden railings, lye down in the middle of the road, re-arrange the posters on the bulletin board, press my face up to the store windows and look inside...
Someone else’s footsteps in the distance are a threat and a mystery. If we were to cross paths, our “hello’s” would linger in the air until morning. If we were to meet eyes and hold one another’s glance, it would be a strange kind of intimacy, the two of us, there alone in the twilight. What a shame it would be to break the silence. Maybe we would bow and curtsy. Maybe we would waltz anonymously in the streets.
Maybe I should learn to waltz.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day Off

Today the rain brought me a day off – a day to do as I choose. I feel like it’s been a while since I had a day like this.  Oliver has been doing a lot of work on the land while I’ve been away working on other people’s land, volunteering in the school and trying to sort out this summer’s tour. 
I spent the morning planting seeds and loving them up to help them grow. There are many things in the gardens now – potatoes, various peas, fava beans, lettuce, kail, chard, pac choi and plant species between, herbs, onions and our crowning glory: garlic. The Garlic is already surprisingly huge and since it’s one of my favourite tastes in the world – I am very excited every time I see it.  The orchard is now packed full of trees and fruiting shrubs and many of them are beginning to bloom.
Today I’m feeling pretty good about all of this mess. I think I’m beginning to come to terms with not having a proper home and that it will be some time before I ever have anything that resembles a couch or a desk. 
The elections are happening today and I decided to swap my vote (party choice) with someone from another region in an attempt to resurrect democracy and have the election outcome better represent the voters.  A lot of people were doing this, and I feel really great about it. I’m not sure it we’ll get the results we want – but it does make Canada feel smaller and more like a big, supportive community where everyone works together, despite their differences, in order to meet a common goal.  Also, after talking with my vote-swapping partner who found me through an Internet application, we realized that she was married down the road from where I grew up in Muskoka, at a little resort where I worked as a teenager. Great coincidences like that always put me in a good mood.
This past Saturday was also a day that put a smile on my face. Oliver and I played our first gig at the Comox Valley Farmer’s Market. It was a big, beautiful market with lots of farmers and happy little kids running around and we had a really great audience gathered in front of us.  The pay for the gig is a donation from each vendor and we went home with a wheelbarrow load of fresh, locally produced veggies, pasta, cheese, meats (which I won’t eat, cuz I’m veg, but my lovely friends will enjoy it), bread, desserts, starter plants, and even a blueberry bush. It was the most amazing paycheque ever and I love playing music outside so that was also perfect. I hope they’ll keep us coming back in future years. 


Our most spacious garden - about half planted. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

the bawling lumberjack

Does the occasional minor injury have you fighting back a river of tears these days? Does even cutting onions, at times, seem to give your inner-child an excuse to break into a sorrowful cry?  I’m not sure what it is, but lately my emotions seem to be getting the best of me at the most unexpected moments.  Today I jammed my shin between two logs while I was peeling on the pole rack, and while the result will be a giant purple bruise, it’s not typically the kind of thing that, well, hurts my feelings. It may have been the sappy, nostalgic feeling I get every spring or perhaps it was that once I was back in a less compromising position I noticed how far away I was from anyone who could have helped me if anything had really gone wrong. A few weeks ago, Oliver’s father fell off a ladder and was alone for short while, and ended up phoning Oli who came with the car and then called an ambulance. By the time Oliver got to his dad, his mum was there, but the size of the clear-cut we are all working on is just too large for total security. 

The task at hand seems more daunting lately.  When we first picked up shovels and pitchforks and began building our gardens we were driven by excitement, but more and more we are being driven by seasons and deadlines and need, and the road ahead looks longer and longer. The house itself is not even in the foreground of our thoughts – the logs we’re peeling are going into a workshop, which will temporarily serve as a kitchen and dry storage for everything we own.  We’ve put in an orchard with fruit and nut trees and shrubs and the food we’ve planted in the soil is showing signs of life. But the dry season is fast approaching and Oliver has been rushing around rigging up a gravity-fed watering system to prevent death during the impending drought.

The construction of my smithy has taken a back seat to most other things, although I did get in there to level the ground the other day. I am still on a hunt for tools, and there’s really no rush to get the building closed in until I at least have an anvil here on the island. I’m looking in to shipping solutions for a 100-pound, awkwardly shaped chunk of steel.

I think I’m feeling a little uncertain lately.  (Well, always…)  I look at the lives of friends from school and usually see something very different from where I am. Twenty-nine is approaching and I’m not nearly as grown-up as I ought to be. I think perhaps I missed the maturity train when it went by. (I’m still trying for a music career, for christ’s sake.) At the same time, I’m way more grown-up than I want to be. Not only am I part of four committees and the owner of three aprons and a Dutch oven, but I’ve decided a lot of absolute and un-renege-able stuff about my life. We’re committed to this tiny island and this huge task of building our home by hand in the middle of an off-grid west-coast clear cut.  I can’t even imagine the feeling of finality that comes with children and mortgages, but I imagine that like this, it must be enough to make you cry when you cut onions.

Anyway, things are good, but springtime sure does get me feeling wishy-washy and wishing for a few more carefree years. 

The pole rack.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

old photo

I thought this was the coolest picture when I was a kid. My dad was in a band when he was in his youth - which to me, at the time, pretty much meant that he was a celebrity at one point.

I thought myself pretty damn lucky to have cool parents. I suppose it was lucky for them that I thought so.  They weren't afraid to tell me the truth about their own interesting pasts, both successes and screw ups and let me laugh and learn from their mistakes in hopes (in hopes) that I wouldn't make so many of my own. I remember one day the kids at school were calling my parents "hippies" and I got so upset I almost cried. When I went home and told them, they said "That's ok. I guess we sort of are."

If I ever get to be a parent, maybe my kids will find at a picture like this and realize that I too, parental unit A, am actually a real person with dreams and ambitions and a little bit of cool.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rory Jordan-Stevens: The Flowers Are Budding

Rory Jordan-Stevens is just barely old enough to get into the bar and play a set, but the song he sings exposes a soul as old as the earth. His self-produced, independently released EP, The Flowers Are Budding, may well be scientific evidence of pure, unadulterated musical genius. Like some of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters on the scene today, (Hawksley Workman, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams et al.) Rory shows an unfaltering ability to think outside the box of formulas and subject matter and deliver truly unique, unforgettable music that quiets even the rowdiest of patrons. With a satiny smooth, moody-dramatic voice that could belong to someone twice his age, Rory steals your heart as soon as he opens his mouth.

On The Flowers Are Budding  – Rory independently and quite professionally lays down multiple tracks of vocals, guitar, keys, nature sounds and percussion. The result is a heart-gripping ode to some of his most-loved people, places and things, and a six-song album that is personal, natural and faultless.  If this emotion-soaked EP is Rory’s contribution to music at only nineteen, it’s hard to imagine what kind of magic he will produce in the long future that waits ahead of him.

Buy the album: